Providing memories that last a lifetime through active travel is so rewarding for us. It’s safe to say that our featured travelers, Clay and Kathy, will never forget their first VBT vacation. We had a chance to catch up with Clay to learn a little more about how a spontaneous wedding blessing on the gorgeous Costa Brava came to fruition.
1.) What about active travel appeals to you and how did you first hear about VBT?
Several of our club members at The Village Bicycle Club had taken bicycle tours with VBT before. Also [VBT Chairman] Gregg Marston had come to The Villages where I live to do a wine & cheese party and tell us what VBT had to offer. Afterwards we had a group meeting of those who were interested in bicycling in Europe. We decided to go with VBT and their Costa Brava trip. We had several people going who were not strong cyclists and this tour sounded appealing and would meet their needs as well.
2.) What was it about Costa Brava that made you decide it would be a great place for a wedding blessing?
Kathy and I thought Spain and the Mediterranean would be a great place for a wedding blessing. We found some great wedding bands during our two-day pre-tour stop in Barcelona. I had planned to do a formal engagement some place special, and then find a church where a priest would perform a wedding blessing for us.
3.) Your Trip Leader, Carlos, mentioned that he read the blessing at the ceremony at your behest, how did that come about?
As luck would have it, Carlos and Oriel, our tour guides, had stopped the support van for a refreshments break in the little town of Foixa, next to a church. While the others were taking a break at the van, Kathy and I went up to the chapel. As she was picking flowers, I called her to the front of the church. I asked her to take off her engagement ring. She looked at me strangely and I told her I wanted to propose to her. She said, "Well, if you want to do this officially, don't you want to get down on one knee?"
That evening we were having dinner at the hotel, Hostal Spa Empuries, where we were staying at with our friends Maryann and Juergin from our bike club. Maryann said why don't you two get married here tomorrow? Kathy and I looked at each other and said, "Why not?" Maryann volunteered to be the Bridesmaid and I asked Juergin to be my Best Man. Kathy and I thought a beach ceremony would be nice. We had talked about a 5pm wedding and having everyone on the VBT tour join us. There was a chance of rain and we moved the venue to a rock setting overlooking the Mediterranean.
Now, who was going to perform the wedding? Out of nowhere, Carlos, one of our bike guides came to mind. I texted him and told him what we had in mind. He said sure, no problem. He said he would sit down that night and compose something. The next morning Carlos announced to the group the time and place and for everyone to join us. That evening we all gather together and Carlos did a wonderful job with a terrific blessing. Oriel had even gotten a bag a rice which everyone threw on us. Unbeknownst to us, Oriel had also arranged with the hotel for a champagne and cake reception on the back patio. It was an unbelievable experience, and really our VBT tour guides made it all possible.
4.) Aside from your wedding, naturally, what is your favorite memory from your first VBT vacation?
I think our favorite memory of our trip was how friendly and good-looking everyone was. The hotel accommodations were outstanding as well.
5.) Now that you’ve taken you’re first biking tour with VBT, where are you off to next?
We really haven't decided where our next trip will be. There are so many places to explore. But one thing is for sure, if we do another bicycle tour, it will definitely be with VBT!