The Montserrat leg of this day tour was splendid. Our guide, Alex, was funny, well informed, and eager to answer our many questions about this gorgeous mountain site. February crowds were light and unobtrusive, and we got to enjoy the funicular ride and the walk up to St Joan's hermitage in a kind of resonant silence. Alex informed us of Napoleon's tragic destruction of the earlier basilica, which explains its austere, functional exterior... but inside, it is Catalunyan gorgeous, all black and gold, with light of every color streaming over the hundreds of people gathered to hear the boy's choir. We had as much time as we needed to explore, and admire the view, out over the city, and over the river and valleys toward the sea. Memorable.
BUT... the afternoon league of our tour was to visit Freixenet winery, for a tour and cava "tasting". This was odious. It was one long, boring 80's era infomercial. The videos did not share the people, the culture, the land or the ancient process; they touted F's business model, and seemed left over from some investor's promo. And the tasting? One glass of Friexenet, after which we could not wait to escape. And when we did escape, the "guide" followed us into the gift shop, to suggest purchases. We and a Belgian tourist literally fled. Please take future guests to a small REAL cava producer, with real people, who can share real history and ideas. We told Alex how appalled we were, and he suggested we write this review. Please folks, cancel the Friexenet tour. It is insulting and offensive.
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