Written by: Amy Albinus.
When we first arrived in Costa Brava early on a sunny Friday, I was in awe that a beautiful oasis existed so close to the busy chaos that is the city of Barcelona. I realized that I had unknowingly become so accustomed to the many noises of my days – the beeping of the trash truck on my street each morning, the whooshing sound the wind makes when the metro arrives at the station, the beating of boots on pavement, and the constant chattering of voices in various languages – the soundtrack to my days here. As a result, it only took me a couple of minutes after setting foot out of the ALBA van to truly appreciate the serenity and peace that can really only be found in nature. Enjoying the company of solely my peers and a couple stray cats during our six-mile excursion was a pleasant contrast to my typical day constantly surrounded by other humans within feet of me in every direction.
En route to the village of Costa Brava, our group of students made its way over dirt ridges and hills, gazing at the vast, glittering ocean down below us. Closest to shore, the water was the shade of clear crystal and it grew darker as it reached the horizon, creating a beautiful contrast. There was a single white catamaran bobbing lazily in the distance. Surrounding the trail were lush trees, leafy bushes, and prickly cacti. Eventually, we reached an empty beach area and walked barefoot through the sand, letting our toes dance in the water.
The sun had warmed us up on our hike and we were eager to go swimming. We carefully climbed the rocky terrain of the cliffs and when we reached the top, we jumped one after one into the inviting water below. It was instantly refreshing. We enjoyed playing in the chilly water for a while before it got too cold and goosebumps appeared on our skin. Then, we bundled up in towels and let the sun dry our bodies while we enjoyed fresh olives, nuts, and chocolate covered cookies. Refreshed and content, we were ready to continue.
On the next part of the hike, we passed by the house of Nico, a friend of our trail guide Filippo. He asked us to guess the year of his parent’s wedding and to write a wish down on a piece of paper. He gave the prize of a leather bracelet to the best guess and gave each person in our group a tasty biscuit cookie in the shape of a kayak. We pinned the wishes to the wall in his house. Hopefully, they come true! Then, after crossing by a wide open field of rustling grass, we finally made our way to the charming village.
In the distance, we saw quaint structures with long, rectangular windows. This signaled that we had almost earned our lunch. We grew closer and closer to the burnt orange roofs and the small boats clustered along the shore. Walking over the paved ground, we passed picturesque houses decorated with flowering plants. At last, we reached the restaurant and relaxed in our chairs, chatting while we admired the beach scene. We enjoyed a delicious meal that began with tomato bread, fresh mussels, and patatas bravas and ended with paella and dessert. Finally, we swam and lounged on the beach until we sleepily returned home to the city. It was a perfect day exploring another amazing side that Barcelona has to offer.