I looked out across a sapphire sea surrounded by craggy rocks with ramshackle cottages spanning the beachfront, – boats bobbing peacefully before them. This was a perfect moment.
While thirstily drinking in the incredible view, I composed a simple Facebook post in my head: “I am going to live here.’’
This was the fifth day of my Catalan walking tour and my senses were overwhelmed by salty smells, the sounds of plunging divers entering the ocean and the calls of passing gulls. All the while, the sun’s penetrating heat on my back.
What I was doing my best to ignore was my aching muscles, sore, blistered feet and really, really bad hair – all of which had become familiar bedfellows over the past days of walking.
This is soft adventure.
Far outweighing the moments of inconvenience from pushing my body and mind beyond its usual range, however, are the memories I’ve locked away in my mind of the five days of soft adventure on the Costa Brava.
These are the memories that will live with me forever:
*Walking through a misty pine forest with dewy air and a mossy green carpet so quiet underfoot, I might have been on a film set.
*Sleeping in a 14th century castle overlooking olive groves and dense oak woods that Salvador Dalí tried to purchase by bartering with his paintings.
*Visiting Dalí’s Museum in Figueres and his wife Gala’s castle home in Púbol.
*Losing the will to live while climbing a mountain, only to
feel the surge of adrenaline as I reached the top and inhaled kilometres of exquisite, rugged Costa Brava coastline.
*Overloading my tastebuds with dishes such as Esqueixada (salted cod with tomato and onion), Suquet de Peix (a seafood casserole) and Crema Catalana (the Catalan version of France’s Crème Brûlée.)
*Having my luggage picked up before the long day’s walk and finding it waiting for me when
I stumbled into my next hotel.
*Starting the day with a mimosa, ready for my leisurely 9am kick off, because I could!
So yes, soft adventure can entail aching muscles, sore feet and really bad hair. More importantly however, it creates travel experiences with smoothed edges and a lovely soft landing.