Passing through the coastline of Costa Brava we approach a small cave-like opening that we must enter in order to reach the other side of the beach. The circular line of rocks in the image represent the cyclical pattern of life.

“Live in the moment” are wise words to live by. However, throughout the excursion in Costa Brava I could not help but continuously reflect on my past. This journey brought me back to my adventurous childhood memories and reminded me of my nautical times in the Philippines as well.

This highpoint of a cliff overlooks just a portion of the Costa Brava beachside that was trekked.

I squeezed through these two large boulders to reach the other side of the beach.

While I have never trekked such an intense hike as I did on this journey, the experience reminded me of the many times I have adventured with my cousins in the wilderness. As a child, my extended family used to camp at the Miller Riverview Park & Campground in Dubuque, Iowa each year for Labor Day weekend. We would set up our tents on the same strip of land with fishing rods lined up by the Mississippi River, the big feasting tent with picnic tables underneath, my cousin’s DJ station playing the same tunes every night, and the fire pits for night time s’mores. All of the older cousins would shun us little cousins from ruining their cool teenage vibe, and so we would roam around to find our own adventures. My favorite part of camping was always our imaginative explorations of a boat-themed playground down the street and the wild tree-filled hills right next door. It was the closest thing to nature that us young suburbanites could get, and we took advantage of it. I remember our creative adventures climbing the steep, dirt hills on all fours, running up tree branches, swinging on broken vines, and making up stories for the pieces of trash we would find on the ground. The hike through the trails of Costa Brava was similar to my camping adventures but on steroids. For over eight miles I trekked through the scenic trails that the land had to offer. Every moment was so beautiful that even pictures could not do the views justice. At one point I had to get on all fours in order to climb up a rocky hill out of the beach and back up to the top of a cliff. It reminded me of climbing those dirt hills, and I could not help but think that my childhood adventures served as a foreshadowing of my Costa Brava hike. I just wish that my cousins could have been there to experience it, too!

Captain Joan prepares his instrumental conch for us to express our musical talents and call out to the sea.

The crest of this small, secluded town Cala s’Alguer depicts the favorite pastimes (card playing, fishing, eating mussels, lounging, and sailing) of the local seamen who historically resided here.

After the hike, it was time for a less physically demanding act of sailing. While some of my fellow classmates battled motion sickness, I found the ride quite soothing. Just like hopping on the swings back and forth, the waves were rocking me to near-unconsciousness. It was a ride that drastically differed from the time I visited the Philippines and traveled from my mom’s home island of Negros Occidental to my dad’s home island of Panay. Already suffering from a water-borne illness, I sat on a big crowded boat laying my head on my mom’s lap trying to avoid vomiting. My experience on the Mediterranean Sea with Captain Joan was a complete 180° from that experience. His animated attitude was contagious, and he gave me life with his jolliness and his watermelon slices after an exhausting hike. It was the perfect end to a long, tiresome day in Costa Brava, and I hope to return to the Philippines one day for redemption and for a renewed nautical experience.

 

Posing by the edge of the boat I embrace my inner sailor.