With a bounce in his step my de facto father in law beams, “Just round the corner, you’ll see it will be worth it”. Like a pied piper Martin leads a line of his grown up children and teenage nephews round the coastal path leading away from the small picturesque village of Calella de Palafrugell situated an hour north of Barcelona.
Each is laden with a rucksack with various beach associated paraphernalia sticking out. The youngest nephew, aged 14, has rowing oars sticking out of his rucksack. From fishing rods to baguettes, from swimming trunks to reading books everyone has something to carry. The largest weight however is saved for Martin who has slung over his shoulders the canoe which he insists will be “just perfect” for exploring the many coves that the coast of Catalonia has to offer.
With every beautiful cove that is passed the talk of mutiny in the ranks grows. The flip flop feet start to grow tired and the footsoldiers start to question whether they really needed to bring all the snorkels. With every small track that lead off down to another stunning cove the rationale for not stopping seemed to be slipping. How many hours did they have to wait until lunch?
Determination however can come in many forms. The younger generation collectively push their ‘aviators’ up their nose trying to not look flustered in front of young señoritas.
Martin’s determination however has never allowed him to buckle to popular opinion. From under his hat he beams a smile that assures all that he is “positive” the next cove will be perfect. In front of the me the pair of rowing oars mutters, “going to the beach with Uncle Martin is never easy”. The satire of a 14 year old is hard to beat.
Just as ‘the mums’ (the real force on any holiday outing) start to hover in the occasional shade of a tree wondering how much further they are willing to walk, Martin looks around. The look on his face is a look of satisfaction, the look that is almost unique to the male specie that says ‘I was right’ or ‘I told you I didn’t need to look at a map’. He has spotted what he had been holding out for – the deserted beach!
There is a time when you have to concede defeat. That despite logic, rational or even probability, overly enthusiastic in-laws can be right. ‘Just round the corner’ was indeed more beautiful, more tranquil and more alluring than any of the spectacular coves we had just walked past.
As we left the main path to pick our way down to the shore line, a stunning scene stretched out in front of us. The sun shone into our cove bouncing off the rocks that protruded from the otherwise still sea. Trees line the tops of the cliffs that stretch out on either side of our cove. The beach was no more than four meters from the sea to cliffs but it was ours – our piece of perfection on the coast of Catalonia.