Are you an adventurer at heart? If so, you just may adore the moderately challenging cliffside hike between Costa Brava's glorious beach town of Tamariu and the picturesque, mysterious cove of Cala Pedrosa.
Cala Pedrosa, which translates loosely to 'rocky cove', is hidden to the right of Tamariu (if you're facing the ocean) and the most beautiful way to get there is by hiking along the edge of the cliffs, some of which have no guard rail. The final descent to the cala itself is even more challenging, with loose stones on a steep ancient path.
According to Google Maps, this tiny cala is just a 20 minute walk along the main road from Tamariu. Based on our personal experience though I would say that, when traversing the edge of the bluffs with children to get there, it takes closer to an hour.
We'd heard about this special place from a friend in Barcelona, who recommended it at the top of his list of things to do in Costa Brava. "You must go there!" he exclaimed. "It is preciosa! Preciosa!"
After spending 24 glorious hours at the beach in Tamariu, we were excited to begin exploring the region a bit.
"Let's check out Cala Pedrosa!" my husband and I decided, and we rallied the kids.
The Scientist and Soccer Dude (at ages 11 and 9) scampered ahead along the path with maximum confidence, following the thin red and white lines painted on boulders and trees to demarcate the path.
Little Angel (7) walked and climbed a bit more cautiously by my side, making sure to stay close to her mom and dad. The entire Aventura family was faster than their mother however. I lagged behind to take a million photos and to admire the birds diving for fish inside of the Mediterranean.
By the time I'd caught up with them close to the cala, we'd all worked up a major appetite.
"I'm hungry, Mom!" announced Soccer Dude. "When's lunch? I think it's like three o'clock already!"
"If we're lucky, right now," I exhaled, feeling overheated and sweaty.
"What do you mean now?" asked The Scientist. "Did you bring sandwiches?"
"Do you see that stone house down there? On the beach?"
He peered down the side of the cliff. "Yes?"
"Our friend in Barcelona told me that there is a man in that house who will cook lunch for us, right on the beach."
"REALLY?" The Aventura kids were very surprised.
"Where is the man, Mommy?" asked Little Angel. "I don't see him."
"I'm honestly not sure, sweetheart. Why don't we head down to explore further?"
Fearlessly, the children raced ahead.
Rather more delicately, I clung onto boulders, branches and at last the wooden railing of the stone staircase that led from the mountain down to the hidden cove. Happily, I made it to the beach too!
There are very few sandy beaches along the Costa Brava. True to its name, this was no exception. While the children began to skip stones into the sea and build stone towers, Señor Aventura walked across the rocks toward the two small stone structures at the back of the cala.
The structure on the left was closed and dark but the one on the right looked open, warm and inviting with an outdoor patio and smoke rising from the home's chimney. Young teenagers kicked about a ball under the vine-filled arbor at its side. A few other random beach goers hung about along the rocks nearby.
I could see Señor Aventura talking with a man who had exited the building.
"Is that the man, Mommy?" Little Angel asked from where we knelt near the water's edge.
"It might be," I responded.
Soon after my husband returned with very good news. "Yes, even though it's late in the afternoon they are willing to cook us lunch."
"Great!" Our children did not have to be asked twice. Within a minute or two, the entire Aventura family was seated at a table on the patio of the stone house.
My husband began to ask questions about the special of the day. "What does this homemade rice dish contain?" he asked the man. "The special of the day?"
"Oh, I will have my mother-in-law tell you," the man smiled. "She is the cook. It is her recipe."
Within moments, a lovely older woman with short hair and a bright, wide smile had joined us at the table. When she ascertained that we spoke Spanish, she switched from Catalan to Castellano and began to explain the ingredients in her special cazuela (casserole). It contained sausages, rabbit, mussels, shrimp and rice.
"Delicious," Señor Aventura decided. "Would you like to split that with me?" he asked Soccer Dude, the other shrimp and seafood lover in our family.
We ordered a lot of food... starving after our day at the beach and hike along the cliffs. Between the five of us the table was soon covered with dishes full of Patatas Bravas, tortilla, pan con tomate and many other tapas. My husband enjoyed a cold beer and the rest of us made short work of a tall bottle of water as we waited for our lunch.
Later while we ate the older woman returned to our table to see how we enjoyed our food. We fell into conversation with her, and were amazed by the stories she recounted!
It turned out that the beautiful stone cottage in the cove is no less than 600 years old! It is her family's home.
She told us that the building was originally a hospital for pirates who liked to shelter in this little cove in the 1500s because it was so hidden and private. They would come to this place if injured or ill for treatment. "There are probably ghosts walking among us," she smiled. "No doubt many pirates were buried under the stones nearby this place.
(She was not joking! Wow!!! I have done some research since then and discovered that the legendary pirate Barbarossa was known to have frequented the Costa Brava and even made a famous attack at nearby Palamós.)
Her husband's grandmother purchased the property from fishermen for just a few hundred pesetas, long ago.
This kind lady, who is likely a grandmother herself now, cooks here for visitors with her daughters and son-in-law. She is a vibrant, zesty woman in excellent health after recovering from serious illness a few years ago. She takes pleasure in sharing special treats with her guests, including 'bunuelos' made by hand with the recipe of her own grandmother!
We were enthralled with her explanation and looked out upon the rocky shore with new eyes, imagining a pirate ship anchored just off the shore atop its azure blue waters.
"You are a lovely family," the grandmother embraced us warmly at the end of our meal. "You are welcome to come back here anytime!"
"We cannot wait to return," we assured her. "We will bring our friends this summer!"
If you don't mind working a little bit for your afternoon meal, we highly recommend hiking to Cala Pedrosa!!! Nothing could taste better than the homemade cazuela and bunuelos that await you in this tiny pirate's hideaway.
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