This time, Barry and I have chosen the "Catalan Classic Walk" offered by Breakaway Adventures, a company that specializes in walking and cycling tours in Europe and beyond.
It's April in Spain, before tourist season, and the weather is pleasant. We've paid $1,613 each for six nights' lodging and five days of walking through cork forests and poppy-dotted meadows. Our tour company will transfer our bags as we travel, so, burdened only by day packs and directions, we expect to cover about nine miles a day. Breakfast and dinner are included, but we're on our own for lunches.
We spend our first night at the Castell d'Empordà Hotel, stunningly luxurious and the perfect reward for walking 12 miles in seven hours. Dinner is slow-roasted beef and sweet, creamy Catalan custard. We work it off the next day on a seven-mile ramble through villages along a nearby river.
The morning of Day 3 means a sad goodbye to the castle, but we're getting into the swing of things now. At lunchtime we climb stone steps into Pals, where we find a cafe, and for $13 each, we enjoy three courses and a bottle of wine. Ten miles later, we straggle into the town of Begur.
The next days take us along the Mediterranean, past multimillion-euro villas and serene coves. The final stretch is a killer: down steep steps and up again to gaze at the sea. We toil on, returning to our first hotel, crossing one more finish line together.