Well, it’s been three weeks in Barcelona and I finally made it down to the beaches. There are nine beaches in Barcelona where the Mediterranean Sea meets the city. You can see the Mediterranean from most high points in Barcelona. So, I have seen it many times but from afar. This weekend I made my way onto the sand itself. It’s only a couple blocks from the Metro stop. I got off at the Cintadella Villa Olimpica station. The station got its name from the Parc de la Ciutadella park and Vila Olímpica neighborhood, which are both right there.
Okay, so I walk onto Port Olímpic where all the sailboats are docked and take a left. I walk about a quarter mile and I see the sand, volleyball courts and the sea. It’s very beautiful. On Saturday morning at 10:30 am there are not a lot of people. I keep walking down the stone path for another mile or so, and finally got to a spot that looks pretty mellow. There is a basketball court and a small skate park. The stone path is about one city block from the sea.
The sand is fine and very light with a lot of little seashells in it. I start to pick them up, but as I keep walking I realize there are tons of shells. By the beach there are a lot of volleyball courts, and cool Jungle Gym structures for kids to play on, and these chairs made of stone where the older people hang out. By the time I leave, it seems like half the city is here. There are kids, families with strollers, teens, couples, and elders. Everyone is here. You can tell that the people of Barcelona enjoy their beach time.
Location: The beaches of Barcelona are on the east side of the city where the Mediterranean Sea hits the city. I only walked for a couple of miles in total so I never reached the end. It seemed like it went on for a while longer. I still plan to walk the whole beach. If I would have to walk to my apartment from the beach it would probably be about four miles.
Local Time: The time here now is 5pm Central European Time.
How far did I travel this week?: I have travelled many miles around the city. I’ve walked and taken the Metro from my apartment to school and to many different places around the city. Every day I walk at least five miles. After classes a few friends and I usually walk to Catalunya from school and check out the Plaza there and watch people. After that I either walk home or take the Metro. It’s about three miles to my apartment.
How far have I traveled on this journey so far?: Wow, add up five miles a day for three weeks! So far it has only been walking and the Metro but a lot of it. I’ve already gone through four Metro passes with ten rides on each. So that’s 40 Metro rides and about 140 miles: Doesn’t it seem like a lot?
How did I get around this week?: It has all been walking or the Metro. I want to get a scooter like the one I have at home. Everyone here has one. Well, it seems there’s as many scooters as cars.
What was the most interesting place I visited this week?: The Beach! I walked to the basketball hoop at Base Náutica Mar Bella from Port Olímpic, which is maybe a couple miles. There were kids playing basketball. It was kind of funny. Kids in Barcelona grow up playing soccer, or football as they call it, whereas I grew up playing basketball and American football. You can tell by the way they play basketball that they could use more practice! Although I shouldn’t laugh: Every kid plays soccer here, and they would run circles around me.
Other Travel News from this week: Spring is here and it is warming up in Barcelona. It was a lot warmer this week than last, and it is only getting warmer.
Number of sunny days this week: 5
Number of cloudy days this week: 2
Number of rainy days this week: 0
Number of snowy days this week: 0 ha!
Number of windy days this week: It gets a little windy every afternoon. It’s nice because it cools everything. It has only gotten to about 70 this week but that’s hot for me. In Portland 70 degrees is perfect.
What is the temperature right now?: 65
How was the weather this week?: It was nice this week. Most days start out a little chilly around 50 degrees, then warm up by 11:00 am to about 60 degrees, and then by noon or one o’clock in the afternoon it gets to high 60s. Like I said, every afternoon gets breezy and starts to cool the air so it’s in the lower 60s before sunset. Barcelona has awesome weather.
What animals did I see this week?: Dogs! Everyone has a dog. I did see a big cockroach about two inches long in the subway. I also saw a Magpie bird. They’re a little smaller than ravens, and black and white. They have a loud squawk that lets you know they’re coming and going. That’s about it. Oh, I did see one cat too.
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week?: I’m starting to see flowers bloom. I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of flowers, and then seeing if I can name them with my Biology teacher in Oregon. I’ll send you some pictures and see if you recognize any. So it’s spring and everything’s starting to bloom. It’s not like Portland where I’m from that has more abundant flowers and green places, but all the areas here in Barcelona are blooming.
Other Nature News from this week: It’s spring again. Barcelona is warming up. In Spanish we say ‘Hace Calor’ which means it’s hot. It’s one of the sayings I like to say because when I do, everyone smiles.
What main languages are spoken here?: Catalan is the main language. It’s very similar to Spanish but you can tell the difference. Spanish is second, and if you can speak Spanish you’ll be fine. English, I’ve also heard a lot of German and Dutch, some French and Italian. Most Europeans speak 2-3 languages.
What type of money is used here?: The euro is the local money. That’s it. I have some dollars that I have to exchange, whoops. I’ll have to go to the bank to do that. Everything under fives euros is change, not paper money. For example, there are two-euro coin, one-euro coin, and 50-cent, 20-cent, 10-cent, five-cent, two-cent and one-cent coins. So you always have a lot of change.
How much does a bottle of water cost?: I still buy the big eight-liter bottles from the store, which is 2.2 gallons. From that I fill up my water bottle. Those are only one euro each at my corner store. The small personal size water bottles are under a euro depending on where you buy it.
What was the best meal this week?: I had a Bocadillo this week. It’s a small sandwich that has jamón and Aioli, which is mayonnaise with garlic in it. Jamón is Barcelona’s famous ham. It’s pretty yummy. I don’t eat meat in Portland, but I told myself I would when I am in Barcelona. It’s OK. People here go crazy about their jamón. I would like a little more of it on my sandwich, but this is Barcelona, and you get about one slice of ham on your sandwich.
What music did I listen to this week?: I still haven’t heard any good music. There’s a lot of American music being played in shops but not a lot of other music. I hope to hear some soon.
What activity was the most fun this week?: Going to the beach and getting a haircut. I found a barber in el Gótic area. I was excited, because I like to get my haircut about every 3-4 weeks. I like it tight too, so I have to have a barber do it. I got lucky: This guy was awesome and his English was better than my Spanish. I was cool. He knew what to do. I said I would be back before I go to Rome, and he said that my Spanish better improve. He was joking…kind of.
What did I read this week?: I’ve had to read a lot of short excerpts from books for my literature class. One book is called El Cid, which is a classic Spanish story about a brave Knight in Medieval times in Spain. Don Quixote is another classic Spanish book about a Knight whose a little off his rocker. I recommend that one for sure, and it’s easy to find. I just read a short excerpt from Doña Perfecta, which is interesting.
What games or sports did I play this week?: I haven’t played any sports this week but Barca, Barcelona’s soccer team made it to the semi-finals. So the city is alive and excited with Barca Pride!
Other news from the week?: Again, it’s getting warmer in Barcelona. If there are any soccer fans, the next Barca game is going to be big! I recommend watching it if you can. You might have to see it on a time delay, but it will be nuts! They go crazier for their soccer here than we do about any sports in America.
Have a good week! Ciao for now.