One of my (lofty) goals this year is to run in 12 different cities. First off, why make this goal at all?
A lot of people find it hard to fit exercise into their travel (whether it’s business or pleasure) but I consider it a necessity. My restless legs neeeeeed a release after sitting on a plane, and I consider running the very best method of site seeing. You’re moving at a faster pace so you cover more distance, but slow enough to really notice your surroundings. Since you’re on foot, you are not constricted to roads or traffic.
If there’s one thing I regret not having done in 2015, it’s running in Amsterdam and Paris on my trip, but my knee was acting up and even walking was a bit of a chore…so this year I want to make sure I record my travels through running. And wouldn’t you know it – Barcelona, Spain is my first run.
Our hotel was located a couple miles west of the main downtown area (but still very urban). I pretty much just stepped out the door without a plan. Straight off, Barcelona is a city of HILLS, and STAIRS. Good thing I like both.
Also, it’s a crowded city, but by staying on the many side streets, I almost completely avoided pedestrians and constant crosswalks.
Straight off, I found a set of stairs that led into the Parc del Turo del Putxet. And the stairs just continued and continued, past a dog park and people picnicking, up and up. At my one mile marker, I found myself at the top of the park, and a 360 degree view of Barcelona.
Once I left the park (it kind of just went up one way and down the other), I found myself in the Gracia neighborhood (supposedly where the hipsters hang out although I mostly saw run down apartments and some community gardens).
Overall, Barcelona was a very run-friendly city if you don’t mind the hills. It felt safe, clean, and well-organized. Not once did I pass another runner, even though it was 55 degrees and sunny on a Sunday afternoon.
So there it is – Run #1 down. Eleven more to go.