Monday, May 25, 2015

Barcelona, Spain: Barceloneta & the Waterfront

Actual date of this event: 19 September

After a very long day with miles of walking, Luke and I decided to take it easier on Friday. We decided the best thing to do would be to head to Barceloneta, rent bikes, and ride along the waterfront. Then we would lay on the beach for a while and enjoy the sun! Ah, yes, wonderful! Or so we thought it would be.... (jk)
Barceloneta is one of the least touristy areas in all of Barceloneta. Why? Because the locals there do everything they can (within reason) to keep the tourists away. Signs were posted all over with the words "CAP PIS TURISTIC" which means No Tourist Apartment. Apparently, it is against the law to rent your home to tourists in Barceloneta. Interesting. We wandered in the area anyway since we planned to rent bikes at a store in Plaça del Poeta Boscà.
 Above: the Barceloneta flag

We headed to the waterfront promenade where all of the beaches are located. It was quite a shock when we got there. We had seen nudity before - topless women are not an unusual sight in Europe. BUT straight naked? That was a new one for us! Oh, and men too. Not quite the sight we wanted to see. And they stood around chatting with each other. Naked! And there are showers on the beaches, you know where you rinse off sand or salt/sea water. But the men were using soap! And there was scrubbing. Like having a real shower. Oh, the scrubbing! I should stop my description there. This might not be the experience we want to remember. I'm such the modest American! Anyway, we rode along trying to keep our eyes on the road as much as possible.

Eventually, we reached the end of the 5km stretch at Platja del Llevant. We turned around and then rode the same 5km back to the beginning. We decided it was time for some laziness, so we locked up the bikes, and found a decent spot in the crowd to lay out. Thankfully the nudists tend to stick together, so we were able to find a safe area. As I was laying down, I took a few pictures around us, then realized when I went to post an instagram picture that there were two topless women in the background. Yikes! I was able to cover them up, but it's funny that I didn't even realize they were there.

After a little while of laying out, we decided our skin needed a break from the sun, so we hopped back on the bikes and rode to the Arc de Triomf (similar to Paris' but not nearly as impressive). Because of the La Merce Festival (which I will talk about in another post), there were several trucks around to set up for events.

Next, we rode into Parc de la Ciutadella. I had actually jogged in the park that morning, but wasn't able to fully appreciate it, so it was nice to ride around in it. Again, there were lots of things being set up for La Merce. But the biggest thing we saw was a Catalan Independence gathering. Catalonia (which is the "community" where Barcelona is located) is trying very hard to gain independence from Spain. Coincidentally, while we were in Barcelona, Scotland was voting for (or technically, against) their independence from the United Kingdom.

Above: Catalans waving around the flag of Catalonia; I don't remember seeing a single Spanish flag while in Barcelona.
We only had a little while longer before the bike rental store closed so we pedaled around Barceloneta. I wasn't a big fan of doing this because the streets were narrow and cars were honking at me to get out of the way. haha

After returning our bikes, we walked back to our apartment to clean up before dinner. We decided to eat near our apartment at Nou Cellar, then we headed back to the waterfront. We saw quite a few places to get some drinks at Port Olimpic, so we made our way there using the metro, which wasn't necessary, but we hadn't used our 5-day pass at all that day, so why not? After some drinks, we walked back thru Parc de la Ciutadella where we stumbled upon some really really weird stuff. As La Merce was going on that weekend, there were games and activities going on, but for adults. It was midnight about this time, so we grabbed a few beers at the pop-up bar, and walked around trying to figure out what all the weird stuff was. We still dont know.
It was a great third day in Barcelona, and I just LOVED riding bikes along the beaches and into the city. I wish we could do that more often, but I don't feel comfortable unless there are good bikes lanes on the roads. Anyway, this was probably my favorite day while we were in Barcelona! More to come...

Other posts from Barcelona: TeaserArchitectureLa Sagrada Familia & Park GuellBarceloneta & the WaterfrontChurches & MontjuicCamp Nou, Torre Agbar & La Merce

The beaches in Barcelona are artificial and were created in preparation for the 1992 Olympics.

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