This truly is an amazing city. With temperatures reaching twenty degrees Celsius the signs were all indicating a “go-ahead” to start the training for my arduous lengthy walk from Le Puy in France to the Atlantic coast through Santiago de Compostela.
My first 10 km walk took place yesterday and I was overwhelmed by the extensive green space that this city has.
There are acres and acres of parkland not unlike the expansive golf courses of Canada. For the Vancouver reader, imagine parkland from English Bay to Robson Street, with the first row of buildings along Alberni. The beaches of Barcelona, delineate the Mediterranean from the metropolis which grew along the coast inward to the mountains. This extensive strip of parkland is an extension of “play area” thus one is not restricted to the sandy strip lapped by water
Yesterday my walk took me along the beach. The weather was so enticing to all that whoever could be outside, was! There were sun-bathers and even bathers as well as surfers, divers and many playing what I had thought was volleyball until I stopped to watch.
There is a net and two aside. A soccer ball is hit back and forth in the same manner as in soccer;that is, by the use of head, shoulders, knees, feet but NO HANDS. When the ball does not get across the net then it is a point for the other team. “The serve” is a kick as in soccer. I have not seen this played on the beaches of Vancouver, where it appears that volleyball is the game or choice, but I must confess that I have never taken the time to simply stand, watch and enjoy the game being played.
Graffiti is a word that I have always associated with vandalism and a violation of one’s sense of propriety.
In Barcelona this urban means of expression is a skilled form of art that decorates many stark walls and exposed sides of derelict buildings,covering them in garments that are regularly replaced. It is like a gallery that moves in time rather than distance so an admirer’s stroll needs to maintain a rigorous schedule in order not to miss a beat or a “scene” as it were.
The passerby is lured by the bright, colourful images to stop, admire and perhaps preserve with a quick snap of the mobile photo app.
Boulevards, or Ramblas as they are called in Barcelona,form an efficient, systematic and interlocking
network of transportation not only for those using motorized means but pedestrians, roller bladders, skate boarders and more. The central part, the boulevard, is treed and often includes sculptures of local artists, with water fountains, play areas for children, separate areas for dogs as well as two lanes for cyclists.
It divides the motorized traffic, going in opposite directions from those in the centre who are going from point to point in a less frenzied style. One can travel from one end of the city to the other never leaving a boulevard. For runners, who must use the city, this is an ideal venue as the flow of motorized traffic does not interfere with their concentration on their paces.