Running postcards from... Barcelona
Bit of nostalgia here. I found these holiday gems buried deep in my phone, taking me right back to my Barcelona trip last summer.
Among other things (say, its history, architecture, beach and love of football), Barcelona is also renowned for its spring-time marathon.
It's a fairly flat city, so runners can either speed along to a PB or take it easy and enjoy the sights. I chose the latter.
|Zig-zag through the trees on Moll de Bosch i Alsina|
March is probably a good time to race in this gorgeous city. August is not. As someone who loves running in bleak Welsh weather, the sun, high temperatures and unrelenting crowds didn't really appeal to me - even for a quick 5-7K.
So I chose early morning. And it opened up a whole new experience of Barcelona for me.
|A sucker for running along marinas (Swansea a favourite), I couldn't help be drawn to the boats as the sun rose|
Early morning is when Barcelonans escape the tourists. Early morning is when the air is cool, the streets are quiet and you can be left alone to truly absorb the city's beauty.
Returning from the waterfront I ran through a maze of alleyways leading to breathtaking plazas. Make your way through a crooked alley and you'll be confronted, most likely, by one of the numerous Basilicas.
|Basilicas make a useful point of reference when you get lost in the alleyways|
The winding streets make for great running too. They're cooler, and you find yourself feeling like a kid running down secret passageways. You start hunting down awesome graffiti.
|Graffiti gems tucked away in the Gothic Quarter|
We stayed in the Gothic Quarter, meaning you can plan a nice 5-10K circular route that takes in both the waterfront and the ancient streets.
After my run, it was still early enough to enjoy a peaceful breakfast with a great view :)
Post-run breakfast was followed by post-run walking. A LOT of walking. But hey, there was plenty to see and enjoy while I stretched those muscles out...
|Long exposure of Ronda Litoral, taken by Mark Hawkins. If you're not a morning person, a cool night time run is the next best thing|
End note: A word of caution - while I felt perfectly safe running/wandering on my own, pick-pocketing is rife here. Within a couple of hours we were targeted; most incidents seemed to be while people waited at pedestrian crossings. Follow what most people do and keep your backpacks/handbags on the front of your body.