Biking on the beach a great escape in Barcelona

March 25, 2013
Alpine Living

Alpine Living

Having limited time in a city like Barcelona can be a little bit overwhelming. The second largest city in Spain has tons to offer in the way of food, history, nightlife and shopping, not to mention one of the best fútbol teams in the world. But in trying to experience everything, it’s easy to miss out on the simple charms of a city by the sea.

Last Monday I found myself back at the Hotel Colon with about two hours of free time, and no clear idea what I should do. I had seen some of the nightlife on Saturday night, Montserrat on Sunday and the FC Barcelona team defeat Rayo Vallecano just a few hours after. Monday morning I admired the fantastical Sagrada Familia, and that night I had an appointment with Chef Cándido Cid and a paella pan.

With so many incredible experiences in just a day and a half, I was already exhausted, and the idea of a nap crossed my mind more than once. But the city held so much more, and I couldn’t let myself leave without seeing an essential part of Barcelona: the beach.

If there was one thing the entire Alpine Living staff wanted to do in Barcelona, it was to stick our toes in the Mediterranean. Everyone had talked about it, and now I finally had time. Even better, Anna Rae Gwarjanski, food editor and fellow outdoors enthusiast, had about two hours to spare and knew of a bicycle rental place just a few minutes from our hotel.

For a euro an hour we could take the bikes anywhere, and we headed straight for the coast. We rode through the city past picturesque cafes and centuries-old buildings, our excitement growing with every block we passed. When we finally hit the beach, we couldn’t contain our enthusiasm. We were in Spain!

We immediately rode right up to the sand and, not wanting to leave our bikes, took them with almost down to the water. We left them in the sand and ran with our cameras to the water, laughing like little kids. We frolicked like we had never seen a beach before. The locals hanging out around the steps laughed and took pictures of us, the heinous tourists, but we didn’t care.

When we finally got ahold of ourselves, and a scrap of our dignity, we realized there was the rest of the coastline to explore. We rode for 30 minutes all along the coast, stopping to take more pictures or simply a breath and realize how great all of this was.

We got to see a different part of the city, without the traffic and guided tours. We set our own course and got to relax while absorbing an integral part of that city’s culture.

When we got tired (or just ran out of time), we turned back, but our tour continued.

It was only 2 euro and some calories for our spontaneous trip, and it is one of my favorite memories of Barcelona.

Sometimes having an itinerary is overrated.