Barcelona is fast becoming one of our favorite cities in Europe and the 24 hours that we spent there this weekend only solidified this feeling.
I mean, everyone loves a good riot, right? We had the farcical luck to be caught up in one after our tapas Saturday night and it took us ages to get past the endless convoys of armored vehicles and burning rubbish bins to our hotel near Sagrada Familia. At every smoke-filled square I would pull out the free hotel map to determine which way we needed to go. Shoko even suggested I ask a cop once. I still don’t know if she was joking or not.
Here is the first set of burning bins we happened upon, but not nearly our last.
Barcelona, probably thanks to its plethora of long, straight avenues and un-European grid patterns, has a huge number of bike rental options. Here’s one whose name alone should make you want to hop on and spin, but their retro bikes make it even more appetizing.
On Sunday, after the obligatory art gallery visit, we walked up Mont Juic to watch the last 8 circuits of the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya. I must say that circuits (like crits, I guess) are the ultimate for viewing, especially if they’re on a hill, since the peloton gets ripped apart bit by bit after each ascent. Here’s a blurry photo of eventual winner ‘Purito’ (in the white jersey), surrounded by his Katusha slaves. Alberto Contador is just behind, with maybe Froome behind him, staring at his stem.
My flat feet don’t allow for long periods of standing, particularly at 71 kg. I am not squatting to get a better perspective of the riders.
Next to us were two helpers from Orica Green Edge, and a couple more from Lotto Belisol. They handed out water bottles on each turn, and in return, got rain vests and arm warmers thrown at them. A thankless job.
It was nice to be in Spain for a bike race finally. We found the cycling fans enthusiastic, without being overly stupid. Then again, it was cold and wet – the mankini crowd probably prefers warmer weather.