“I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.”
– Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Jet lag my old friend, how the hell are ya? It had been a while since I’d run the Ritchey Breakaway bike though the airline baggage fee gauntlet so the the shock of hailing a cab at the Barcelona airport for my journey downtown was even more severe than it should have been. Sitting curbside in the taxi line with a foggy brain I silently mouthed how I was going to relay where I was going without looking like a total moron.
C’mon brain, it’s only an address you need to recite. You can speak enough Spanish to relay numbers and a street name. You’ve got this.
With that mission accomplished, twenty minutes later I was lugging my belongings into a tiny hotel room that would soon serve as an assembly room for my bolted-together escape vehicle/bike. But first, a quick bite to eat with the wife who had taken time from her business (the real reason to go to Barcelona in the first place) to see that I had arrived in one piece. After a quick hello and lunch break I had the remainder of the day to myself for exploration.
“Have you seen the light, my son?” Yes, and it burns a little Santa Iglesia Catedral Metropolitana de la Encarnación de Granada
Honestly, I wasn’t that thrilled about going to Spain at first. In retrospect I’m so glad that i relented. I had visited years before and while I had enjoyed my time I wanted to go somewhere new. However, the issue of syncing up spousal schedules reared it’s ugly head and a compromise was reached: I’d have 2 whole days pretty much to myself to explore Barcelona on my bike.
Well 2 whole days if I hit the ground running that is, which is exactly what I did as soon as I returned to my hotel room following lunch. Less than an hour later I was following a Starva currated ride on my GPS as I dodged taxis and scooters on my way out of the city.
The Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, located on a mountain overlooking Barcelona. If church is not your thing there’s an amusement park here too
Barcelona is a very bike friendly city so unlike a place like, for instance Rome, a dousing of holy water was unnecessary to protect life and limb. In retrospect, after some close calls the second day while reentering the city on a Friday afternoon that might have been a good idea. Running with the scooters is almost as unpredictable as running with bulls.
Mmmmm unprocessed jamon in Parc de Collserola outside Barcelona
Still, if you’re ever in Barcelona bring a bike (or rent one) and point it toward the hills. Jet lag be damned! Catalonia is beautiful, the people are friendly and there are miles of quality riding nearby in the hills above town (and beyond).
Catalonian Curve. To quote Black Flag “Rise above, we’re gonna rise above”
Listen to your inner Hemingway and run with the taxis and scooters! Climb the hills, ride the curves with the deathwish motos! Drink black coffee until you twitch. While it can be hard to comprehend on a seemingly endless jet lagged day, some day the sun will cease to rise no matter how careful you may be.
“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride” – Anthony Bourdain
Sunrise in Sevilla, across from the Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla
Catedral de Sevilla. You have to get up early to have it all to yourself like this
A little bit of this will help get you there bright and early
The strong coffee comes in handy to keep you awake and on the lookout for situations like this in the streets of Sevilla…
which reduces the possibility of ending up like this (your typical Spanish butcher shop, this one in Barcelona)
Torre del Oro (“Tower of Gold”) bathed in golden light on the Sevilla waterfront
Bike commuter in Sevilla
More from the Old Town Sevilla maze
Had trouble getting my bike into the frame on this one, Catedral de Santa María de la Sede in Sevilla
And since we’re in Andalusia let’s not forget the Moors at the Alhambra, Granada