Barcelona is one of those cities for me where it would seem like I would never visit despite everyone else raving about it. After visiting London and New York, Barcelona took the spot as the city that I really should have been to but for some reason haven’t.
I went to Barcelona to visit a friend who had gotten a job there and we were planning to run the half marathon together if it weren’t for his injuries forcing him to drop out.
I arrived to Barcelona after feeling the cold weather of Copenhagen one last time. And I was very happy to have a bit of summer. It’s no wonder why many Danes have holiday homes in Spain to escape the Danish winter.
After being to so many cities I must admit that I am a bit burned out by cities. I can’t do the usual sightseeing circus so I spent a day walking around Barcelona. And my first impression is that it’s a really beautiful city that’s extremely liveable. For a big city it doesn’t seem to crowded, people are not in a hurry and the small streets of the Gothic quarter are super charming. I didn’t like the huge roads that’s been built, even if they do help people get around, I still prefer walkable cities and Barcelona makes it a bit harder with all of the big streets going into the center of the city.
My friend and I went to Monserrat one day. I wanted to get out of the city so we decided to see it. And that was a very good decision! Montserrat is a beautiful monastery built in the nearby cliffs. The monastery is famous of its black Madonna and we saw a lot of turists there. We went for a hike in surrounding areas before returning to Barcelona tired.
I also spent a day being super turisty. This was the day where I would go to Parc Guell and Sagrada Familia. And while that’s what everyone thinks of when they think Barcelona, it’s for a good reason! The Modernism of Gaudi is really special and Parc Guell is a really nice place if there’s no construction as there was when I was there. Sagrada Familia looks stunning from the outside with its myriad details and inside suddenly turns very simple but still amazing with the colored windows tinting the entire church.
I really enjoyed my time in Barcelona, despite reservations of city fatigue. It’s a beautiful city and a perfect winter getaway for Northern Europeans.
- What? eDreams Mitja Barcelona
- When? February 10th, 2019
- How far? 21.1 kilometers
- Where? Barcelona, Spain
- Strava activity
- 5K – 00:30:42
- 10K – 01:02:58
- 15K – 01:34:40
- 20K – 02:06:41
- 21.1K – 02:12:56
I started training in the winter and did some speed work but then tried to help train my friend. Training in cold weather probably didn’t help me in the more normal conditions of Barcelona but the speed training was useful after completely losing all semblance of form after the many races in 2019.
I woke up and had some breakfast. Some chocolate bread rolls, two small yogurts and then I went back to bed as it was super cold in the morning. I took the subway to the start area and delivered my stuff before getting in line. I have started to be extremely precise when showing up to races as I only waited for perhaps 10 minutes before the race started.
With no expectations I just ran. It sounds simple and it is, sometimes you don’t need to check your watch all the time. For this race I didn’t really set a time for myself so I just ran what I felt was appropriate and it kinda worked.
The race started off nicely with some great sights. The sun was up and I started feeling warm again. One thing I noticed immediately was how straight the course was. Thanks to the grid system in Barcelona the course was extremely fast.
At one point around 5k in, I did feel a bit bored. Mainly because all of the buildings in inner Barcelona looks exactly the same but also because it’s so straight! There was no variation of any kind so started speeding up from my initial pace.
The rest of the race went by pretty quickly after that. The monotony only broken in the last few kilometers but then it was spectacular. Running down a boulevard with palm trees, seeing the coast and then back into the finish was great.
I got my medal, found my friend and we headed for some burgers! (Yeah that’s a beginning tradition of mine) We celebrated my run with going to the cinemas and eating more the rest of the day.
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