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Sunday, September 09, 2007

More From Barcelona

Getting around on a bike is a lot more efficient than walking and saves a lot of wear and tear on my body. I rented a big, bulky Dutch bike that weighed probably close to 50 pounds. Now I know why these bikes are so popular in Holland: They don´t have mountains, they don´t even have hills. I about blew a bowel trying to ride to the top of Montjuic, the mountain looking over Barcelona from the south. It is a real mountain because they have a quad ski lift to ferry people to the top.

I was able to see the all of the beach area which I would have never attempted on foot. The beaches aren't as nice as the city beach in Valencia but it is a cooler area filled with cafes and restaurants.

Barcelona is like this huge object that I can´t really bring in to full view because I am too close. I will need a lot more time to be able to stand back and really describe it faithfully. After ten days I feel like I have just begun to scratch the surface. I haven´t been inside a single museum as I didn't want to take time away from just walking around trying to familiarize myself with as many neighborhoods as possible.

My willingness to explore grows exponentially when I am riding a bike. If I know exactly where I am going on foot I will walk all day, but I´m not about to walk three blocks out of my way on a whim. The investment in time and energy is a lot less on a bike—even a big, heavy Dutch bike. I saw more of the city in the last 24 hours than I´ve seen all week on foot. However, as I mentioned before, there are a lot of places in the old city that aren´t very accessible on a bike.

If I learned one thing about riding around Barcelona on a bike it´s that I need to live here for a while if I really want to know this place. I have said many times that I hate being a tourist; I prefer being a resident.

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