sábado, 10 de marzo de 2007

Barceloneta -- Viva la Playa!

















Today I went for a walk and headed for the boardwalk and the beach. The neighbourhood is known as Barceloneta which iterally means 'little Barcelona'. The area used to be the main fisherman's quarter back in the mid-1800s and is characterized by tiny, dead-straight streets, all running toward the Mediterranean.

On the main boulevard, Passieg de Joan de Borbó, you can find tonnes of amazing seafood restaurants and outdoor cafés. There's tonnes of greenspace, as you can see by the first and second picture. A long tree-lined walkway is filled with cyclists, runners and those who choose to just calmly walk the boulevard and take in the sun.

To the west of Barceloneta is the main marina and the Museu Maritim. I think I heard once that the Museu Maritim used to be a factory, and this whole area in general used to be quite a slum. Not anymore...prices have skyrocketed ever since the city began to clean up the beach during the early 1990s. My roommate Joe told me that Barcelona used to have its 'back to the sea', but more and more this area is being transformed into paradise.

The houses here are a style all of its own. Typically they are not bigger than 500 square metres and each level is one whole apartment. The apartments are typically long and narrow with exposed wood beams. I actually stayed in a place here while I was looking for a place to live and a lot of them have been done up in quite a modern way with exposed brick and modern kitchens.

The main boulevard leads to the sea and right at the end is this great little place to have a 'copa' or a nice strong cup of coffee. The boulevard ends and the place opens up to a huge area with palm trees and lots of space. To the west and east stretches the beach, but the boardwalk begins here and goes east for miles!

If you take the boardwalk, you will pass Frank Gehry's huge gold fish sitting on top of a building plus lots of other modern structures, which I will have to take pictures of another day. Who would have known that March could look like this! I have already headed to the beach, taken off my shoes and my shirt and have sunbathed here....truly heaven!

Just wait until the summer when they put up the little covered places where you can have lunch or have a cold beer and listen to hot Euro beats. This place is going to be wild as the months roll on. Just look at those waves!