A big concern for a lot of us studying abroad is staying in shape and healthy. Between trying yummy traditional dishes and desserts in Spain, sipping on café con leche and sangria, not sleeping enough, and constantly moving around, it can be hard to stay healthy and in shape. Not to mention the fact that gyms are fewer and further between, and cost an unnecessary amount of money.
The best way to stay in shape while still exploring your new city, in my opinion, is on foot. All you need is a pair of shoes and some workout clothes and you are good to go! This past month in Barcelona, I have taken a running tour of some incredible places.
First is the neighborhood surrounding La Sagrada Familia. The church looks even more beautiful at that golden hour of the day before the sun sets, and the locals are very friendly and tend to make room on the sidewalks for you. There is also a bike path on almost every street, so be wary of cyclists! Our campus is located in the neighborhood and so is most of the student housing, so running around there is a great way to get your bearings.
Another popular running destination is the boardwalk near Barcelona’s famously beautiful beaches. The offshore breeze and the glittering Mediterranean make for a picturesque and temperature comfortable environment. A great deal of locals run around there as well, and there is nothing like working up a sweat and eating tapas afterwards.
Lastly, my personal favorite route in this beautiful city is through Plaza Catalunya and up Montjuic. Montjuic is a mountain housing the old Olympic village and overlooking the Mediterranean and the city. The mountain, while difficult to run up, has some incredible views from the top, in addition to the Olympic village, some great restaurants, and beautiful gardens. Going up there just before dusk gives the city a stunning golden glow that is well worth the sore legs you will have the next morning.
A great way to learn your way around a new city is by getting lost and finding your way back. In a city as safe and beautiful as Barcelona, you are never truly “lost,” and you can almost always find yourself. There is also a deep sense of belonging and serenity in listening to the pounding of your feet on the pavement and the chirping of Spanish and Catalan conversation around you.