One Summer Day in Barcelona

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One Summer Day in Barcelona

 

Barcelona, if you have been you know what I’m about to say. Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It’s safe, accessible to any budget and any age, it feels liberated, vibrant and alive. It teases all of your senses and only asks that you to slow down and enjoy it.

I was in Barcelona for 3 weeks and found that the best way to stay healthy while enjoying the city was to do it the Spanish way. Not the American way. You can’t over-commit to sites, workouts and meals in Spain. It won’t serve you well, plus it will be a headache to go against the natural pace of the city.

3 years ago, I found out the hard way in Ibiza. I had a plan of running, beaching, eating and doing yoga in the afternoon. I was quickly mistaken that lunch is sacred and Spanish time is it’s own travel element. My daily agenda was out the window, once I sat down for lunch and learned that it took 3 hours! Once I  let go of my plan and expectations for more, more, more - I enjoyed every minute of it. 

The more you resist the Spanish way of life, the less you’ll get out of your time in Spain and you will feel both frustrated and unhealthy.

 

If you take nothing else from this piece, I encourage you to at least...

do less,

rest more,

feel more.

Let this city wrap it’s arms around you and take you for a ride.

 

Where I stayed:

Airbnb - There are so many beautiful homes around the city. I suggest you pick a neighborhood where you want to explore and find a traditional apartment. There are charming stories found in the unique quirks of a home. See what it feels like to be Spanish!

I also stayed at Hotel Casa Bonay for most of my stay. The hotel staff was exceptionally nice and they had everything I wanted downstairs. Coffee, healthy food and a chill club atmosphere with DJs on the weekends. There was even a tiny library with a nice curated selection of books in Spanish and english.

How to get around:

This is the part where you stay healthy and fit. WALK. I walked everywhere. Sometimes up to 18 kilometers a day and I honestly, I lost weight while I was there. This easy going lifestyle and long walking is perfect for women who are trying to trim their middle.

While high intensity sessions are perfect for toning and tightening, too much high intensity movement can create a build up of cortisone in the low belly and just sit there. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that stubborn lower belly mass that doesn't budge no matter what you eat and how many soul-cycle classes you do. Stress is a powerful inhibitor to losing weight. The low intensity of walking is a great way to boost caloric burn, while putting your mind in a meditative restful state. Studies show that those who walk after a meal, have better balanced blood sugar levels and have fewer food cravings.

 If you’re traveling solo, I recommend walking around with headphones to listen to directions. That way, you don’t look lost and can keep your head up to enjoy the city.

Places to sweat and burn:

I was lucky to find a good community of yoga practitioners and I mostly practiced at Ashtanga Yoga Shala, just above Restaurant 7 Portes. There are also so many beautiful parks in Barcelona. Just pack a small bag with water, snacks and maybe some elastic bands and bust a move when you get there! Think squats, push ups, jumps, lunges. Look for park benches for an added level of intensity (box jumps!)

 A few of my favorite parks were: Arc de triomf, Park Guell and Park de Montjuic

Where to Comer

If you want healthy food, but eat meat, you won’t have a problem finding something at most palces. If you’re a vegetarian, or would like a lighter meal, I recommend the following places:

Teresa Carles

Flax & Kale

KoKu Kitchen

Lo Boqueria Mercat

Other notable restaurants, but not as healthy would be:

Bar Calders

Vicini

Bar Brutal

La Pubilla

Can Majo

Bar Del Pla

Baracca

And for the something special? Like Coffee, sweats, books, espadrilles?

Satan's Coffee

Federal Cafe

Be Chocolat

Malpasao Liberia

El Magnifico

La Manual Alpargatera