August 9, 2017

Making Friends in Barcelona

Google Search: "beach volleyball barcelona." Enter key.

The main idea was to just find where the beach volleyball courts exist on the many kilometers of shoreline in and around Barcelona.

I had no idea it was possible to join a "meet-up" for beach volleyball and have a guaranteed spot to play.

So, that's exactly what I did. On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday.

The couple of hours of volleyball usually stretched into a couple more hours of tapas and talking, and I could not have found a more fun way to feel like a local in Barcelona!

This ended up designing the format for my time in Barcelona: waking up early, taking the bus to the beach, playing volleyball until lunch, sharing a cultural exchange well into the afternoon, then wandering around on my own until dinner. I peppered in a few jazz experiences, relaxing on the beach, and admiring the gorgeous architecture around the city.

I had it in mind to maybe do some other things, spend more time in the Gothic quarter, go back up to Parc G├╝ell, whatever.

This full week in Barcelona showed me one thing for sure: I will find ways to return more often than every three years (the current frequency). I can find groups to play volleyball with, eat amazing and cheap food, enjoy energetic jazz music, and practice my Spanish.

In addition, there are so many Vespas all over this town, it's an Instagram #ScooterSquatter party!

The greatest thing about this trip was that I didn't let typical tourism pressure me too much. I didn't rush, I didn't spend all my money, and I let the days flow like I was a part of the scene - instead of blustering around just observing everyone and everything.

It increased my international volleyball network on the Barcelona beach to include Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Poland, El Salvador, Czech Republic, and the USA. We all regularly called out the score in at least four languages. I actually improved at moving in sand and understanding 2-on-2 volleyball game strategy.

If only every single trip I took could be like this one!

Wait until you hear about what Marc and I attempted on our next stop in Portugal...