Summary: Skate-a-Round Barcelona 29-9 t/m 6-10 2000: (click the small images for an enlarged one)

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De Skate-a-Round groep

Barcelona is an excellent city for skating, within a two hours distance by plane from Amsterdam. The travel agency Skate-a-Round arranged for inline-skating holiday in this city, a whole week long. In the town's centre it's easy skating since it's all flat. There are nice boulevards with asphalt cycle-tracks, nice tiles in the old part of the centre and along the beach. Unfortunately, there are a lot of badly "skatable" pavements elsewhere. For advanced inline skaters, there are spectacular downhill posibilities outside the centre! You prefer to relax? There is the beach (and the beautiful weather) and numerous places worth seeing, scattered throughout town. Almost all of the participants did book individualy, so you could always find someone, or several people to hangout with. The three night skates are really cool :-)  Not to mention the warm welcome by the Spanish inline skaters :-). Lex from Skate-a-Round had contacted them in advance. Excellent. Next year again!!!

 

Extended report: (click the small images for an enlarged one)

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A beautiful harbour.

 

Friday September 29th: Night Skate

From the airplane we could see the sunny beaches awaiting. Once on the ground, we noticed that summer did not end over here. Really warm! Traveling by train and subway we arived at the Ramblas, one of the busiest tourist streets, with lots of street artists and souvenir stands. Our hotel is at close distance. Early in the evening we are already skating.

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The encounter with Spanish skaters.
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Lex with the Barclona shirt and Jorge with the Amsterdam FNS-shirt.

Jorge Riviere a local skater welcomes us and guides us to Carlos who just ended a skate-lesson on the boulevard along the beach. He is the instructor. More Spanish skaters show up at this spot, and we can start this Friday's night skate. On fridays the speed is not to high, since it is meant for novice skaters. Not before half past two, did we return to our hotel. Satified.

Barcelona has very diverse pavement. In the centre lots of small square stones, or ornamental ones, which are not pleasant to skate on. Other places like the boulevard at the sea-side, or the old "Barri G˛tic" have big flat stones, for good rolling. The main streets like  the Avinguda Diagonal, or the Paral.lel have good cycling tracks made of asphalt. Some have a very wide asphalt pedestrian walk in the middle. The Tuesday and Thursday night skate take place on the roads, mainly. These are made of good asphalt.

 

Saturday September 30th: To the beach.
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Nice flat stones along the beach

Doing some sightseeing, skating, and off to the beach. At this time of the year, the temperature is still between 20 - 25 dergees Celcius ( 68 - 77 Fahrenheit)! Lex the Skate-a-round tour leader collected our starting-numbers for the skate event on Sunday: "El Corte Ingles" sponsored by the departmentstore with the same name. This event takes place once a year and attracts about 15.000 skaters.

Sunday October 1st: El Corte Ingles.

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Thousands of skaters participate in the event "El Corte Ingles"

Waking up with rain against the window...ahhh...will the skating still take place? Just in time the sky clears and the roads dry up as we arrive at the start of the 9km tour. We start at Placa Catalu˝a and go via Aragˇ, Plaša d' Espanya, de Avinguda Parel.lel to the Port OlÝmpic. Where all these inline skaters come from, I don't know. At daytime you won't see very many of them and the night skates do not have more than 90 participants. In the Olympic village several activities take place: 300m sprint, street hockey and freestyle competitions. Super relaxed.


After this event we meet with our Spanish friends and go with about 50 skaters to the Olympic harbour for a lunch. Surprisingly, not very many of them speak English. So, a good opportunity to practie you Spanish :-) This group of skaters from Barcelona says 'not to be organized' (more a meeting of friends), but they do have their own "patinar-bcn" t-shirt and a  website: www.patinar-bcn.com "patinar" is Spanish for skating.

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Spanish and Dutch skaters together..
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Mercedes, Lucile, Jorge, Paul and Carmen

After lunch, we leave for Montju´c under the guidance of Amalia. This is the mountain were you can find the Olympic stadium, the Palau Nacional and an old castle. We don't get very far however. An enormous cloud-burst flushes us back to our hotel.

 

Monday October 2nd: Touristic skating.

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Palau Nacional
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The Montju´c castle

Since Skate-a-Rounds motto is "no strings attached", most of the people are going in small groups, or on their own, for a visit to the numerous attractions. I decide to go skating up the  Montju´c and visited the palace and the Olympic stadium. Using escalators, you can reach the front door of the palace  After that I skated via Carrer Montju´c to the Castell de Montju´c. This is a very steep climb (10%). From the stadium you can also go via de Carrer Doctor and the Avinguda Del Castell. Less steep, but also a less smooth surface. Standing on top of the mountain and the castle, you have a magnificent view on the city and the harbours. When you roll down, you notice that it is incredible steep. Release your brake for a second and you will get launced. (also because of the very smooth road). To dangerous at daytime.

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The Triumph Arch by FontserÚ and Gaudi.
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La Sagrada Familia. Casa Ametiller
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Parc GŘell. Bench with mozaic. Entrance of Parc GŘell

From the foot of the mountain, it's a nice ride along the harbours to get to the Parc de la Ciutadella. The pavement is all gravel, but with some effort you will manage. It is time for a drink and a sitdown at the pond in front of the Triumpfh Arch build by Josep FontserÚ and Antoni Gaudi. From the parc skating across bad pavements to the Sagrada Familia. An impressive building, they will continue working for the next century to finish it. Further up north to Parc GŘell, I leave the district 'Eixample' behind and the streets are getting smaller. It is quit an effort, since it's getting steeper here too. In Parc GŘell Gaudi freaked out. Very nice to see. Especialy the 'longest bench in the world' surrounding the square, contains porcelain mozaics. Going down again via the Carrer de Gracia and the Passeig de Gracia you will pass the famous Casa Milla (also by Gaudi) and the Casa Ametiller. By all, I skated about 20km. In the evening we went for a nice Spanish dinner and for the disco's at Maremagnum. The new night live at Port Vell.

 

 

Tueaday October 3rd.: Tuesday Night Skate

In the morning we did a tour using the "hop on, hop off" sightseeing bus. We learned that the best time for doing this, is the afternoon, as fewer people will be standing inline to get on board. In the afternoon RenÚ, Egbert, Linda and I did a skate tour through the city. Along the beach to the distict of "Poble Nou" and from there following the Avinguda Diagonal to the square Francesc Macia. In the north, the Diagonal has a 20 meter wide smooth pedestrian walk in the middle more than 1.5 km long: cool! After that a 3km smooth cyling track continues at both sides. Via the Carrer de Josep Tarradellas, passing the Parc Joan Mirˇ and taking the Paral.lel you arrive at the hotel near the end of the Ramblas (ca 16km).

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Skating through heavy traffic to Sagrada Familia Plaša d'Espanya

 

Tueaday Night Skate (not for beginners!)

In the evening, Skate-a-Around and the local skate teacher Carlos are organising a skate-clinic at the boulevard in Port Olimpic. Only Paul, Egbert, Peter and I decide to go to Plaša de Catalunya for the Tuesday night skate. This event is only advisable to very experienced skaters (seriously!). With 13 skaters in total we "take off" and are racing at full speed through narrow streets, crossing small squares, paying no attention to traffic lights (they do not use blockers to stop the traffic, as we do in Amsterdam!). You have to be careful about cars, mopeds and pedestrians coming from side ways.

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Departure of the Tuesday night skate at Plaša de Catalunya

Of course, the Spanish know each flowerbox, lid of wells, etc. in the streets. Alas, the speed gets interupted by breaks at water taps. Don't drink it if you'r not a local, it contains chlorine and is not very tastful. Buy bottled water. We are heading for Carmello. This is even higher uphill than Parc GŘell. The hill is pretty steep to climb. Some skaters are "slowly dying" during the climming ;-). To be in good form is handy ;-). After the Elfstedentocht (eleven cities tour: 235km in two days in Holland) I am in good shape and mange to finish on top of the hill first. The downhill is really great!! Doing the zig-zag movements keeping your skate parallel just like skiing is the best way to descend. This enables you to controll your speed. When cars show up, you just pull over. If you go down in a straight line you will reach 70km/h (44 miles/h) easily (measured using a GPS). This is not recommended within the city ;-)

Only participate when you are an advanced inline skater and are in good shape. It is their party, and not their job to guide you home savely. (it is not comparable to the Amsterdam Friday Night Skate, or Paris Rendez vous Vendredi Soir). This tuesday the total distance was 18km (11 miles).

Wednesday October 4th. Sitges.

By train, the whole group travels to Sitges. A seaside place 25km south of Barcelona. The sea-front promenade has a superb layer of asphalt. Here we practice different braking techniques and a match of long jumping on skates. After a some nice relaxing on the beach we made a tour through the villapark.

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Peter, Lex and Luuk skating the nice asphalt in Sitges. A nice spot to practice bracking techniques.

Thusrday October 5th: Thursday Night Skate.

Yesterday I catched a cold and spent the whole day in bed today. Though, I didn't want to miss out on the Thursday night skate, so in the evening I got out of bed and strapped into my skates again. Since this was our last night in Barcelona, we had a dinner together with the whole group in the Hard Rock cafe. At Thursdays the speed is not very high and about 80 skaters join the group. Our entire Skate-a-Round group will take part, except for John who got robbed and spent a lot of time arranging things (blocking his cellphone account). Again, we gather at Plaša de Catalunya. The start is a bit chaotic: Amalia gives the start signal and crosses the intersection. Before the last skaters can follow the cars are driving already. They don't use blockers. Nor do they pay much attention to traffic lights :-). The speed is good. Pedestrians have to jump aside as we pass. At the most unexpected locations, they know to find water taps, and wait there for the people lagging behind. This is a really social evening skate here in Barcelona. Next to the  railway station "Barcelona Sants" we fetch soft drinks and candy from machines and have a chat. This evening we will climb Montju´c. From Plaša d' Espanya till the Olympic stadium it is easy to skate uphill (3 ß 4 %). Here we split in two groups. The majority decends via the Avinguda de Miramar. (Watch the U-turn in the Carrer de Miramar!!). Togeher with Paul, Mark, Peter, and two Spanish skaters (Javier witht a GPS on his shoulder), I climb all the way up to the castle. The downhill ride from here is spectacular: in the middle of the night, no traffic, the road all for ourselves and a slope of 10%!! When you lift your break, you will be launced. Carefully using the slalom technique like skiing we go down the first stretch. At the more flat part and with less curves we just let it rolling. This is speed! Javier measured 67km/h (42 miles/h) using his GPS. At Port Olimpic we meet again with the others at a cafe for a aprÚs-skate. This was really cool!. I shot video of this night skate. May be it will show up on the web at a later time.

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Behind the Sardana- dancers you can see the steep slope.

Friday October 6th: Going home :-(

Drinking thee at a sunny terrace and prepare for the fight back. In the airplane, Paul managed to get the stewardes skating the aisle in the plan (her first time on skates!). Maybe she was the first one to skate at an altitude of 10km :-) Unfortunately we arive from a sunny 23 degrees Celsius in Barcelona in a cold and wet Amsterdam at 18:15. So there is no Friday Night Skate :-(

Skate-a Round, Lex, super cool this trip! Thanks :-)

Hasta la vista :-)

draakje_kl.jpg (4261 bytes)Peter Nikkel. peter@nikkel.nl

NB: Be careful not te get robbed at the Ramblas! Two members of our group lost their cellphone. It is not recommended to walk alone to the hotel at night. If someone taps you on the shoulder and wants to greet you with a handshake "hello my friend", keep him off. Don't let them get near to you. They are professional thieves. They tried it on me too. Don't wear anything in your back pockets. Switch off your cellphone in advance, otherwise they will phone you bankrupt in case of theft.