Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Flat hunting in Barca

I'm so chuffed that the Med has decent waves, that I'm going to show you another picture from www.funkysurfing.com, this one taken four days ago. 3-4 feet of solid swell, and pretty clean to boot. Sigh...

The good news is that I confirm that the pic above, and all the rest on that sight, aren't fakes - this Saturday Djanira and I strolled down to Barceloneta and there it was, a solid 3-foot swell (unfortunately messed up by a strong cross-off breeze), and about 50 surfers enjoying it. Further up the coast at Vila Olimpica a fatter wave had about 30 longboarders on it, which tbh looked like it would work better on a westerly swell instead of the southerly that was present, but showed promise nonetheless. The swell dropped a little on Sunday but was still rideable, and by Monday it had gone.

So, wave-hunt successful, we returned to the lesser-important of our two goals for the weekend, finding somewhere to live*. Barcelona is quite a compact city, squeezed in between the mountains and the sea, and it would appear that all city architects had this on their mind while designing the apartment blocks - why have one large bedroom when you could have three tiny ones, right?!

Our number one criteria for a flat is that it has to be near the sea. After years of neglect, Barcelona has spruced up its beaches and they are really brilliant now; clean, safe, pretty, modern and easy to access. We saw a couple of flats downtown but they weren't right - they just made us realise how important being near the sea is to us. The barrio of Barceloneta appears perfect on paper (yes, that's the main surfing beach!) but unfortunately the flats there are almost exclusively only 35m2. Which, frankly, is too small. So we're looking further up the coast, specifically at Poble Nou. It's a suburb, but quite a nice one, and it should be possible to get a bigger place there. Vila Olimpica, in between the two places, has some big flats too but frankly the place is soul-less. It was build for the Olympic games as housing for the athletes, and while it's pretty enough it has all the character you might expect from an area that was effectively razed to the ground and re-built within a few months.

We didn't find anywhere ideal this weekend but we learned a lot. We plan to arrive there mid-May, and so our likely course now is to live in short-term accommodation for the first fortnight while we find the right place.

* this is a joke, Mum. Aha.

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