For my main study, I am looking at a combination of site inventory/analysis, data interpretation, and experiential techniques to get a well rounded knowledge of the Bicycle Transportation System here in Barcelona. I have not decided exactly how many sites I will be studying, but I do know that I want them to be a combination of chosen and random in order to see the better and perhaps less optimal sides of Barcelona from a bicyclists point of view.
So I just got back from hiking in the Catalan Pyrenees. The five of us stayed at an "aparthotel" in a small mountain village called Vielha in the Val d'Aran Valley. We only stayed for 2 nights and 2 days total, but it was a blast.
Brief History: The first people settled in the Val D'Aran about 6000 years ago, known as the Arans. Due to its isolation amongst 3000m peaks, this culture has remained intact. It is part of the Basque Culture Region, which is only found in the Pyrenees. Many of the buildings in the town were built in the 11-13th centuries by the short-lived Roman occupation and the few roads present are directly based off the Roman street/road layout. Vielha was once 100% isolated from November until June, until 1948, when the Vielha Tunnel was built. It is a long tunnel that brings you underneath a high mountain pass and was once the longest tunnel in the world, at around 5km. During the summer months (pre-tunnel construction), people were forced to hike the 2500m elevation mountain pass, a distance of roughly 10km, to get to the Val d'Aran.
On select Fridays, I am going to upload one to three photos with brief descriptions.
Today I got back my Kodak Tri-X 400 film from Fotoprix, not far from Placa De Catalunya. Shooting with film is much more rewarding to me since you have to think about the composition of every shot and you don't know how the photo will turn out until the roll is developed. There is also a limited amount of exposures on each roll of film and therefore each shot is relatively expensive, especially compared to rapid firing with a digital camera or iPhone (however I am sometimes guilty of that too).
Photo 1: This was one of the first photos I shot on this roll of film. My BMX bike sits perfectly on our living-room balcony and I wanted to focus more on the bike and less on the street-scape background. The white stickers really pop out of my frame and fork and you can notice my boxers drying on the railing behind my bike since we currently have no washer or dryer. There is also a nice contrast from the over exposure and out-of-focus at the top left of the photo to a darker and more focused lower right.
This is a quick Instagram-video that was filmed with Zach and Nate's help a couple days ago. Now that the three of us have bikes, getting around the city is more convenient, way faster, and a lot of fun. These clips were filmed at Parc de Joan Miro, Glories, and Parc de L'Espanya Industrial (in that order).
I have been using Instagram a lot, so follow me @willardsbruce to see a plethora of photos and videos of my travels.
Paddock is an awesome pub just up the street from us. The bartenders are bilingual, so we have begun to dabble in conversational Castilian Spanish. The only significant words I have take away are "tirador", meaning draft, and "trigo", meaning wheat beer. Another rad aspect of this bar is that it's a biker bar (the type with an engine). There is an Isle of Man poster, race memorabilia, and the tap looked as if was a retrofitted Yamaha engine! Make sure to take a look at the photos at the end for that. The bartender even stated that televised races at the pub are comparable to a football game at a sports pub in the states. The next one is "15 days away", can't wait!
Be sure to check out more photos by clicking "Read More"!
View from where I locked my bicycle
The past two mornings I have been determined to watch the sunrise on the beach about 2 miles from our apartment. This morning I was successful and after bicycling to the boardwalk, I was able to run along the waterfront as the sun rose. Being a Monday at 7am, there were only a few people out and I was able to explore some new areas on the northernmost area of the beach. This is the second time I have ran this 6-mile roundtrip stretch. The boardwalk is an integral system, allowing runners, bicyclists, tourists, and maintenance vehicles to travel. The bikeway is part of a green loop that goes around the whole city. There are also two simple workout stations along the way so people can do calisthenic-type workouts. These are often used and are a big reason why I won't need a gym membership while here. Also along the boardwalk are two small concrete skate/BMX parks. The beach area stretching from La Barcelonetta to the tiled sea walls/Forum area truly has a little bit of everything.