One often overlooked social media portal is meetup.com. This is a great site to check out if you're traveling anywhere around the globe and would like to check out running opportunities. On this occasion, the meetup link took me to the Barcelona Casual Road Runners and their four times a week run outings.
Last night was an "8k in about an hour" run so I decided to jump on the subway and head over to the start point...three U of FL students accompanied me, so it was a group run within a group run!
The Barcelona folks are a class act...friendly and all inclusive, with plenty of English speaking runners in the group. We participated in the "Monday is Montjuic" run. Here's a quick Wikipedia hit to summarize the area:
Barcelona's Montjuïc is a broad shallow hill with a relatively flat top overlooking the harbour, to the southwest of the city centre. The eastern side of the hill is almost a sheer cliff, giving it a commanding view over the city's harbour immediately below. The top of the hill (a height of 184,8 m) was the site of several fortifications, the latest of which (the Castell de Montjuïc) remains today. The fortress largely dates from the 17th century, with 18th century additions. In 1842, the garrison (loyal to the Madrid government) shelled parts of the city. It served as a prison, often holding political prisoners, until the time of General Franco. The castle was also the site of numerous executions. In 1897, an incident popularly known as Els processos de Montjuïc prompted the execution of anarchist supporters, which then led to a severe repression of the workers' struggle for their rights. On different occasions during the Spanish Civil War, both Nationalists and Republicans were executed there, each at the time when the site was held by their opponents. The Catalan nationalist leader Lluís Companys i Jover was also executed there in 1940, having been extradited to the Franco government by the Nazis.
You can imagine the chase to the top...switchbacks by the dozens, dirt, rocks, pavement, then more dirt and rocks. The run around the castle, looking off onto the harbor to the left, was gold.
Nothing better than the sweet embrace of runners in another country. High kudos go out to our U of FL students who dug deep and kept the pace (note in photo on right in blue, pink and neon green tank tops). Life is good when you're helping others experience the glory of running - a true natural high.