Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Leisure Activities

I just returned from vacation in Spain. If you have never been there...I highly recommend it. Most of the vacation was spent relaxing on the beaches in Salou. The rest of the time I was in Barcelona checking out the tourist attractions. There are a lot of leisure activities in both cities.

Salou is a coastal city with nice beaches and tasty cocktails. The first thing people notice about Salou, is how clean the city is. There's almost no litter on the streets and beaches, which is a stark contrast from the beaches of Barcelona. Salou is split onto two sides a north and south. The north side has clubs, bars, games and a shopping district. The south side is residential, most of the patrons are retirees and home businesses. 

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Salou is Port Aventura. Port Aventura is Spain's version of Disney World. It's a massive amusement park with at least eight roller-coaster rides and other attractions for adults. Aside from the roller-coasters (which am a huge fan of) there were live shows, games, and an Aquapark.

The mascot for Port Aventura was Woody Woodpecker. Everywhere you walk in the park there are statues of Woody. It's interesting that such an obscure character is the mascot for such a big park. Each area of the park had a theme related to a country, such as Mexico, China, Hawaii, Polynesia, Sweden, India, and many more. Workers in the individual areas dress in the attire of their country and food stands serve cuisine from the aforementioned country. Overall the food in the park was tasty but over priced...but the rides were superb.  

The easiest method of travel around Salou are street trains. They look like locomotives from the 1800's but they're much faster. There's three different train lines and the routes are separated by colors red, blue, and green. Each train goes on a different route through the coastal region and they repeat every fifteen minutes. Once you buy a ticket you can stay on that train as long as you desire. If you want to ride a different route you have to purchase another ticket. Aside from Salou they go to cities La Pineda, Terragona, and a few others. If you want to see most of the geography without walking, riding the train is the best way.

The nightlife was a mix of cocktail bars and discotheques that played top 40. I didn't like most of the discotheques but the cocktail bars were perfection. Depending on your drinking preference (getting a buzz, getting drunk, or absolutely wasted) they have different sizes available. The largest being a ten liter cocktail of mostly liquor and a tiny bit of fruit juice. I wasn't interested in intoxication... but wanted to taste everything. There were several places that had whole menu's for six euros. Pina Colada, Mia Tai, Mojito's, Tequila Sunrise, Daiquiri's and broad spectrum of other cocktails were available for the same price. (It was yummy)  

After running around Salou for a week I took my girlfriend to Barcelona. She had never been there and I wanted to visit an old friend. Barcelona or Barca as the locals call it, feels like a college city to me. There are a lot of monuments, statues, museums, and tourist attractions...aside from the beach. Depending on where you go the food can be good and inexpensive. My woman is vegetarian so we shopped mostly at the La Rambla fruit market. The Ramblas is one of the main shopping districts in Barca. Their fruit market is enormous and has a diverse selection of edibles for every type of diet. 

Major tourist attractions in Barca are the Palace, Barceloneta beach, and the Sagrada de Familia, monument by Gaudi. Sagrada de Familia, is a massive cathedral looking building with cylindrical towers and unusual structure. The architecture reminds of buildings out of Batman's, Gotham City crossed with scenes from "A Nightmare Before Christmas." The beaches are man-made and always crowded. Unlike Salou the beaches in Barca were not clean...and that's putting it mildly. Barceloneta had a cool view, cheap food, and more cigarette butts on the beach than sand.

The trip was relaxing and a great way to recharge my battery. Now that I'm back in Amsterdam, its time to catch up on business, painting, and making more music. If you want to see more scenes from the trip check out the pic's below

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