November 22, 2006

Things that go Brraaaapp in the night, on Montjuic

Sunday is a beautiful day to go for a walk. In Spain, most of the shops and commercial centres are closed for business, so there really isn't anything to do but

A) Sit at the beach and drink CAVA
B) Take a hike.

Me? I like taking hikes. I like flying Kites, too. And jumping in a lake? You bet! Ok, just kidding on that last one. I have a particular aversion to stagnant bodies of water, like landbound lakes, and this comes from growing up in the middle of the biggest body of water in the world, the mighty Pacific Ocean. Part of me will always think that lakes are dirty, and you won't find me fishing in one. Still, I haven't spent time in any of the Great Lakes in North America, and I know you can surf there (saw it in
Step Into Liquid.) Regardless, I'm a long way from my own beloved waves, so on Sunday I went walking. It wasn't really my idea, but my old friend, Nacho (henceforth known as Big Nach) called me up and told me to meet him in Plaza Espanya, which is at the base of Montjuic and fairly close to my new apartment.

Montjuic is a beautiful hill which is now home to the Palau Nacional, the National Art Museum of Catalunya , and also some of the Olympic Stadiums. It's a beautiful area, a nice place to ramble through, and once I met the world's ugliest dog out here. Montjuic also hosted four Spanish Grand Prix races in the early seventies, and there was a famous 24 hour endurance race that used to take place on the very streets going up and around the hill, sort of like a mini Isle of Man TT. I strolled on down around 5PM, just in time to catch one of the more spectacular sunsets in my life. Nacho told me to make my way to Palau St. Jordi, which was near the top, so I had some more walking ahead of me - just what my swollen knee wanted, haha.

The plus side was that I had something to get to. . . .

From Plaza Espanya, which is really just a big roundabout with a tall monument in its center, head South West towards the National Museum.

When you get to the Museum, turn around and look back at the sleepy city below you. I was lucky. The sun was still shining and a golden brown light poured over the city's buildings.

I was getting close, just as the daylight was saying goodnight. This is one of my favorite structures in Barcelona, Santiago Calatrava's giant radio tower.

Just in time for one of the alltime great Sunsets I've experienced. All the small lights in the city were sparkling in the haze of dusk. Twinkling, like stars. This picture doesn't do it justice, but I was struck thinking about how much has happened in the last year, and here I stood, watching over my new city. It was a special moment.

THe night wore on, and I fiddled with my camera, playing with the night mode settings.

The "artsy" shot.

And the reason I was here - the Barcelona Supercross! Nacho had invited me out to be a part of the night, and we had fantastic passes to make the night quite memorable. I've raced Arenacrosses before (similar to Supercross, but in smaller venues), and there is nothing quite like lining up with a bunch of loud dirtbikes and flying off once the gate drops. It's a sound that's burnt into my head, and I absolutely love it. The racing throughout the night was fantastic, and all of us were treated to a show as David Vuillemin ran away from Nick Wey. There were a few Americans competing that night, including Mike Brown on a Kawasaki, and during the intermission there was a fun FreeStyle jump contest. Americans Wiley Fulmer and Beau Bamburg really impressed me, but ultimately the night belonged to a Spaniard.

It doesn't matter to me much - if it has two wheels, a motor, and some guys competing - I want to be there!

Big ups to Nacho, and Movistar, for the hospitality and the chance to check out something fun.


yeah. barcelona. absolutely stunning town !

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