Before moving to Barcelona, the closest that Josh and I had ever been to living in a city was when we lived on Chestnut Street in Waltham, just a block off of Moody Street. We used to walk down Moody Street a lot, to restaurants, to bars... and....um, that's it. We drove everywhere else. But it was likely the closest experience to city living that we've had up til now. And that was 14 years ago...
Fast forward to 2010 when we moved to Barcelona. First off, we had no car (and didn't for just about 3 years), we were living in the center of the city and suddenly we were walking EVERYWHERE! Our options, walking and public transportation. And often times when it was just Liam and I, which it was for the first 9 months here, we opted to walk. We walked everywhere. We walked just about everyday. And we probably covered miles just about each day. The only times we stayed home was if it rained.
Barcelona is a totally walkable city. It's not as big as it appears and Liam and I spent a chunk of time those first nine months just exploring every inch of it. The climate is great for walking all year round, except of course in August when just getting the one block to the grocery store is a challenge.
I used walking as a way to entertain Liam. It was also a time where I hadn't quite gotten my bearings as far as where to shop for what products - something that I have since become uber efficient with. And so we had spent a lot of time doing our errands, walking to the beach, walking to the park, etc. I wasn't working as many hours since he was home with me. Once Liam headed off to school in the fall of 2010, I found myself not needing to walk as much.
My walking didn't stop entirely, just slowed down a bit. If I was walking 3 miles a day before, then I was down to maybe 2 miles a day. My social life picked up when Liam left for school and so I would meet up with friends for lunch, some shopping and often would walk home from the center of town. Just being out and about in the city center meant I was walking quite a bit.
But in the last 6 months, my social life has taken a significant hit - I still have friends here but we all have different commitments in our lives these days leaving very few days to get together. I've also increased my work load quite a bit, thereby not leaving the house as much as I used to. And as I mentioned, I've also become more efficient in my errands, not needing to do much more than go to the grocery store and perhaps the fruit/vegetable stand around the corner from me daily. Beyond that, everything else is done when Josh takes the kids to tennis on Saturday morning.
I didn't realize how little I've been walking though these days. Not until this week at least. Spring has finally arrived in Barcelona. I know, I know... I can't complain about the weather here. But winter is still winter and it's brisk and chilly here and not always very sunny. And it does not motivate you to get out and about to walk by yourself much.
But with the arrival of spring the other day, all I wanted to do was to get out in the city and... walk. And I did. A lot. My feet hurt after. It's been a long time since my feet hurt after walking - I thought I was immune to that after all the walking I did here for those first 2 1/2 years. But apparently you can reverse that process. I walked from home to Placa Catalunya and all around. Placa Catalunya is only about 1 1/2 miles from me, but it was an intense walk - and one where I just took in everything around me. That night, I walked to meet up with a friend for dinner - about 3/4 mile from me which I could have reduced by taking the metro but didn't. We continued on to dinner and then I walked home from dinner since it wasn't too late - which added on some more milage for my day. And it felt good. Ok, the fact that it started to rain on my way home wasn't the best, but overall, it felt good to be out and about again.
So while I go to the gym 5 days a week, I've been feeling lately like that just isn't enough. But my thought is that I need to get back to my walking. I need to get my blood flowing again and be out and about in this city. It's a beautiful city and I have forgotten to appreciate my time here while I can - it's become home and often with home, we forget that there were reasons we moved here in the first place.
My new commitment. If I'm not going to be out socializing like I used to be, I also cannot sit behind my desk for several hours a day... I need to inject some exercise in the middle, above and beyond my morning work out. And so my new goal is to start walking more again and exploring the city, there are always nooks and crannies that I haven't seen. Because some day we will be back in the US and back to driving everywhere. I need to get back to walking while I can. It needs to become a habit again. I'm afraid to make a commitment as to how much extra walking I can do and still get my work done and all other daily obligations, but I can definitely see myself adding more. We'll see how it goes!