Spanish siestas and toilets

Barcelona, Spain
Day 15

It was a sad morning as Charlotte left to return to D.C. After seeing her off, it felt like a good day to relax and recharge the batteries before flying to Croatia tomorrow morning.

My first stop was Parc de la Ciutadella, a fortress commissioned by Felipe V after taking Barcelona at the end of the War of Spanish Succession in 1714. Rebuilt as a park in 1869 for an upcoming Universal Exhibition, it is today a traditional European green space with plenty of ponds, grassy knolls and fountains (including one built by, you guessed it, Gaudi). In other words, the perfect spot for an afternoon siesta.

With sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s, the man-made beaches of Port Olimpic were next calling my name. They were just right for catching up on some reading and relaxing — although the Mediterranean in April was still too cold for a dip.

Taking in Barcelona slowly like this today, and seeing all of the city’s green space, got me thinking about energy conservation and the environmental movement in Spain. While Europe is notorious for its small cars and hotel room lights that require a key card to turn on, Barcelona really seems to be taking it to the next level. First, there´s a bike-sharing service widely available throughout the city — that’s free.

And, even my hostel has gotten in on the action with toilets that have two flush buttons (you figure it out).

The U.S. could certainly learn a thing or two (or three) from here.

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