Monday, February 11, 2013

Rollerblading in Barcelona - Forum Park

Following on from my last post about Rollerblading in Barcelona at Palau Sant Jordi, it's time to visit another great location on the opposite side of town. The stretch of coastline from the Olympic Village all the way down to the (white elephant that is) The Forum Park is a great place for many sports - jogging, cycling, skating on skateboards, rollerskates or rollerblades. 

clear asphalt at Olympic Village - Barcelona Sights Blog

By all accounts, before the Olympic Games in 1992, Barcelona used to have "its back to the sea". The area known now as Poble Nou and the Olympic Village was basically a dumping ground for the many factories housed in the area and drainage into the Mediterranean Sea. The awarding of the games started a massive regeneration of the whole city (awarded with prizes such as the Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects) and one of those areas to benefit was the "Oylmpic Village" and beyond. The beach was created from sand at the bottom of the sea, and Icaria, Mar Nova Bella, etc. were born.
Barcelona Sights - youngsters playing and skating
The area is popular with families and teenagers as well as foreigners soaking up the great temperatures and sea breeze - there's a pretty cool half pipe kind of structure and plenty of low benches and the like for the tricksters and there's a baby one a little further back (which I didn't photograph). Again, you can park for free right in front of the beach - we had no trouble finding a spot to park, or the metro to Forum is yellow line.
kids skating on half pipe. Barcelona Sights Blog
 Fast forward about 12 years, and the massive investment in the (failed) Forum of cultures in 2004 literally "paved" the way for even more space down by the waterfront, leaving literally acres of space - some on a gradient but mostly flat.
barcelonasights - boy skating
Remnants of the Forum buildings were scooped up and dressed to be something they're not - a bit like the "urban playgound" I've talked about here before and you can see on this panoramic photo here. Go on, have a look, I even got the German shepherd dog twice! 
panoramic photo taken at Forum Barcelona
 Whilst we were there over last weekend, there was a group of kids on an organised "run" all with their yellow vests and various people helping them along. This is just along the way from where the official Barcelona Skating Association meets up each week (bit late for me!), so you know you're in the right place!
group of children skating together - barcelona sights blog

There really is a load of space to just keep going and going, and I also spotted a kiddy mini park with slaloms and the like on the top of the Decathlon store (click for a bigger picture).
children's skate piste - barcelonasights blog

 My own conclusion is that it's a little bit more difficult than Palau Sant Jordi area. That's basically just going around in circles, and you're more often than not shielded from any wind. With this being such a long horizontal stretch, there are parts which are more exposed than others, and there are also a few inclines which, while not particularly steep, are quite long, so my 5 year old girl, for example, struggled a bit and then similarly on the way back down there are many places to really gain momentum and unless you're really comfortable with braking and changing directions quickly, can get a bit hairy.

Coming to Barcelona soon? Check out these apartments for groups as a great way to save some cash instead of paying for a hotel!


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