Taylor was jogging toward W hotel, past Barceloneta Beach, thinking “Wow, that’s my daily run, that’s how I work out here, by the Mediterranean Sea.” Making her way through the crowds of tourists and trying to enjoy the sunset, Taylor was unconsciously comparing her Barceloneta run to her New York runs.
Taylor Penn, 20, is from Cleveland, Ohio, she studies at The New School in New York. She decided to study abroad to “change things up a little bit.” “Being somewhere warm, next to a sea” was her top criteria when choosing a place to go for four months.
The most popular beach in Barcelona, Barceloneta Beach, is located next door to the city center, but most importantly can be easily accessed from Taylor’s apartment. She lives five minutes away from the beach with her friend. They get to sunbathe for as long as they want, drink margaritas at the bar facing the water, arrange photoshoots underneath palm trees, but what Taylor values the most is the opportunity of jogging on the beach.
“I love running by the water, and I do it on a pier in NYC too, by the Hudson River. But that’s not the same. The atmosphere is different. In Barcelona, I run and see people sitting on the sand. In New York, people can only sit on cement... Or on grass, if it hasn’t been raining the night before.”
In fact, as recently as thirty years ago, no one would have imagined sitting on Barceloneta Beach, because there wasn’t one there. Until the 1992 Olympic Games, it was considered to be a problematic area. The Olympiad brought a transformation that changed the face of the Barceloneta. An artificial beach was created using sand imported from abroad.
There is no surprise Taylor is annoyed by the tourists, who come to enjoy a renewed beach as there is an increase of over 25 percent of Barcelona visitors in the last four years, according to Independent. Barcelona is the twentieth most visited city in the world, and it keeps breaking its record number of visitors each year, going from 27 million tourists in 2013 to more than 34 million in 2017.
Being annoyed by the tourists and being able to run on the Barceloneta every day, noticing small changes at the bars around the beach and the length of the waves makes Taylor a local for those four months of “changing things up.”
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