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Barcelona Village

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Barcelona Village - content area

Connecting to sports and societies

Sports are connected with sports centres and typically multi-sport clubs that both run teams and run the sports centres themselves which are also connected with swimming pools. We're not doing very well at accessing sports clubs or getting into sports in general, with the exception of beach volleyball which is played on our closest beach. Other casual or recreation sports clubs seem harder to find and access.

If you do want to go swimming in a swimming pool you have to buy a day membership for the pool. This is actually expensive compared to other countries, particular if you have a family. We have discovered that prices vary dramatically across the city depending on the centre - what might be €10-15 for pools like Barceloneta, could be €7.30 for Can Filipe in Poble Nou (children will be less usually). Using swimming pools you will generally be required to have a swim hat and 'shower slippers' or flip-flops.

If you swim regularly you could by a monthly membership, but we looked at it and felt we wouldn't make that much use of the facilities. Its seems very much like joining a gym in the UK where you only get fair value if you go regularly enough. However, unlike the UK, here many clubs and sports teams seem to be associated with the sports centres. Our problem has been finding out which go where - there appears to be little information about this on the internet or at the sports centres about team sports or anything outside the standard spinning, aerobics and gym-type classes..

If you do get bored of seawater, there is a lido at Can Drago which is very pleasant and there are a number of open-air paddling pools around the city and there are big water parks at Premia de Dalt, and at the major theme park Park Adventura just south of Tarragona.

Nevertheless, we did find out that there is rugby in BCN (and higher standard rugby in Perpingan with rugby league there as well). Poble Nou Enginyrs play at Mar Bella and according to their website play in the Hertfordshire league in England. There is also a beach rugby tournament on at the start of the Autumn.

You will also find cricket. But not the green grass and cricket whites style. It seems popular among the Indian and Pakistani communities here and it's played in a few supermarket car parks on a Sunday (Al Campo in St Andreu) with a hard bouncy ball and makeshift stumps.

Of course football (Barcelona) is a huge part of the sporting life here. We originally just bought the t-shirts, but eventually we took the plunge and went to see Barcelona play at Camp Nou even though football is not my game. Buying tickets was relatively easy online (non-members can buy up to a month ahead) and you pick them up at the ticket desks around the ground (it didn't seem to matter which ticket booth - taquilles - you went to). Matches are often late into the evening and move timewise according to the TV schedules, so you have to allow a little flexibility in your planning. Access, atmosphere and ambience are wonderfully simple - there's no sense of aggressiveness that you get in some English grounds, but relatively little singing either. For our bog-standard league match against Almeria there were 79,000 spectators.

The alternative to organised sports is the beach and there is plenty of swimming on the beach, just being careful of Jellyfish in high summer and storm outflows from the city in the autumn which washes the foul contents of the sewers into the sea in heavy downpours. We play beach volleyball and would play more, but the standard is very good and courts play a winner stays on system. In the middle of summer with crowded beaches there aren't that many courts and it can be difficult to get any quality court time.

Sand fit - using the beach to get fit
If you're not sure about clubs and gyms, one way to get or keep fit is to use the beaches here, and not just for swimming. The soft sand makes for an excellent resistance work out and is easier on the joints than things like road jogging.
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