The Diaries: Barcelona

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Food, glorious food

In the past, as a young tourist in Barcelona, I was taken in by overpriced restaurants and deals that catered to my naivety. Like the classic claim of ‘Best Paella in Spain’ which was, more accurately, best within a 10 minute walk. They used black food colouring rather than real squid ink.

As a result, I haven’t had the opportunity to ever try good paella. And I didn’t think I ever would. Thankfully, this time round, Paul, the Wildfitness head coach on the retreat, introduced me to some unique restaurants in Barcelona. Each of them had their own individual flare and concept, be it a tasting menu, a selection of vegan cheeses to try or a fresh fish counter and grill. At El Robador we tried a proper Catalunyan dish; the simple combination of Pa amb Tomàquet aka tomato on bread. Yes, on the Urban Retreats we indulge in grains, even fried white bait, croquettes and chocolate! Wildfitness believe that paying attention to what you eat over a longer period of time is beneficial but we realise that birthdays require cake and Barcelona requires culinary indulgence!

The Spanish have created many beautiful dishes but a favourite of mine has to be croquettes. The mushrooms croquettes just melt in the mouth and nothing tastes better than a lovely meal after a day of vigorous movement. To be honest, we laughed so much that my core muscles hurt anyway, so the feeling that indulging in a single croquette would be detrimental to my diet seemed absurd.

Not only do these Urban Retreats give you the opportunity to explore wonderful cities but they make you feel like you belong there. You know the streets and would feel confident revisiting the city with friends or family to show off some of best spots in town!

The Restaurants

  • Llamber (Tasting menu)

  • Picnic (Brunch)

  • El Robador (Diner)

  • Blue project (Vegan)

  • Beach Lunch provided by local chef Keiira Cabera

  • La Paradeta (Fish stall and grill)

Move!

I felt that my training had become boring and mundane. I was exercising a lot but not moving well and was not seeing it make any difference. This experience was enlightening; it showed that fun, nutritious movement was not at odds with living in a city - it was totally do-able!

As I woke on the Monday morning after the retreat, I didn’t feel the holiday blues. I wasn’t daunted by the idea of getting up. In fact, I was awake ahead of my alarm, full of endorphins and practically glowing from a well-needed supplement of vitamin D. I thought to myself, why don’t I find a place in London to move that doesn’t make me distressed by the idea of sweating or conscious of myself while lifting weights? While on the retreat I realised that this was exactly how the gym made me feel. The retreat had made me feel better about my body as a result of varied activities spanning the city. There wasn’t a chance of catching myself in a mirror looking disheveled and out of place amongst tight t-shirts and groans of fellow gymers on their 3rd set of 20 reps. Being in a group of fellow movers helped to dissipate any feeling of self-consciousness but it also made it that much more fun. Giggling is a great movement practice!

The weekend was intense but not purely physically. I had absorbed so much information from the people I was surrounded by, each of whom was able to share their experiences and suggest ideas for what could make novel movement fun in urban environments. The talent was humbling and the creativity inspiring.

I have always been limited by my own rigidity. As a child, I unsuccessfully pursued various forms of dance; tap, ballet, jazz. I enjoyed it but I never quite excelled. Finally, after a few of movement sessions in stunning locations in Barcelona, some handstand training with local coach Carl and an introduction to parkour with Farid, I was able to access the fluidity of movement that I so desperately lacked as a child.

The Result

The Urban Retreats let local coaches at the height of their ability share their favourite activities with us, from bouldering to handstands, parkour to paddle boarding. Whatever the discipline, Wildfitness brings passionate experts to teach you how they move and in turn give you a new skill or ignite inspiration to try something new.