by Carter Harrington
Several weeks ago, another student from ALBA and I decided it would be fun to rent a Vespa together. While the 200€ deposit was a bit much, the price of 30€ per day, split between two people was stellar–all you have to do is get the Vespa back in one piece, which should be a no-brainer, right?
We rented the 125cc Vespa in Barceloneta from Mondo, a rental chain that rents anything from bicycles to street legal go-carts, and it was without a doubt, the best forty-eight hours I’ve spent in Barcelona (we ended up adding another twenty-four hours to our initial purchase because of how great the first twenty-four were)!
Navigating the city while on foot is actually not that bad. The metro passes are relatively cheap and they run throughout the entire city, and are complemented by a reliable bus system. Furthermore, the taxis in Barcelona are relatively inexpensive, but after renting a Vespa for forty-eight hours, and seeing nearly every corner of Barcelona, I never want to set foot in an overcrowded metro or foul-smelling taxi again!
The first step on our agenda was to fill up the gas tank in the business district, and 6€ later we were off speeding down a long stretch of the highway, as skyscrapers disappeared quickly behind us. Upon exiting the highway, we found ourselves right on the edge of the port, back in Barceloneta. Our first destination was the Gothic Quarter, as we figured that the relatively quiet streets of that section of town would be a good place to get acclimated to the Vespa.
While the Gothic Quarter was a great place to get used to the Vespa, we were constantly getting lost, but who could really be upset about being wandering aimlessly in the tight streets of this incredibly historic area ornamented with the flags of Barcelona, Catalonia, and Spain?
After forty-five minutes in the Gothic Quarter, we zipped through the Eixample to Parc Guëll, a park designed by Gaudi in the upper, hillier part of the city, where we parked the Vespa, crushed several flights of stairs, took a couple of trails, and found ourselves in one of the many beautiful lookout points in Barcelona. There we broke out some tasty bread and cheese for a much-needed snack. We looked out toward Montjuic, at a hill just southwest of the old town and I spotted what looked like a massive parliament-like building on the side of Montjuic and it was then that I decided that we should take the Vespa in that direction. We broke out the map, made a rough assumption of what building we were looking at, and we were back on the Vespa.
The rest of our day was spent in Montjuic, exploring the castle, the stadium built for the Olympics of 1936, and several other parts of the city. It was an incredible day and one I will always remember for the spontaneity and freedom that the Vespa provided us as we explored so many amazing areas throughout this captivating city.