Best Places to Play Padel in Barcelona

When you’re in a park in Barcelona, you will quickly notice just how many people are staying active, either with running or working out.

The city is obsessed with it.

Over the years, the local councils and governing bodies have put a lot of money into ensuring that people can quench their thirst for exercise and maximise their potential. One of the other things that you will also realise in most parks, is that there are enclosed courts with people playing a sport called Padel.

This sport is one of the most famous in Spain and parts of Latin America. It offers a great alternative to tennis and squash in Barcelona. However, if you are from a country where Padel isn’t well-played, then you may have little to no knowledge on how to play it. Therefore, we thought best to shed light on the topic, so that you can…

Enjoy a game of Padel in Barcelona on your next visit to the city:

History of padel

The sport began in Acapulco, Mexico, by Enrique Corcuera in 1969. The idea was to make a new game that people could play instead of tennis. However, he wanted the sport to be played in an enclosed space that would enable two players to compete on the ‘same side’ of the court as they tried to out maneuver the opposition into committing an error. The sport would soon cross the atlantic, to parts of Southern Portugal and Spain, becoming very popular in the process. Corcuera mapped out a 10 by 20 metre court in his home, building enclosing walls along each side of this court. Shortly after the rules were finalised, padel was brought to Spain by Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe after spending a holiday at Corcuera’s house. Prince Alfonso made the game able to thrive at his Marbella Club hotel, spreading from here- Spain was hooked.

How to play

The first and founding set of rules were proposed by Viviana Dellavedova Corcuera, Enrique’s partner! The rules are basically the same as in tennis except serves are underarm and the ball can bounce off the walls that surround the court. Similar to tennis, volleys are encouraged to make a more exciting and competitive match! Point scoring is the same as tennis, meaning that the game comes very naturally to anyone with some familiarity with tennis! 

Where to play Padel in Barcelona: 

Fairplay Padel Club

The first of places to play padel in Barcelona, is Fairplay Padel Club of Montjuic, which offers eight courts where you can take classes, participate in leagues, events and tournaments. Whatever level you want to get to/experience, you can’t go wrong here.

Location: Carrer del Foc, 2, 08038 Barcelona

Club Natació Atlétic-Barceloneta

How does this sound, playing a game of padel right on the beach, not bad right? Well, let us introduce you to Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta! Offering four wonderful courts, it makes for the most ideal location to have a friendly game of padel whilst enjoying the ocean breeze. With flexible prices, you can be assured to find your match here!

Location: Plaça del Mar, 08003 Barcelona

Club Tennis De La Salut

Despite being known as a tennis club in Barcelona, Club Tennis De La Salut also offers 9 padel courts. You can even bring your kids here to have a go at a new sport in a friendly environment. As well as padel, this club offers fitness classes for members and non-members alike, giving you a chance to warm-up well before hitting the court!

Location: Carrer de la Mare de Déu de la Salut, 75, 08024 Barcelona

Meetup

Meetup is an app that gets people who share similar interests together. It is used for all things from art classes to book clubs, this app can also be used to connect people who want to play tennis or padel. Therefore, be sure to keep an eye out for a padel Meetup group to meet new people and improve your game on your next visit to Barcelona!


Offbeat attractions in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is known for its amazing beaches, but the lesser-known historic sites have been gaining popularity lately, for good reason too.

We have a few of the best picks on the island here for you:

South Bolgoda Lake

The Bolgoda Lake offers plenty of opportunities to have a fun-filled day, as water sports are quite the hit here. Being the biggest natural freshwater lake on the island, this lake spreads out across the districts of both Colombo and Kalutara with a mighty 350 square km to its name.

Canoeing and kayaking are favourite things to do for the people who visit the place, and you should try it too, as it can be a very calming experience to sit out on the lake with nothing but deep waters around you, as you make your way through the gentle waves.

Nachchimale

In a typical Kalutara travel guide, the next place on the list would be Nachchimale, the Buddhist hermitage that is also a meditation centre. Only people interested in actual meditation should visit the place though. If you are a noisy bunch travelling for joy, its best to forego this visit as the monks here are serious about the worship and meditation they do and can be quite offended if you cause disturbances in any way.

Fa Hien Cave

Yatagampitiya, the village in which Pahiyangala resides, is about 5km away from the town of Bulathsinhala in Kalutara. One of the more prominent places to visit in Kalutara District, the cave is frequented by school children for class trips and such. The place is also a popular picnic site; therefore, if you like the quiet and peace, visiting the cave on weekends and Poya days aren’t advised. The cave itself is about 400ft above sea level, the inner ceilings go up to 175ft height and the cave stretches out to a length of 200ft.

According to blogs, this is one of the oldest known places in Sri Lanka, and if the measurements are right, about 3,000 people can stay inside the cave at a time without it getting too uncomfortable. Divided into four parts, the cave has restricted lanes too, which are now blocked and not accessed by the usual visitor due to the dangers that lie within it.

The Archaeological Departments in Sri Lanka dug a pit and found human skulls that date back to about 37,000 years, based on the carbon dating available in the United States of America. A few weapons from the same era were found in the pit too, and it is believed that these weapons were made out of animal bones and heavy stones.

They were used to kill deer, monkey, porcupine and more animals that were easier to hunt down with minimal weapons. With the evidence collected from the pit, archaeologists also say that, apart from the meat, the people of that time also ate snails and wild fruits. The residents of the cave were known as Pahiyangala Manawakaya or Pahiyangala Man and are said to have prominent bone structures, like broad jaws, huge teeth, a short vertebral make-up and an immense palette.

Berwuala Light House

Located on the Barberyn Island this lighthouse is also known as the Barberyn Lighthouse. Built back in 1889, this structure has seen many a natural disaster, like the Tsunami in 2004 and stood tall through it all. You can reach the lighthouse by getting a fisherman with a ferry to take you there for a price.

It usually will not cost you more than Rs.3000 for a round trip, therefore, beware of being scammed with higher fares. The lighthouse itself is not accessible now, but you can walk around the tiny island freely and explore the place.

The island is not crowded during the off-season, and you are also allowed to take a dip in the sea and cool off if you want to. Camping on the island hasn’t been allowed in recent times, but if you are really interested, you can always ask around and see if it is possible to get a permit to camp overnight.


Christmas and New Year in Barcelona

Christmas is celebrated in its own unique way all across the world, with countless different traditions and cultures celebrating the festive season in its own special way.

Christmas and new year are one of the best times of year to visit Barcelona. From fireworks to Christmas markets, there is always something to get up to in Barcelona.

The Catalan capital knows how to get into the festive spirit, as there is a wealth of things to do this Christmas and New Year in Barcelona.

The Christmas Agenda

This year more than ever, we will have to say goodbye from our own homes, instead of at house parties or at the club until the early hours. But not to fear! There are still things on to get up to, and to get into the festive spirit.

La Fira de Santa Llucia Christmas Markets

The Market of Saint Lucia is Barcelona’s oldest Christmas market and dates back to the 18th century, taking place in the plaza in the front of Barcelona Cathedral. 2020 is the 234th anniversary of the Fira de Santa Llucia, and it will be open from the 27th of November until the 23rd of December. Here you will find stalls of handmade gifts, figures for nativity scenes, Christmas decorations, crafts, and much more!

The Three Kings Parade

The traditional Three Kings Parade, which takes place on the 5th of January, is usually a large tour of the city where crowds will come out to watch the Kings and their entourage pass through the streets.

The tradition of the Three Kings in Spain is when the three wise men, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar, accompanied by their entourage of fantastic creatures and royal mailmen, come to collect the letters from the children of their Christmas gift wishes. Children will be able to give their letters to the royal pages and experience the magic of the Three Kings at the Parque del Fòrum where there will be 10,000m2 construction that recreates the traditional floats and the Three Kings. There will also be the costumes, tools, a space to send and receive gifts, as well as a post office and box to send the letters to the Kings of the East.

Firework display from home

This year, the Barcelona council are putting on a firework display that will be able to be seen from all over the city. It will last for 15 minutes, so that the New Year can be brought in with a bang, and all from the safety of your own home so that there is no risk of crowds forming.

The fireworks will be initiated by 12 chimes, to mark the end of December 31st, and 12 bright palm trees will be launched in each of the ten districts of Barcelona: Ciutat Vella, L’Eixample, Sants-Montjuïc, Les Corts, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, Horta-Guinardó, Nou Barris, Sant Andreu and Sant Martí.

Catalan Festivities

Caga Tió

If you’ve never seen this festive Catalan character around Christmastime before, we’ll forgive you for thinking we’re joking when we explain this…

The star of every household in Catalonia is the ‘Caga Tió’ meaning ‘Poo Log’, and it is a small, wooden log painted with a big smiley face, dressed in the traditional red Catalan hat.

It is brought out on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th, and the children ‘look after’ it until Christmas Eve, by wrapping it in blankets and feeding it Torró every evening. The idea is that by caring for him and making him full, he will then be able to ‘poo out’ their presents on Christmas Eve! No really…

After eating their main meal on Christmas Eve, the children start to hit Caga Tió with sticks while singing a special song to encourage it to give them their presents. Once the song has finished, they remove the blanket to find all of their Christmas presents underneath!

Caganer of the Nativity Scene

It is common in every household in Catalonia to have the nativity scene as a decoration up in the house, but there’s a peculiar addition in Catalonia to the scene that you will surely never have seen before…

The Caganer is an essential part of the Catalan pessebre (Nativity Scene), a peasant dressed in the typical Catalan red cap and is found hidden somewhere in the scene with his pants down, pooping in the stable!

This tradition is believed to have begun in the late 17th to early 18th century, and the Caganer’s poop was said to fertilize the earth and bring good luck for the new year. Nowadays it is more of a satirical joke for Catalans to include the Caganer in the Christmas scene, and the figurine is sold on the Christmas markets with the faces of politicians and celebrities on for fun.

New Year’s Eve Traditions

No matter where you may find yourself in Spain, the tradition on New Year’s Eve is to eat a grape with for each of the first 12 strikes of the clock at midnight on the 31st of December to welcome in the New Year.

It is said to lead to a year of good luck and prosperity, and in olden times was said to ward away witches and general evil, although the ‘magic’ of the grapes is treated more as an old wives’ tale, whereas nowadays its simply viewed as a cultural traditional to welcome in the new year with friends and family.


Enjoy a Relaxing Beer Spa Experience in the Czech Republic

If you happen to be travelling to the Czech Republic, you have to try the beer spa experience

Did you say beer and Spa in the same sentence you ask? Surely you mean enjoying a relaxing beer whilst at a spa? 

After all, this is the Czech Republic we’re talking about here. 

In the Czech Republic, it’s possible to enjoy a relaxing bath in a tub full of beer

I kid you not; this is not an urban myth, if you visit the Czech Republic you can also enjoy this rather oddly relaxing experience of bathing in a whole tub of beer. 

After all the Czechs have plenty of beer to go around with a whopping 400 breweries on offer across the country. 

I’ve often seen beer cheaper than popular soft drinks in supermarkets, making it a refreshing beverage of choice to enjoy amongst the locals.

Fun Fact

The Czech Republic holds the title of being the most prominent beer-drinking nation in the world drinking a massive 191.8 litres per capita per year in 2018. That’s a whopping 2,033 million litres total.

After all, the Czech Republic is the birthplace of many styles of beer such as Budweiser and Pilsner and is home to countless breweries throughout the country. 

One thing is for sure, the Czechs know how to craft an incredible beer and the Czech Republic, in my opinion, serves the best beer in Europe for the price.

Being a big fan of beer, I’ve been on many beer trips to the Czech Republic. I love to enjoy the incredible craft of Czech Beer and the beer tourism scene. 

So, when it comes to enjoying a beer spa, simply put, where do I sign up? 

If any nation on the planet were serious about bathing in beer, it would be the Czechs for sure.

Beer Spa Experience

The whole process of a beer spa is rather bizarre from start to finish. 

You can book yourself a Beer Spa Experience pretty much across all of the Czech Republic; it’s a popular experience amongst locals and visitors to the country. 

However, the price will differ depending on where you go. I’ve seen prices in Prague for around the €120 for two people sharing and around €30 for one person where I was, in the Liberec region. 

For my beer spa experience, I went to the region of Liberec, surrounded by the Jizera Mountains, commonly called and nicknamed the Manchester of Bohemia. 

Here you can find the town of Harrachov which has a local brewery offering a beer spa experience. 

Sadly the beer itself in the tub isn’t drinkable, but I’m not sure you would want to drink a tub full of beer that you’ve been bathing in any way. 

It’s more the mash and ingredients that you would find in a beer. 

So yes, you can make beer with it, but it’s not as if you’re bathing in sticky carbonated liquid. 

It’s all the healthy ingredients that make beer to form some soothing bath mixture that’s good for your health. 

The beer bath procedure is prepared in a rehabilitative tub filled with natural, untreated mountain water (36°C) mixed with 5 litres of light and 5 litres of dark unfiltered non-pasteurised yeast beer, combined with crushed hops.

Of course, every beer spa experience wouldn’t be complete without an actual glass of refreshing beer to complete the ambience. 

Most packages will include a glass or two of beer and some even provide a beer tap next to your tub, so you can drink away to your heart’s content. 

Conclusion

I found the whole experience rather relaxing and enjoyed the entire concept a lot. 

It was like chilling in a hot tub full of beer, and I could feel the positive benefits of the beer ingredients working its magic on my skin, I can see the effect it can have on your health. 

However, I did smell of beer for the rest of the remaining day and did get a few funny looks. 

It’s something unique to try and enjoy in the Czech Republic and would highly recommend it if you have an opportunity.

Give it a go!

I’m looking forward to hopefully visiting the Czech Republic next year again and enjoy a refreshing Czech beer in a relaxing beer spa on my next trip.

Coronavirus – Are Travel Restrictions Ridiculous or Useful During Covid?

Why does the tourism industry and the politicians struggle with allowing consumers to travel during Covid times?

I’ve seen many strange regulations over the past few months.

Quite a few restrictions made me frustrated, as I feel it can be possible to let people travel safely, as long as general infection numbers remain low.

There are solutions to keep the risk low.

For example, it’s relatively easy to sell paperless tickets online for sights and activities, which limits the total number of visitors each day. Then for enforcing social distancing rules, provide limited entry to specific times, by providing extra time slots.

And if a Zoo in Cologne is capable of achieving this, others should be able to do this too. 😉

So there shouldn’t be pictures emerging online with visitors in super long queues, as you would only be allowed to turn up, when it’s your time to socially distance and to enjoy the attraction.

On the other side I think it’s essential to be strict on enforcing restrictions, as long as they make sense. If the local health system is struggling and new infections numbers are high, action should take place.

So as long the infection numbers remain high, it’s tough to recommend consumers to travel.

But what if the infection rate remains low and high-risk groups have been vaccinated?

Then we should find ways to make it possible, as we can’t let the tourism industry suffer for much longer, as local economies and job security rely on it.

Not to forget the fact that consumers might have missed out on a much needed holiday in 2020 and can’t wait to travel again, which is seen in advanced booking number figures and increased website traffic.

It seems that it’s all about testing and several times. 

Also, airlines and airports can work together with the government and health boards to provide quick test results to avoid the risk of spreading the virus.

Those tests might not provide the best reliable results, but they add to a bigger and safer situation. One piece more of reassurance.

It makes no sense on arrival to lock down tourists for 14 days in a hotel room. I doubt tourists would be eager to do this. It doesn’t sound like a dream holiday situation and I wouldn’t do it.

Instead, why not allow guests access to the whole resort or specific parts until the PCR tests come back negative.

Hotel arrivals could take place on specific days, to allow hotel staff to take part in large deep cleaning operations and to avoid past guests mixing with new arrivals.

Hotels could choose the arrival day they prefer. Limited packages could be sold to control manageable visitor numbers and they could include a minimum stay of several nights.

Believe it or not, many tourists spend their holiday time at the pool or relaxing on the beach.

Being upfront about the additional steps needed to make a trip happen, I feel many would still be interested in travelling abroad.

There could be 3-4 tests to be made by guests:

– one PCR test before arrival, usually 48 hours before departure

– one rapid test at the airport

– one PCR test on arrival 

– and one PCR test after 4-5 days before being allowed to leave the resort

If all tests are negative, the risk becomes low and avoids the chances of Covid-19 spreading further.

There is still a small chance that it can spread, but we should not forget that life itself is not completely 100% risk-free.

Washing hands, wearing a face mask, keeping socially distanced, all still help to reduce the spread of covid, we shouldn’t forget that.

With such a situation, it would be possible to allow visitors outside of the hotel and explore a destination, after a few days. Also, here again, you can define specific restrictions, which should be in place already anyway.

Destinations like the Seychelles, Barbados and Sri Lanka are good examples of how it could be done.

It might be easier for islands to manage arrivals, but I don’t see why it’s not also possible for other destinations.

Very important is that everyone sticks to the rules.

The visitors and the businesses need to play along!

The moment someone breaks the rules and refuses to follow guidance, they should be fined as they put the whole operation at risk.

Make customers sign waivers, so they’re aware of the risk. If they break the rules, send them home, allow no refund, let them pay for all extra costs as well as a fine.

If a hotel, airline or tour operator doesn’t play along, then close down the operation and add a fine.

Nobody is forcing anyone to open for business or travel. And if destinations and their politicians make it possible to travel again, everyone should appreciate this and play along to provide a safe environment for everyone.

Vaccines are currently being administered as we speak in many countries. And we will still have to deal with Sars-CoV-2 in the future, especially when we talk about international travel.

Communication is key!

When we ran the restart tourism recovery campaign with the UNWTO and Lanzarote in Spain, we got a lot of positive and interested feedback from travelers.

There was a high demand for seeking information. (Get in touch with us, if you are interested to get the case study.)

Travellers wanted to find out about the different restrictions, not really in detail, but more if it’s safe to travel.

Don’t show a post-Covid situation, as it’s not in operation yet.

Show that it’s safe and fun to travel, even with additional rules and restrictions. 

We should learn from the past and see what worked and adapt. Let’s remain sensible and respectful and most importantly keep safe.

Let’s also stay realistic and don’t create ridiculous rules, but be responsible for everyone.