It’s very difficult to park your car in our neighborhood, the historic Albayzin. We have a garage but getting a car out requires us to perform a 22- point turn. The main roads in the heart of the city are reserved for only buses and taxis. So we’ve opted not to have a car and just rent one when we want to travel on the weekends. Living in the Albayzin requires us to walk around town to a few different places to get the items we need – food, paper towels, and Dunkin’ Coffee. It’s reminiscent of how my grandmother got things done living in Long Island, New York in the 1950’s when she didn’t have a car visiting a carnicero (butcher for meats), panaderia (bakery) and the papeleria (for school supplies). Some of these places are up to two miles away. Getting back to the Albayzin is a steep uphill climb.
After visiting Italy this summer and enjoying pizza, pasta, wine and gelato I wasn’t prepared for such a workout. With the summer heat, it felt like walking uphill in both directions, to and from the Albayzin. I had a couple major meltdowns and accused my husband of secretly signing me up for a season of the TV Show Survivor: Granada Edition and I kept looking for hidden cameras.
As my daughter pointed out right away “There aren’t that many fat people here in Spain”. It’s true and I’m in training. Our daily constitutional involves walking the kids to school, to our Spanish course, two miles to and from the gym, grocery shopping, and taking our kids to their sports practices. I no longer complain about being a taxi driver – there is no taxi. It’s all on foot! My husband laughed when I needed a nap after taking them to practices- they are the ones working out. Im just walking and watching! There are taxis and buses but the truth is, it takes just as long or longer to catch one. I’ve certainly taken my fair share but realize it doesn’t make that much sense if there’s a direct route on foot.
We’ve learned to conserve the things we have, like paper towels. We are creative with our cooking, using the things we have in our refrigerator and cupboard, or we keep meals very simple. We limit the things we buy since we have to carry them home. There is no overbuying at Costco or Target.
Now I realize this is a part of the lifestyle – it’s not something I’m used to coming from Los Angeles. I’m starting to enjoy the walks with the kids. We stop for dinner or a helado (ice cream). We look for different routes and stop in the interesting shops along the way. We find new, creative ways to get things accomplished. I’m working towards getting in better shape and my FitBit is going wild! Now I just need to avoid the churros y chocolate and sangria along the way!