Barcelona’s Motivational Chariot of Fire

Quadriga_de_l'Aurora FI

Maintaining a fitness regimen while traveling is difficult at best, and frequently impossible. It takes planning and strong motivation to stay on track when traveling long term, and it seems there’s always a good excuse to skip the exercise that day.

This is where Terri, my hotel guru comes in.

Cascada Barcelona

This is the Cascada (waterfall) which is one of the many sights in the Parc de la Ciutadella, in Barcelona, Spain. Josep Fontsère, assisted by a student, Antoni Gaudi, designed the fountain in 1888 for the Universal Exhibition.


And thanks to Terri’s research and planning, the park was directly across the street from our hotel.

One of my strategies is to reserve a hotel close to a park. It’s not always possible, but when Terri can make it happen, she does.

In addition to being a pleasant place to exercise, relax, and picnic, this park was a dandy place to people-watch.


And every morning as I jogged by this glittering sculpture, the Quadriga de l’Aurora, I would hum the theme music from Chariots of Fire.

Horses + Chariot

At that point, nothing could’ve been more motivational.

Happy Trails,

Photo Credits:
1. By Enfo via Wikimedia Commons
2. By Freepenguin via Wikimedia Commons
4. By wsrmatre via Wikimedia Commons


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

17 thoughts

  1. We so understand the whole issue of staying fit while travelling long term. There’s no routine! Jogging’s not our thing but we walk everywhere we can, a lot, and *always* use the stairs rather than the elevator. Very conscious of the need to not be lazy – “use it or lose it” is what we live by. Always carry our own luggage too, except when it’s whisked away from us so quickly by some over enthusiastic door man that we just about have to run to keep up 🙂
    Sorry we missed this glorious park in Barcelona. Love the Cascada.

    1. Hey Alison. I’ve been a runner for over 30 years, and after all this time, jogging has gotten into my psyche. So when I can’t jog for long periods of time, I don’t feel quite right. And one of the things I’ve finally gotten into my brain is that I can’t jog all the time, and there will just be days when it doesn’t happen. This is particularly true when traveling long term. My approach is that when I can exercise, I make sure that I do. And if I can’t, I try not to worry about it, and like you, find other outlets (long walks, stairs, etc) ~James

      1. That’s about the nub of it isn’t it – exercise when you can, and and don’t worry about it when you can’t.
        We’re the same (only it’s not jogging, it’s other forms of exercise) – doesn’t feel right when we’re not getting it, and feels so good when we do.

    1. Thanks for the comment Gwen, and for dropping by the blog. I enjoyed your link as well. Have your read “The City in History” by Louis Mumford? It’s an older book (pub 1961) and is difficult to find, but is worth a read. As the title says, Mumford looks at the development of not only cities, but the concept of “city” throughout man’s history. It’s a fascinating read. ~James

    1. Yeah baby! T minus 15 days and counting. For some strange reason, we’ve never been to Girona. We’ve been to Barcelona twice and I’m not sure why we didn’t drop in for a visit. We’ve seen a couple of posts from followers and it looks and sounds very nice. However, plan a couple of visits to Barcelona if possible. You won’t be disappointed. ~James

  2. Beautiful park! I’m a runner too and have often found it very hard to find a good place to run especially alone as a woman while traveling. I’ll never forget when I lived in Paris back in 1993 and used to run through the park. I was the only woman running and got lots of states and even flashed once! That was 20 years ago though! 🙂

    1. I’m with you on this one Nicole. I can’t count the times I’ve struggled to find a place to run in large cities around the world. Of course, life would be easier if I liked treadmills, but somehow I can’t ever feel comfortable on one. And besides, I want to get out and about to experience the place. I’m an early morning runner, and I love jogging in a new place. Seeing and hearing a new city wake up is wonderful. BTW, when I lived in London, I routinely jogged in Hyde Park (it was bliss.) Early one morning I jogged by Dustin Hoffman. It’s not as exciting as being flashed like you were, but it made a good water-cooler story. ~James

  3. What an inspirational place to get some exercise. I don’t have to travel to find excuses to miss my workout for the day . . . and all I have to do is go out my backdoor and hike up the hill! 🙂

    1. Thanks Anita, for the comment and for dropping by the blog. I’ve been a jogger for many moons, and can say that usually, I’m pretty motivated. Sometimes being “in the zone” is why I jog, and sometimes, it’s just boring. This is where interesting surroundings come in to play. I grew up in KY and because my family is nearby, I’ve never really spent much travel time in Nashville. But just in case I do, where’s the most interesting place for an early morning run? ~James

      1. Big D (my hubby) recommends Radnor Lake. But I think Percy Edwin Warner is a good idea because when you’re finished with your jog, you can just keep going – straight to the Loveless Cafe. There, you can erase all the good you just did and eat your weight in fresh biscuits, country ham, barbeque, or fried chicken. Then, take in a live concert from their barn. You may even run into Vince Gill and Amy Grant. 🙂

  4. Ooh that’s a good way to think of this statue! I always have a hard time getting into the routine of jogging. And as the Spanish say, now that it’s spring it’s time for “Operación Bikini”, so this is very timely. 🙂

    1. Jessica, this really is a pretty cool park. I also love the Arc de Triomphe, across the street. It’s a good place to get away from the traffic in the center. BTW, good luck with Operation Bikini. ~James

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