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The Unsung Heroes of Barcelona

19 July, 2014 (09:54) | Living in Europe | By: admin

These are the unsung heroes of Barcelona. These government employees, in fluorescent attire, are always seen cleaning up the grounds, beaches, parks, streets, water. Dressed in bright green, they are always in the background, especially early in the mornings, combing the beaches for flotsam and sweeping the boardwalk of debris.

We’ve been living here almost 8 years now and we’ve seen our beach evolve from a coast littered with flotsam from the big boats (tampons, toiletries, sometimes rats…), the beaches themselves addled with pickpockets and party revelers coming down from a night partying, to a respectable beach where, thanks to petty crime clampdown we no longer witness muggings or pickpocket events on a daily basis. In fact, I haven’t seen *any* pickpocket crimes at all this year. Phenomenal! I just love that this city is always pulling itself up by its bootstraps and taking pride by maintaining its natural resources.

One day Quixote and I rode a bike to his favorite fetching pond, normally littered with cigarette butts and dead leaves, and found the following unsung hero cleaning it up

All the water got sucked into this vehicle, the pond was swept and then the water is put back in.

This is a pond my dog Quixote and I often ride a bike to and photograph him fetching balls from it. The above unsung hero drained the pond, cleaned the bottom and then refilled it. I was impressed, when a few days later I returned to a sparkling clean pond:

Quixote’s favorite pastime is fetching balls and sticks from this well maintained pond.

On a separate bike ride I encountered this park maintenance vehicle, which I’ve noticed before but on this day found it in use. The worker who drives this vehicle obviously has kept his sense of humor with his skull wearing sunglasses decorating touch… He’s a hard worker, filling up the back of the truck with newly mowed grass. I see this one distinctive Parks and Recreation truck driving around Barceloneta all the time.

This is the little clean-up boat that collects floating junk from tourists, weather, cruise ships, et al. It does an amazing job. Our beaches are cleaner this year than ever, and the water is miraculously clear for such a big city as Barcelona.

Throughout the city these workers are always busy cleaning, repairing, laying down pavement, you name it. Here’s a quick snap I just now shot for this blog, of some city workers repaving our road in Gracia. The days of tripping and falling over loose cobblestones are over. Although one could argue that getting rid of the cobblestones takes away a bit of the old world European charm, I must admit when we first moved here people tripping on loose cobblestones was an everyday occurrence, it happened to me once and I was lucky not to have broken any bones.

Unsung heroes paving our street in Gracia.

Last winter we had some big storms that washed a lot of sand onto the boardwalk; not to worry – the unsung heroes will clean it up:

I’ve been meaning to write something about these unsung heroes for awhile now – just a small recognition that some of us notice and appreciate their efforts to make our city into a first rate, safe destination for visitors.

Cleaning up amidst the overnight party revelers on the beach on a typical early Sunday morning.

Thank you unsung heroes!

To give this blog another whimsical level, I recorded on Iphone audio of Q. wrastling me for the ball if you click on the link.