Today was a wandering day for the
5 6 Adventures as we explored some of the most famous streets of the city. We started with a stroll from our apartment to the Plaça de Catalunya which is where Tracy’s bus from the airport dropped her off yesterday.
Widely considered the city center of Barcelona, the square is a large wide open plaza with beautiful sculptures and a fountain. It is surrounded by many historical buildings and absolutely filled with pigeons. Many people were playing amongst the pigeons and feeding them which easily explains why there are so many. Our first stop of many in our wandering day was for the kids to chase the pigeons.
From the Plaça we headed down the famous Las Ramblas. Turned into a street when the city was expanded in the 1400s, and flanked by trees planted in the 1700s, it spent centuries as the center of Barcelona’s urban activity. It was used for festivals, markets, and sports. Today it is primarily visited by tourists so is filled with kiosks selling newspapers and souvenirs, cafes, performers and street traders.
We spent a couple hours meandering down the street doing some shopping, people watching etc. Near lunch time we turned into the La Boqueria market which also has its origins in the 1400s.
Inside we found an extravagance of items for sale – meats, cheese, candies and nuts, spices and all kinds of take away food including walking meat snacks. in the way back we’re all kinds of fresh fish and seafood including some scary looking sea urchins.
We grabbed some tasty looking to go items and then grabbed a seat and some beverages
We next wandered into the Gothic Quarter – the historic center of Barcelona. Like the Medina of Marrakech it is narrow streets filled with residences, shops and tourists. Unlike there, the Gothic Quarter is a grid pattern of streets opening up onto charming squares with almost no vehicle traffic allowed. We saw the Catedral de Barcelona and many buildings with impressive architectural details.
Our tired feet took us to the harbor at the edge of the Quarter for some beverages, a quick stop at a carnival, and finally to the bottom of the Christopher Columbus statue. It was constructed in 1888 to commemorate his first voyage to the Americas so it was appropriate we saw it to finish out our first day touring Spain.
A quick dinner out gave us our first Spanish Paella – this one a vegetable one that was very tasty and a great end to a terrific day.