Our airbnb was perfectly situated at the edge of the Barri Gòtic (old town) right on the border with the Eixample (the newer quarter with a fair share of Gaudi and other Modernisma architecture). We could walk to most places easily, and we did. Our first stroll took us down Las Ramblas – the famous boulevard that leads through the heart of the old town down to the harbor. The street used to be a drainage ditch back in the Middle Ages which separated the walled city from the outlying settlements, but when the city expanded in 1440 they paved it. Traffic runs on either side of the pedestrian promenade. For the end of January we were surprised to find as many tourists as we did wandering and enjoying the flower sellers and other vendors (and taking up space with their selfie-sticks). To the side of Las Ramblas is La Boqueria, a large market with what you might expect in the way of fruits and vegetables, olives, spices and sausages, but I have never seen so much ham (jamon) as I did there. Apparently Spain has a love affair with ham.
Just one of the stalls with jamón
Barcelona’s official time. It might be precise, but people may not be quite as timely.
One of the many flower stalls
Mosaic by Joan Míro – one of Barcelona’s artists
At the bottom of the stroll you run into the huge statue of Christopher Columbus, where he disembarked on his first trip back from the New World. It has been noted that the man who inadvertently helped with the economic downturn of the city and the country ironically has such a large monument. Central to the Barri Gotic stands the cathedral. At certain times of the day it costs 6€ to get inside, but other times of the day it is free. We went back at night, not only because it didn’t cost anything then, but also because we hoped it would be lit up. Well, it was a little bit. As we travel throughout Europe, we keep running into Roman ruins. We look at each other and say, “Those Romans were everywhere!” Barcelona is no exception. We found some of the original city walls from Roman times back when the city was quite small. We also saw these Roman columns from the Forum. The Barcelona Roman Forum.