A Return to Beautiful Barcelona
Barcelona is truly one of the great cities of the world. It really has everything, a waterfront, Europe’s largest port, mountains on the horizon, temperate weather, history and more history, leafy boulevards, grand houses, delicious food, a thriving artistic community, incredible architecture, museums, and charming neighborhoods. The city combines a melting pot of cultures while maintaining a strong independent identity all its own. It’s a city that has reinvented itself throughout the years and has worked hard to earn the reputation it has today.
I have heard other people say they’ve been here before or more than once and seen the city. That’s just not possible, there is way too much going on here. Having visited before we had covered the obligatory major sites – such as La Sagrada Familia and fabulous Gaudi sites such as Park Güell, Casa Batlló, and La Pedrera (Casa Milà). If you’ve never been, don’t miss these famous iconic sites. But when visiting this interesting and complex city carve out some time for walking because there is nothing like exploring sections of the city on foot.
You can see the famous pedestrian street Las Rambles in 15 minutes and move on. The street is loaded with vendors selling cheaply -made trinkets and caricature artists, as well as more than a healthy share of scammers looking for their next target to pickpocket or rip-off. Instead, spend time walking along the waterfront (at one end of the Rambles) and enjoying the public art installations along the way.
On this visit, I chose to stay between the Barri Gòtic and La Ribera districts, the better to leisurely explore. As part of the old city, the narrow twisting streets are filled with nice shops, souvenir shops, cute cafes, tattoo parlors, salons, markets, and more. Pretty much the full gamut of storefronts can be found within these two districts. On your walks, you will see parts of the ancient city walls, cathedrals and the site where Queen Isabella welcoming home the roving Columbus. La Ribera is home to the trendy El Born area with a lively nightlife, new restaurants, and nice shops. I couldn’t resist sticking my head in the local Desigual boutique to compare their inventory to their newer stores in the U.S. (BTW, pretty similar).
You could schedule a walking tour or pick-up or pull-up one of the many travel books/sites with self-guided walks. I will say the Google maps are really helpful when trying to find anything specific within the bowels of the Gothic District; those twists and turns can fool you, even with a map. I’ll let my photos tell most of this story.
Find Barcelona’s Secret Roman Ruins
Tucked away below street level in Barcelona’s Barri Gothic you’ll find the Temple d’Augustus A 1st Century BC Roman ruin. The three Corinthian columns are part of what once was the principal temple of its time. Turn one more corner and there it is – a stunning sight.