La Ramblas Rambling in {Barcelona}

Català: Port Vell, Port de Barcelona. English:...

Català: Port Vell, Port de Barcelona. English: An aerial panoramic view from the the Columbus Monument (Monument a Colom in Catalan) across Port Vell in Barcelona, Spain Español: Una panorámica aérea desde el Monumento a Colón en Port Vell, Barcelona, España (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Placa de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

Placa de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain (Photo credit: EphusBailey)

Barcelona is one of Europe’s liveliest cities!  Whether you’re falling under the romantic spell of Antoni Gaudi or rambling down Barcelona’s most popular street of La Ramblas, you will absolutely fall in love with this city.

Barcelona’s vast central square, Placa de Catalunya, caps the Ramblas. Skateboarders and statues of Catalan heroes divide the old and new Barcelona.  Begin your Ramblas ramble here.  Got change?  As you wander along, countless human statues eagerly await the drop of a coin into their tin can (which jumpstarts them into entertaining mode). But beware…pickpockets are likely to be near wherever crowds stop to gather.

Bicycle tours with a local guide are a fun and popular way for all ages to see the sights and learn the history of Barcelona.  There are several tour companies to choose from.  Reserve ahead of time or just show up at the designated area; all stop for photographs, snacks and a beverage along the way.  Be sure and try the Sangria!

La Sagrada Família, with a capacity for 13,000 people, is Antoni Gaudi’s awe-inspiring project in which he dedicated the latter part of his life and is not to be missed. With its sheer verticality and in the true manner of great medieval cathedrals it emulates, after 100 years, still remains unfinished.   In late 2010, Spain’s most visited monument was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI.  The main nave is now open for daily mass.

The palm tree-filled Plaça Reial at Lane #46 is a neoclassical square filled with old-fashioned taverns and popular, modern bars with patio seating.  Gaudí’s first public works (the two colorful helmeted lampposts) are here.  Herbolari Ferran is a fine and aromatic herb shop, with fun souvenirs (downstairs at Plaça Reial 18). The small side streets that stretch towards the water from the square are for those who like to wander away from it all.  Take a little time to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine and feel the sand between your toes.

The towering Columbus Monument marks the trendy, restaurant-packed place where the Ramblas hits the Mediterranean. Rest on the steps leading to the sea and imagine the scene here as Ferdinand and Isabel welcomed Columbus home after the famous 1492 voyage.  Listen to the faint roar of thousands of happy Barcelonans enjoying one of Europe’s liveliest cities. Over your shoulder, Columbus points toward the New World…America.

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