Today I enjoyed a slow pace and followed two Rick Steves’ walks. One was along Las Rambles and I backtracked a bit having done half of it randomly yesterday afternoon to the waterfront. So I enjoyed the other direction to Plaça de Catalunya (and now I know where to pick up a bus to the airport on Thursday).
I wandered past a Roman Necropolis at which it was suggested that I imagine a 2000 year old tomb lined road. In Roman cities, tombs (outside the walls) typically lined the roads leading into town. Emperor Agustus spent a lot of time in modern-day Spain conquering new land, so the Romans were sure to incorporate Hispania into empire’s infrastructure. This road led into the Roman port of Barcino.
I also toured the Betlem Church, which is beautiful, though unfortunately it was not open. It is a 17th century Baroque church dedicated to Bethlehem and for centuries locals have flocked here at Christmas time to see nativity scenes. I encountered lots of history on this “Ramble” as well as the “Barri Gōtic” walk bordering on the El Born neighborhood. And, I snapped many a photo. In fact, my iPhone battery died on me!
I peered in at the 12th century Church of Santa Anna, yet sadly (or maybe hopefully?) it was filled with (potentially homeless) young people seemingly out of it for the day.
In the Plaça Nova I passed by Roman towers, an aqueduct and sections of the Roman wall that had been 25 feet high, a mile around with 74 towers and enclosing a population of 4,000.
I also travelled through the narrow, winding streets of the Jewish Quarter (which I have done in several of the Spanish towns that I have visited) where Jews were forced to live under the watchful eye of the Catholics in power.
A main site on the latter tour is The Cathedral of Barcelona, a center of worship since the 4th century and I will go back another day when the tours are free in the morning.
One of my favorite stops was my lunch at the Els Quatre Gats (Four Cats), established in 1897, which was a popular hang out of Picasso’s in his late teens and early 20s. I had a wonderful combination of pimientos (my new favorite dish) and mussels!
I had a break in the afternoon to recharge my phone, and then headed out to the Glaciar Bar for a sangria on the very popular and active Plaça Reial, which had been scoped out by Hubby, Bill. From Rick Steve’s, “The buildings enclosing this square exemplify Barcelona’s medieval past. The central section was the core of the Royal Palace. A vast hall on its ground floor once served as the throne room and reception room. From the 13th to the 15th century, the Royal Palace housed Barcelona’s counts as well as the resident kings of Aragon. In 1483, a triumphant Christopher Columbus” was welcomed home by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella “and honored with the title “Admiral of Oceans.”
A quick (very yummy) dinner from the grand market, La Boqueria (lamb meatballs & chorizo skewers & a beef burrito) & another amazing flamenco show at the Tablao Flamenco Cordobes and I called it a (good) day!!!