Monday, July 9, 2012

Las Ramblas, Barcelona in a day

With an influx of tourists wanting to enjoy the Spanish summer heat, it is hard to believe Spain is in deep economic trouble.  I witnessed the endless arrival of people at Las Ramblas in Barcelona – retirees, families, students from all over the world,mostly from other parts of Europe and US citizens queuing patiently to board the city tour bus, shopping, and drinking sangria. It is a sign of hope shining in this side of the Mediterranean Sea.
Las Ramblas itinerary

Las Ramblas (or known locally as La Rambla) is a stretch of stalls selling souvenir items, flowers, drinks, art pieces, and more. Lined by tall trees and flanked by nice old buildings, it is the most visited part of any tourist itinerary in Barcelona. I am lucky to have experienced it. Most of the time, I went there people-watching, and it was fun seeing the life of the city despite all its anxieties over the Euro currency. The street is the door to many interesting attractions like the Statue of Columbus fronting the port, the Mercat de la Boqueria, Gran Teatre del Liceu, and Museu de Cera among others. One can even walk from Ramblas to the famous Cathedral and a smaller but interesting Parish Church of Sta. Anna.  Along the road, there are restaurants showing off the famous paella and sangria. One can get them at around 10 euros along with few tapas (small serving dishes, cocktail-like stuffs). Try the fun talents of local artists by having them paint a caricature of yourself. 
Suggested itinerary:  
Plaza Catalunya (where the twin fountains are) 
Las Ramblas (located just next to Pl. Catalunya)
Gran Teatre del Liceu
Parish Church of Sta. Anna (between Ramblas and Port del Angel)
Mercat la Boqueria
Museu de Cera
Statue of Colombus, Port of Barcelona, Las Golondrinas, Maremagnum

Plaza Catalunya
Plaza Catalunya Plaza Catalunya
Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas 3 Las Ramblas 2
Teatre del Liceu
Teatre del Liceu
Parish Church of Sta. Anna
Parish Church of Sta. Anna 2 Parish Church of Sta. Anna 3
Mercat la Boqueria
Mercat La Boqueria Boqueria Mercat La Boqueria 3 Mercat La Boqueria 8 Mercat La Boqueria 5
Museu de Cera
Museu de Cera Museu de Cera 2 Museu de Cera 3 Museu de Cera 4
Columbus, Port of Barcelona, Maremagnum
Status Colombus

Rambla de Mar Maremagnum 3 Las Golondrinas Maremagnum Maremagnum 2 Barcelona Port
It is NOT advisable to have dollar exchange along the Ramblas (rate is way too low, I should get 0.8 Euro for a dollar but instead, they gave me 0.63, that was outright robbery, poor me!)
To buy souvenir items, go slightly off the road to smaller streets parallel to the Ramblas, the prices are lower there. You can even bargain. You may want to buy bigger bottles of water from the supermarket (Carriefour, also along Ramblas) as bottled water is much more expensive in the stalls.
Try the freshly-squeezed fruit juices and fresh fruits at Boqueria.
Wear comfortable sandals or footwear, you will be happy with it. Get into the maze of streets near Ramblas, it is fun! You will realize how small that area is.
Start your day with Plaza Catalunya, walk through Ramblas and some parallel streets until you reach the Statue of Colombus on the port of Barcelona, ride the Golondrinas or simple enjoy the view of the sea at Maremagnum.

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