How do you spell tourist in Spanish? Las Ramblas! … This is where you buy your souvenirs and overpriced ‘typical’ Spanish food. It’s also a street of theatres, home of the Popular Procession (I gather a combination of elements of many festivals into one procession) and, of course, the global fast food franchises.
Las Ramblas run from Placa de Catalunya,
pretty much through the centre of the old town, down to the Mirador de Colón (a giant column topped by a statue of Christopher Columbus) at Port Vell.
More than a few dollars is berthed in the marina at adjacent Port de Barcelona!
Across the swing bridge (to allow for all those masts) is a shiny new shopping centre (of no personal interest except it allowed me to take a self portrait!) and a great view of the Maritime Museum.
A visit to the Maritime Museum, in its magnificent building, was fascinating. I think in a different life I could have been a sailor. The Museum was formerly the Royal Shipyards and has also been used as an arsenal. The site has been in use for 700+ years and became a museum in 1941. The temporary exhibition when I visited was about the Vikings – hardly Spanish but they got around!
There was also an exhibition of contemporary sea creatures on paper, hung like washing on a line.
There were ships and boats from many different eras, of all shapes and sizes. Pride of place however is given to a replica of a Royal Galley. Outside was a wooden submarine. It looked like a play thing for children but was definitely a Do Not Touch piece.
Just off Las Ramblas is the Placa Reial. In the centre of its slightly faded glory is a large fountain. I joined those with their bottoms perched on the edge of the basin, watching the world go by. There are more than a few very good people-watching stations in Barcelona – although this one did rather smell of pee. Oh dear!
The undisputed hit of Las Ramblas would have to be the formally titled Mercat Sant Josep but universally known as Mercat de la Boqueria. What you can’t buy to eat here isn’t worth knowing about and it’s loved by locals and tourists alike. Healthy fruit and veg, meat, more than enough seafood for my friend Piers in Boston, …
… sweets to make you ill, plus bread, cheese, deli items … and on it went. At a laneway to one side there were tables and chairs to eat and drink your selections immediately but on the whole this market is a place to stock up for home.