Las Ramblas

These are a series of short streets from a naming perspective that form a single, long boulevard from the port area to the Plaça de Catalunya and beyond. They're largely pedestrian, with just a single lane of traffic on either side. This is typically the first tourist destination, with a great many hotels and restaurants on and off the boulevard. It's also a place to come back to again and again, at different times of day, to enjoy the street life and atmosphere.

Click on the small pictures to see larger ones.

Welcome to Barcelona! The old Port headquarters.
Christoper Columbus on his column. The Catalans take him for one of their own, although he was actually Genoese. (This is where he landed to meet Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand after he returned from America, though.) He's pointing off across the ocean, although because of how Barcelona is situated, not at all to America!
Enjoying Las Ramblas, whether sitting with a beer, or just strolling. Behind us is the port, to the right is the Barri Gotìc (the medieval quarter), to the left is El Raval (the old red-light district), and ahead the Plaça de Catalunya.
The first of many fabulous façades, with great ceramic work.
A rather Art Nouveau little storefront. This is the Antica Casa Figueres, decorated in 1902, and now the Escrivà pastry shop.
The Boqueria covered market, one of several in town. This one just off Las Ramblas is one of the most popular. It's been here since 1840, and the present metal roof dates from 1914.
The Casa Bruno Cuadros, now a bank office, was an umbrella and parasol shop, and with typical Barcelonian flamboyance, was decorated in an oriental theme with umbrella motifs in 1883.
Nothing succeeds like excess!
A popular form of street entertainment is the "human statue", and this was a particularly fine example. The couple would twirl parasols, etc., settle into a new posture, remain quite still for a few minutes, looking remarkably un-life-like, and then invite contributions.
And at last the Plaça de Catalunya, the heart of the city. Ahead to the North and stretching out far to the East and West is the Eixample, the 19th-century grid plan. Underground several metro and rail lines converge and somehow there's also room for a car park and one of the main tourist offices. To the right (out of view) is El Corte Inglés, a huge department store with 9 stories above the ground level, and 2 below. It also houses a convenient currency exchange office, open later than the banks, and relatively private. (There's enough pick-pocketing and other petty crime that one does not want to exchange large sums in public.)
A closeup of one of the fountains, in the evening light.

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