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Monday, November 19, 2018

Barcelona, Spain - The Ramblas Ramble - A Self-Guided Walking Tour

We were very happy we made the decision to arrive in Spain a couple of days before our Mediterranean cruise left from the Barcelona port.  Today we would have a full day to spend in Barcelona.  That gave us the time we needed to see everything we wanted to see here and more.  We had an amazing morning visiting La Sagrada Familia (read about it here) and now we were excited for what we had planned for this afternoon.

After we settled into our hotel, Hotel Continental Barcelona, when we arrived here the day before, we did Rick Steves' Barri Gotic self-guided walking tour (read about it here).  Today we would do his Ramblas Ramble tour.   The Ramblas Ramble tour was pretty much just walking down Las Ramblas boulevard with a couple of detours off and down side streets which made it much easier to follow than the Barri Gotic tour.

Our tour started at Placa de Catalunya.  We were getting very familiar with this plaza as it was right down the block from our hotel, and we were using the buses that stopped here.   We got here very easily.


The second stop on our walking tour was Fountain of Canaletes.  It is a black and gold fountain that has been around for more than a century and it is said that if you drink from this fountain you are ensured a trip back to Barcelona.  Well, when we got to the third stop on the Ramblas tour, we knew we passed the fountain.  We backtracked and searched but couldn't find it.  I hate to admit it, but we were still having trouble following the GPS on Google maps.  

We did see a beautiful black and gold fountain, a little later that day, and decided this was it.  

Next on the Rick Steves tour was Rambla of the Little Birds.  Steves explains that this stretch of Las Ramblas was where, at one time,  you would see many kiosks selling different types of animals that people could buy and keep as pets.  These days the kiosks are selling mostly ice cream and souvenirs.

Bethlem Church was our next stop,  It was off Las Ramblas and down a side street.  This church is dedicated to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus.  The locals enjoy the nativity scenes that are displayed here at Christmastime.  We loved the one just above the tremendous doors of the church.

Back on Las Ramblas we found Rambla of Flowers.  This small, but fragrant, section is where vendors sell their flowers and seeds.  There were bags and bags of seeds at each kiosk.  Some of the seeds would produce plants we had never, ever seen before.  Soko found a bag of seeds that would grow into unusual looking fruits.  I couldn't add a picture of that package of seeds as this is a family friendly blog!

Our next stop was La Bogueria Market.  This is a very busy market and we saw many different foods and produce.  Again, we saw things that we have never seen before in America.  

I spotted a delicious looking fruit and I had to try it.  If you like a fruit that is not overly sweet, has a pear-like texture and is filled with tiny seeds then you will love this fruit.  

We had a hard time finding the next stop on our walking tour.  Rick Steves called it the Heart of the Ramblas.  We would know that we were in the right place when we saw, abstract artist, Joan Miro's mosaic on the ground.  We weren't really sure what we would be looking for but we knew Joan Miro created the logo for La Caixa bank and we had seen it a couple of times.  In fact, we had just passed one of the banks.  We decided to go back to look at the logo closer to see if that would give us a hint as to what we were looking for.  We finally did find the mosaic and had to laugh at how we thought we missed it.  We were looking for something smaller and this beautiful artwork was huge!  We just hadn't gotten to it yet.

Placa Reial was the next stop on our walking tour.   It was not too far from the mosaic but off Las Ramblas. This is a town square that has both old-fashioned bars and modern taverns with patio seating.  I was excited to see this plaza as I knew we would be treated to seeing  Gaudi's first public works, two colorful helmeted lampposts.  

As were heading back out to the Ramblas we were to look across the boulevard to see Palau Guell, another Gaudi project.

Back on the Ramblas we reached our next destination, the Raval Neighborhood.  Here we were looking for elaborately costumed human statues.  There were a bunch of them and they really fooled us into thinking they were statues!  These "statues" have to audition and register with the city government before they are allowed to perform here.

Of course, there would be an Antoni Gaudi statue here!

The Columbus Monument, our next sight to see, was across the street from Las Ramblas and there was no way we could miss this 200 foot monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus.  We didn't take the ride up to the top of this building because I heard that the elevator was very tiny.  If I wasn't claustrophobic we would have liked to view the city from the observation deck.

Just past the monument is the Waterfront and the last stop on Rick Steves' walking tour.  We took a leisurely walk down the promenade.

We were curious to see the Barcelona Head that Rick Steves mentions is at the end of the boardwalk.  It was worth the walk to see this iconic sculpture.

We really enjoyed Rick Steves Ramblas Ramble tour.   Now it was time to get ready for tonight.  We saw huge signs that made us think that there was something special going on this evening so we headed back to the hotel to have a quick bite to eat at their buffet.  

Look for our post, coming soon, to find out about Barcelona's largest annual street party, that we were fortunate to be in Barcelona for,  La Merce Festival.


  1. It's cool it was self guided. That way you could take as long as you ant to see sites.

  2. I enjoy reading about your adventures and love that I'll have a great reference place if I ever get the chance to go to these wonderful places.

    1. I really hope you do get to go to Barcelona. And Rick Steves walking tours made seeing this city so much fun for us!

  3. That is so cool. Thanks for sharing. Love it. #DreamTeam

  4. That brought back so many wonderful memories. We love Barcelona- it’s such a beautiful place to see and self guided tours are a must if you want to do things at your own pace. Thanks for joining us for the #dreamteam xx

  5. A fun and exciting tour - I'd love to take it~