El Ravel, El Barri Gothic & El Born – The old town Barcelona
Next on our list was a visit to the old town. Everything I’d read warned to be on guard against pickpockets here so it was with some trepidation that we took the metro to Parallel and stepped out onto the corner of Carrer Nou de la Rambla. This is a narrow road filled with traffic and run down looking little shops and restaurants leading to La Rambla. The closer we got to La Rambla the more interesting the buildings became culminating in Palau Guell, a town mansion designed by Gaudi with huge wrought iron gates that carriages used to enter. It is possible to go inside but, yet again, time was against us. I guess it is one more reason for us to return to Barcelona in the future though so it’s not all bad news.
La Rambla is without doubt one of the most famous streets in the world for wandering along and people watching, two of my favourite pastimes. We emerged into a pleasant street with a teaming central pedestrian reservation filled with café tables, flower stalls and the famous living statues. We settled down at a table belonging to Pizzeria Ideal Restaurant, ordered a pizza and coffee and sat back to appreciate the parade of people, street art and general hustle and bustle.
Suitably refreshed we set off to look at the shops, stopping off at a little food market to admire the colourful wares. We wandered up and down and then headed off towards the maze of little streets that make up the Barri Gothic and Born. Before long we were hopelessly lost and not really sure which district we were in but it was fun nonetheless poking round the little shops, looking at the buildings and the people. When the shops began to close for the siesta which lasts from 2 until about 5 we began to work our way back to La Rambla and, more by luck than by judgement, we eventually found ourselves back where we had begun, outside the Parallel metro a few Euros lighter and laden with a couple of extra bags.