Postcards: La Rambla, Barcelona

Between Madrid and Barcelona, it is only three hours via high-speed AVE train. But the differences in the cultures of the two major cities of Spain are so distinct that Barcelona could very well be in another country.

It’s not only in the languages spoken (Spanish and Catalan). While Madrid has a cosmopolitan, ultra-sophisticated vibe, Barcelona’s is highly eclectic. It seems the city lives and breathes the Arts. Art is everywhere in Barcelona and it shows in the architecture, the music, the festivals and theater, even in the way the locals dress. (It’s quite possible to stay in Barcelona for only a few days and be seduced enough by the Arts that one goes home resolved to start wearing colorful trinkets and embroidered tunics to one’s job at a bank. :))

Barcelona’s La Rambla is probably Spain’s most famous street. It is a pedestrian mall with kiosks selling everything from flowers to art prints to magazines, Real Madrid/FC Barcelona scarves, ice cream, birds, souvenirs and the aforementioned trinkets.

Portrait painters hold court in the area and many street performers, in elaborate costumes and often surrounded by awestruck children, attract the attention of tourists looking for a quick photo op.There’s a lot of (window) shopping to be done along La Rambla and four hours in the area only convinces one to go back later to check out more of the merchandise.

Brick-and-mortar shops, such as the one above, are also found along La Rambla.

Of course, there’s La Boqueria, one of the world’s most famous food markets and regular haunt of famous chefs, restaurant owners, and ‘foodies’ from all over. (I bought a tiny ounce of saffron and some other spices and felt like a foodie myself, hehe.) There is such an abundance and variety of food supplies in this market to astound even the most experienced cook.

For those whose experience is more along the lines of eating, food stalls entice with samples of jamon, bread, cheese, olive oil, etc. The place is swarming with people but is clean and well organized.

Most streets adjoining La Rambla (together they are referred to as Las Ramblas) are just as busy. This is the street leading to the PlaΓ§a Sant Jaume (St. James’ Square), the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya (Palace of the Government of Catalunya) and the City Hall of Barcelona.

Just off the main street is the Plaça Reial or Royal Plaza, a popular gathering place surrounded by cafes and restaurants and a usual venue for night concerts.

The street lamps in the square were designed by Antoni Gaudi, whose masterpiece is the world-famous basilica, La Sagrada Familia.

We end our la rambling here. (Although La Rambla stretches for more than a kilometer to the Barcelona waterfront, I was too busy checking out trinkets that I failed to take even a single picture of the area.)

(But! More of Barcelona, next.) πŸ™‚

*****

Please click here for my other posts on Spain.

40 thoughts on “Postcards: La Rambla, Barcelona

  1. Lovely photos as always, Tita Buds. Barcelona seems to be more popular with my friends compared to Madrid. Perhaps, it’s the city’s reputation for wild parties. πŸ˜‰ Would love to experience the difference someday.

  2. HI Tita,

    I love your photos and description. I almost feel like I’ve been back to Barcelona. If I were to choose to go back to Madrid or Barcelona, I would definitely choose Barcelona. Thanks for another great post.

    • Thanks, Naomi! It’s always good to know that someone who has been to a place likes my ‘mini-report’ about it. πŸ™‚
      Barcelona’s reputation as a city with a vibrant arts community and laid-back vibe is well-deserved and I understand why creative types usually prefer it to Madrid.

  3. Thank you, Tita, for this wonderful postcard tour of a fascinating destination. We went for Christmas on year and have always wanted to go back when the weather was warmer and we could walk around without ducking into every shop and cafΓ© to stay warm, although even that had its charms.

  4. Oh Tita, Barcelona is on my bucket list. I did the South and now it’s time for the North. La Sagrada Familia is a masterpiece and Gaudi is an absolute genius. Together with the museum of Miro and Picasso, there is so much I want to see. I have heard tons about Las Ramblas, to see this visual and the famous Boqueria is fantastic. Thank you. What a great post.
    How did you add your copyright onto the photo without a water mark? I want to do do that too πŸ™‚

    • You MUST go to the Boqueria! There’s just so much to see (and taste) and buy there. πŸ™‚ If Barcelona’s your last stop in Spain, you can also buy foodstuff at the Boqueria for friends and family back home.

      As for the ‘copyright’, I just use the text tool in either Picasa or picnik to insert whatever text I want and position it anywhere in the picture. It’s easy enough but you have to do it one picture at a time which can be time-consuming. I don’t have Photoshop so I don’t know if that can be done faster. Hope that helps. πŸ™‚

      • Thank you so much Tita, I tried it, yep, one photo at a time,It’s so great though. How do you then try to upload from Picasa to the blog? I still haven’t figured that one out. I am trying everything, bet it’s really simple though.

        • I use the desktop version of Picasa so it’s just a matter of uploading a file. But if you’re using the online version, you’d have to upload by URL (one of the choices when you click to “insert media” to WP). Which version are you using?

  5. I’d love to visit Barcelona one day! I would’ve done it this year, but husband thought three years in a row to Spain was too much, not because he didn’t like it but because he thought we should simply give Spain a rest! πŸ™‚
    Just as I used to dream of visiting the Alhambra and Granada one day, I still dream of seeing La Sagrada Familia.
    I’m eagerly looking forward to your next post(s) about Barcelona!!

    • Just like everywhere in Spain, there’s so much to see in Barcelona that one short visit wouldn’t be enough. The basilica is truly one of a kind.
      I hope you get to visit soon. (Next year maybe? :))

  6. Tita you brought back such wonderful memories! As an art lover, the three museums in Madrid were a must do, but Barcelona was just so much more fun! Thank you for jogging my memory πŸ™‚
    Love your picture of the street off the Rambla!

  7. Oh Tita, as i sit in my office in Barcelona i thoroughly enjoyed your report and your pictures of the city! Glad you liked it and had a great time here! πŸ˜‰

    next time you’re back, give me a shout and I’ll take you sightseeing off the beaten track

    • Yey! I was actually wondering what you’ll think of my perspective of your city, hehe. You just made me smile really wide.
      Thank you very much, yes, I’ll definitely let you know when I go back. πŸ™‚

  8. Tita, what a lovely ramble this morning! I love to say La Rambla πŸ˜€ I think I will say that from now on when I am ready to take a country ramble! Just a little ways from the waterfront, it has EVERYthing! Beautiful pictures Tita. How fun, I needed a break this morning.

    • It has a lovely ring to it, no? I was surprised that the term is not related to walking, though, but to water. Rambla means “water flow” w/c may have something to do with the place being near the sea.
      Of course, I know I’ll continue to use it in relation to rambling, haha. “La Rambla” (say it again, heh).

  9. This is such a great post! Now I can’t wait to go to Barcelona in a few months!!! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ I hope my experience at la rambles is just as interesting.

  10. It must be 3 years from now since I was in Spain. I remember it was around Easter. I was supposed to go there this year but my assignment got jacked. GRRR!

    I love the crowd on that photo. It really tells that many people go there to gawk at the shops, arts and food.

    I always love the statue in the round-abouts everywhere in Spain.

    • There were a LOT of people in that street and we were wondering, “what could be so special about a city hall?”. πŸ™‚
      Of course, as it turned out, almost everything there is worth seeing.

  11. Pingback: Postcards: El Raval, Barcelona | tita buds' blog

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