|Las Ramblas is often referred
to as the heart and soul of Barcelona.
Technically, it refers to the area around
five interconnecting, divided roads (each
with Ramblas in its name) running from
the Barcelona Harbor to Catalunya Square.
The wide meridian of the Ramblas' roads
contains a linear tree-lined park which
extends the distance of all five roads.
Europe Destination Guide (TravelNow)
photo - Diners enjoy a late evening on
ago, a streambed ran along the course
where now the Rambla roads run.
When it was a stream, water would
occasionally flow down the Rambla, but
most of the time its sandy bed was used
as a roadway by the locals. Over time,
the steam's water was diverted and the
streambed was made over into a paved road.
section of the Ramblas known as the
Rambla Estudis contains the bird market.
|While Barcelonas sights
are scattered about the city, the Ramblas
is close to the harbor and Gothic
Quarter, making it as central a
location as one can find in Barcelona. Up
and down the Ramblas can be found a
variety of shops and plenty of hotels. At
night the meridian of the Ramblas
transforms, as waiters appear, outside cafes
open, and street musicians hold concerts.
famous landmark on the Ramblas, this dragon was
once used to advertise the location of an
umbrella shop. The umbrella shop has closed, but
the dragon remains. The dragon was taken down
once during a remodeling of the building; public
uproar resulted in its return.
Arriving at the
I had arranged for our first night on this visit
to Spain to be at a hotel right on the Ramblas.
As my travel companion and I waited for the taxi
driver to fetch our bags from his trunk, I was
quickly approached by a suspicious character
wanting to know the time. On exiting the taxi, I
had noticed a couple of similarly questionable
characters on the other side of the street. I now
heard them heading in my direction. D*m,"
I thought to myself, "not in Barcelona an
hour and I'm dealing with pickpockets!"
statues populate the Ramblas
one bag over my shoulder so it rested on
the pocket that held my billfold and then
quickly grabbing the second bag off the
street where the fleeing taxi driver had
left it, I replied to the mans
"What time is it?"question.
No, sé" (I do not know). I
then quickly started moving. The man
looked flustered. Was he a pickpocket, or
just a rumpled man without a watch? I
will never know.
days later I watched a similarly suspicious
fellow, perhaps even the same man, try a
bankcard in one of the Ramblas ATMs.
He entered a code but received no money. Then he hit a button on the console, and the
card ejected. The man shrugged. Turning to
his friends, he smiled, and they laughed; I
suspect that in a few hours the scene would
replay itself as the man tried to win
the ATM lottery.
had a wonderful time on the Ramblas
and in Barcelona, but one still needs to
keep on the lookout for potential
trouble. To learn more about pickpockets,
read my Safe Travel page.
Check out Barcelona's Harbor