Arriving in Barcelona, we board the Aerobus to Plaza de Catalunya (easy to find, easy to buy tickets, easy to get to your stop!), haul our luggage off and then take a short (4 minute) walk to our hotel for the next few nights. Our home in Barcelona is an apartment hotel where we can cook a little and get some washing done. Champagne lifestyle on a beer budget.
Situated right at the top of La Rambla, we couldn’t be any closer to the action. This 1.2km stretch of road slash pedestrian walkway links Plaza de Catalunya with the Christopher Colombus Monument near the port. Its filled with vendors selling souvenirs, plants and flowers and snacks – including tapas and sangria.
One benefit of staying on Las Ramblas, is that we are only a stone’s throw away from Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. And given we can’t check into our hotel room yet, what better way to spend the next couple of hours than to explore the Gothic Quarter.
The architecture in this quarter is just stunning – almost baroque styled stencilled tiles, elaborate balconies and shuttered windows – there are loads of little alleys just begging to be explored.
At the end of Calle de Portaferrissa is the square where La Catedral looms.
The alleys surrounding the church are filled with beautiful nooks to explore.
Not far from our hotel, is the Mercado de la Boqueria, where you can find all sorts of foods, fresh and cooked. Here, we stocked up on groceries for the next few days, but as well as fresh fruit, vegetables and meats, you can buy fresh juices and massive chocolate covered strawberries or stop for a meal at one of the small pinxos or tapas bars that dot the grounds.
The monument was the result of a design competition after the government decided to erect a tribute to Christopher Colombus in 1881. Colombus disembarked here upon returning from his epic sail to the Americas. The winning design was presented by Gaieta Buhiga.
Our ticket includes a ride to the top of the monument – yes you can actually ride that skinny looking column to the top – and a glass of wine. Inside the monument is a gift shop and information on Barcelona’s wine regions.
To get to the top of the monument you have to line up to wait your turn for the lift. The space at the top of the monument is small, allowing only a handful of people at a time, but once you reach the top, you are afforded the best views in town.
Time to go home and cook up some of that gorgeous produce!