It would not surprise me that during the writing of this recap of today that I fall asleep, not because my brain strains in its endeavours to write a literary masterpiece, but simply that’s how tired I (we) are. We pour over the various maps and information the night before, and the morning too, deciding what we are going to do and see, the route we must take and the ‘gear’ we will carry in the day pack. We hit the paths, streets and laneways with full enthusiasm and preparedness. Fast forward to moment we returned to our room where we dropped everything and slumped onto the bed. My skinny, crippled feet were killing me! Jane had efficiently called the shots today with map in hand and me following behind trusting her 100%.
We set a fast pace walking the 5km to our meeting point at Placa Reial in the Gotic Quarter for our 3 hour ebike tour. Jane had gone to find a toilet when I was approached by a beautiful young lady pushing a bike. Scoff you might but it’s just ‘par-for-the-course’. In the short time Jane is away I have, with astute questioning, heard the life story
of the young lady, who turned out to be our personal guide for the ebike ride. Great value in that we covered much ground, from small, narrow laneways, through squares, on roads, cycle paths, down tree lined streets, all which tested our bike handling skills as we weaved in and out of people coming at us from all directions, while at the same time checking on traffic, which was continually courteous to bikes, and taking in the scenes and listening to our guide.
Immediately after concluding our pedalling we walked to discover hidden places and best curiosities using a map of the Gotic area. We strolled slowly down Petritxol Street, one of the most renowned streets in the city as it was the meeting point for many personalities and artists. We admired the many small art galleries, traditional chocolate shops and memories from the city’s history on the walls. On the Rambla the many market stalls were in full swing. On the corner of La Rambla and del Carme Streets we stood in front of the façade of what was once the richest and most powerful church in Barcelona, Belen’s Church. During the Spanish Civil war it was burnt
down and plundered. At Nos. 17 Ramelleres we found the “Orphan’s Turntable”, which was used to anonymously abandon babies. Single mothers or limited resource families abandoned their newborns to the nuns. In a few European countries today these turntables are still used. In the small square of Vila de Madrid we looked over the only funerary relics located in their original place due to the fact that sediments of a small river covered them and that enabled them to be preserved since the 1st
century. The original remains of an engineering feat from almost 2000 years ago, a Roman Aqueduct, used to supply water to the city of Barcelona, was marvelled at by us. Ingenuity of centuries gone. We came across the convent of Santa Clara which was used in the 14th
century to host and feed the prostitutes during Easter Week as it was forbidden to have sex from Spy Wednesday to Easter Monday. The city didn’t want the men to sin. The convent is now a Police Station! Around the corner is the World Heritage site of “Palau de la Musica”, erected in 1909, featuring Catalan modernistic architecture, introduced by Antoni Gaudi. It is decorative mosaic made from
broken pieces of ceramic. “The Magic of Estruc’s Street” is about the well-known Barcelonian magician, Astruc Sacanera who lived on this street and was known for commercialising a powerful remedy for rabies and poisoning caused by animal bites. We stop and gawk at one of the oldest doors in the world dating back to the 1st
century, as it was the main entrance to the walled city. The door opened at 5.30 am and closed at 7pm. At 3am the door was opened for a very short while to let the cleaning services in and to remove the corpses of the poorest families.
So ended our enjoyable discovering of a part of Barcelona for the day. Now it’s definitely food and wine time!
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