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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Urban Sketching Barcelona. Day 8: Barí Gotíc Walking Tour

Runner Bean Free Walking Tour of the Gothic Quarter

October 12, 2016

Runner Bean provides Free Walking Tours in various part of Barcelona. I decided since the street layout looked very confusing on the map, that it might be a good idea to take a tour and get acquainted with this charming old part of the city. They were also recommended by Rick Steves so I felt comfortable using them. And hey - the price was right! And, they were great!

I met up with them in Plaça Reial, just off the Rambla and, with about a dozen other English-speaking tourists we set out to explore. The guide was knowledgable, interesting, entertaining, and I learned about the history of the city, the Gothic Quarter, the Jewish Quarter - some very disturbing, but not unknown to me, facts about how the Jews were treated here and why they eat so much pork in Spain -- a sure-fire way to find out if a converted Jewish person was still secretly practicing his faith. The Inquisition came to Barcelona. And eventually drove all the Jews out. They're not proud of it, but it's part of their history. We learned how the Catalan flag got it stripes. Not really the blood of the hero on his golden robes, but it makes a good story. The terrible fate of Santa Eulalia (gruesome enough to rival Sant'Agata and Santa Lucia in Sicily) And much more. No time for sketching!

It was truly a "if these walls could talk" kind of experience and I found it fascinating. I'll try to remember more as I post the photos I took. I'm afraid it was another gray day, so no blue skies, puffy clouds or dramatic shadows, but proof that I was there, and I hope interesting for you.

Plaça del Pi, 14th Century Santa Maria del Pi Church and outdoor market

Plaça del Pi, across from the church, covered in "Sgrafittos"

Plaque on pavement in front of shop of the same name on Plaça del Pi

Outdoor cafe in a quiet corner of the Gothic Quarter 

War-ravaged Plaça Sant Felip Neri, in the Jewish Quarter.
Click here for the sad stories that make this place special.

This and following photos are different views of the medieval Cathedral

Discovering Roman Ruins in the Gothic Quarter

Crusty, medieval, Plaça del Rei, once home to the Count-Kings of Catalonia

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