Sunday, November 17, 2013

Barcelona Stroll: Placa Catalunya, La Rambla, Barri Gotic, La Ribera & Mercat Santa Caterina

After having had my fill of a pintxo—jamon ibero—pulpo gallega and trigger happy photography at Mercat de la Boqueria (hello, what is wrong with me? I could not stop snapping away!), it is time for a little stroll in the city’s Gothic Quarter. It is the oldest area of Barcelona and quite famous as well. But honestly, what I really wanted to do is cross over to La Ribera Santa Catarina Quarter and visit another market on the list—Mercat Santa Caterina. I know, I just ate my way through La Boqueria and perhaps took a gazillion photos but I just can never get enough of markets! Eh, what to do? I want to see and experience them all!

I really have no idea how to get there except that I know it is beside the Gothic Quarter and that it has this huge colourful artsy wave roof. I am sure it will be easy to find =)

But first, I will have to wade through the map, Placa de Catalunya, La Rambla, Barri Gotic and La Ribera. Might as well enjoy this stroll.

Placa de Catalunya

Placa de Catalunya is always a busy place. Many of the sightseeing buses are stationed here.

Map of Ceutat Vella | Barcelona Centre

SOME FACTS: The core center of Barcelona is called Ceutat Vella and is composed of the following 4 quarters: 1) La Barceloneta 2) Gothic Quarter 3) El Raval 4) Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i La Ribera

La Rambla Scenes

Placa de Catalunya and La Rambla are the core centre of Barcelona and the L3 Green line will get you here with metro stops: Catalunya, Liceu and Drassanes.

This busy 1.2-kilometre boulevard is joined by Placa de Catalunya in the north and Placa Portal de la Pau in the south near the waterfront and flanked by the two quarters: Barri Gotic to the east and El Raval to the west which is informally known as Barri Chino (Chinatown).

There is a flower market on the boulevard.


Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter)

I really was just walking aimlessly and snapping away…

Cathedral of Barcelona
Website: Catedral de Barcelona

The gothic cathedral in the Gothic Quarter is also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. It is the seat of the archbishop of Barcelona.

I did not go inside because they were asking for a fee which I thought was a bit cheeky. 6 euros is too much me thinks. I look at churches this way: If it is still a functioning church then do not charge visitors. If the church has become defunct ergo has turned into a museum, then you are more than welcome to charge visitors. Barcelona Cathedral however do not charge visitors in the morning and evening as per information on their website, only in the afternoons.

Palau de la Musica
Website: Palau de la Musica Catalana

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful piece of architecture, designed in Catalan modernista style. I wish I could have gone inside and watched a concert. Perhaps another time. You can find Palau de la Musica in La Ribera Quarter.

A little sneak peek inside the very golden concert hall. Grand and oppulent. Below is the lovely mosaic tiled art ticketing booth.

La Ribera Quarter

La Ribera quarter is charming.... narrow alleys, old buildings, litte squares, a very Catalan atmosphere...

Interesting, cool and independent way of discovering Barcelona...

Mercat de Santa Caterina
Website: Mercat Santa Caterina

So I am finally here! But I died when the guard told me the market is closed—SERRADO! TANCADA!

Why? Oh dear me, I have been waiting for this time to visit Santa Caterina Market! *horrified* Why is it closed when it is not even 16:00? Please explain! But the guard does not speak a word of English and just ignored me as he stood still, nose up and hands behind his back in between the doors. Like a wounded little puppy I inched away...

Later that evening, back at my hotel in Girona as I was enjoying my Carlos III brandy in the beautiful glass capsuled lobby of the Palau de Bellavista Hotel, I checked the market’s website.

“Opening times: Monday, from 7.30am to 2pm. Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday, from 7.30am to 3.30pm. Thursday & Friday, from 7.30am to 8.30pm.”

Gotcha, I was there on a Tuesday. Why did I assume they are open until 17:00? And why do they have strange irregular opening schedules? Anyway, those of you who want to visit this pretty market, please pay attention to the opening days and time so you will not be sorry like me.

Travel Period: November 2013
Destination: Barcelona (Catalonia), Spain

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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