Being a tourist in my own city – Barcelona
Barcelona has been my home now for 16 years and it’s safe to say that from time to time, as awesome as the city is, I sometimes take it for granted. I spend a lot of my time rushing from A to B with out stopping to reflect over what happens around me (if it’s not a new café or restaurant that is).
So when Sean contacted me from Original Europe tours and he offered me to be a tourist in my own city for a morning, I knew that it was exactly what I had to do, rediscover my city –Barcelona.
Said and done, yesterday morning I headed fresh-faced and excited with my backpack filled with water, sneakers on my feet and my camera in hand towards the meeting point of Free walk tour in La Rambla with Pelayo, in the centre of Barcelona.
I met up with fellow tourists of the tour and our guide Alex. We were a small group, I have to say I´m happy we were few people because we really got to pick Alex´s brain and we got to share our stories, which can be complicated in bigger groups.
Our guide Alex Cunningham, from Irland, is a student of Spanish history at the university, with his knowledge and the don of engaging us during the whole walk tour was great. He really showed a genuine passion for Barcelona and its history.
He is a brilliant tour guide, I think I can speak on behalf of the rest of the group when I say that we all felt very welcome and impressed by his positive energy!
So, Alex, my hat´s off to you!
The Free walk tour starts with a walk down La Rambla, one of the first stops is the famous food market La Boqueria. The beautiful stalls with fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat amazed us, all very picture perfect. All the vendors trying to decorate its stall better then it´s a neighbour to attract more clients.
At every stop, Alex surprised us with interesting stories and facts about that specific place in Barcelona that we never heard before.
Before we enter the labyrinthine old streets of the Jewish quarters in the Gotico neighbourhood, we visit Plaza Real that would be the equivalent to Plaza Mayor in Madrid, here we see one of the first architects works by the famous architect Antonio Gaudí.
Among Antonio Gaudí ´s most famous works we find; Sagrada Familia (still under construction), Casa Batlló, La Pedrera and Parc Güell, which can all be found in Barcelona.
All the palm trees that can be found around Barcelona were planted just be for the Olympic Games in 1992. There two different kinds that can be found in Plaça Real, the tall ones were imported from Miami and the shorter and stockier ones origin from Egypt.
We walk up to the impressive cathedral of Barcelona and around its buildings, inhaling its Gothic architecture, our guide explained that during this period the church had a lot of power and with the design, it wanted to impress and make its followers feel small, scared and insignificant.
The tour ends at the Arc de Triomf where we get to know why exactly Barcelona has its own victory arch.
But before that, we see the impressive Parc de la Ciutadella that was reconstructed for the 1888 Barcelona international exposition ( a hint to why Barcelona has its own triumph arch).
Here you can easily lose a couple of hours strolling between the golden waterfall, the small artificial lake, the zoo and just enjoy people watching.
It’s a good walk, but it doesn’t feel long or tiring since we had frequent stops to learn about the interesting history of Barcelona.
I would truly recommend everybody (new in town –expat – tourist) I know to do the Free walk tour, you learn a lot and you get to see the city with different eyes.
The walking tour doesn’t include entrances to churches or other buildings, so when the tour is over one can backtrack the tour and entre to the places of choice and end up in La Boqueria for a meal.
The tour is free of charge, but make sure you tip the guide after because that’s how he/she makes his/her money for the tour given.
Free Walk tour by Original Europe tours- when?
10.30 and 14.30
Corner of Mcdonalds and Burger King at the beginning of La Rambla / Calle Pelayo, 62, Barcelona, Spain, 08001
**I was invited to as a guest to Free walk tour by Original Europe tour, all word and opinions are my own.