Welcome to the start of a short week, I hope everyone had an amazing long weekend! Every time I put together one of these Barcelona posts I get a serious case of wanderlust and to help combat the feeling yesterday I booked flights, hotels, and transpiration for most of my travels from now until the end of September. But for now, back to Spain. In addition to our Barcelona bike tour my mom and I also took a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter to get acclimated with the Spanish city on our trip last month. Last Fall I took a wonderful walking tour in Prague so when planning for Spain I did a great deal of research on the best walking tour in the lively seaside city and decided on the free Runner Bean Tour focusing specifically on Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, a charming a section of small, windy narrow streets.
The week before we arrived they had moved the Spring-Summer timetable and as such we were able to take the 4:30pm tour which began at the Plaça Reial, next to the water fountain. Over two and a half hours we strolled at a leisurely pace beginning in the Royal Square, a very happening central meeting spot, where we viewed two lamps designed by Gaudi, the only public commission in his lifetime. From there we went on to the Santa Maria del Pi church which is named after the pine tree in the square and then while we wandered down narrow streets and back alleys we learned all about Santa Eulalia, the patron saint of the city who died when she was 13 and their are memorials all over the city devoted to her.
We then went back in time as we entered the Jewish section of the Gothic Quarter and I was impressed with just how much history our guide had to share about the Jews in Barcelona from the 12th century through the Black Plague. The history lesson included a walk by the Ancient Synagogue of Barcelona whose origins date back to the 3rd century. As we continued on we passed the city center with the government buildings, where our bike tour began, and learned about the history of St. George from another guide’s perspective. Then onwards we went to the to the highest point of the city and the Temple of Augustus, Barcelona and the MUHBA Temple d’August with the four columns dating back more than 2,000 years casually located in a small medieval courtyard.
After learning about the Santa Eulalia earlier in the tour I was surprised to learn that the Barcelona Cathedral, which we had visited the day before, is called The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. Not only had I missed the name of the church but also the fact that there were the 13 famous white geese in the cloister which I made a point to go see while the group took a water and bathroom break. The last point of note on the tour, and something we definitely would have not seen otherwise, was the Church of Saint Philip Neri, which, while pallored in comparison to many of the nearby sacred spaces but is famous as Gaudi went to pray there everyday and in the famous story where he got hit (and eventually died) after being hit by a trolly on his way back from this Church.
Have you ever been on a walking tour?