Saturday, September 17, 2011

Nocturnal Urban Hiking: Bario Gotico, Barcelona

The Gothic Quarter in Barcelona is the heart of the oldest architecture in the city. The neighborhood used to be a Roman village, some buildings and streets dating back to pre-medieval times. You will see the remains of a Roman wall to the north of the district. Within the district lie important sites such as the Avinguda de la Catedral, the Placa Reial and its stunning arcade teeming with tourists but more notably youth from midnight until the sun comes up, and El Call the medieval Jewish quarter. Personally, I was most truck with the labyrinthine nature of the ancient streets where it is nearly impossible to catch your bearings as you wind through them during the evening. Many streets house  a couple tiny bars, cafes, ice cream shops open at night. If you wander down the wrong cobblestoned direction, you may find yourself in desolate corridors of tall old buildings darkly lit by lanterns or candles on the ground. What follows are some snaps taken during a night of wandering.


Above and below, different views of one of the many small plazas the streets open into.



I could easily see myself drawn to this quarter for living...D and I fantasized about cashing in our chips and running a small bar, jut us and the J, living above one of these tiny streets.



I'm not going to lie and say it felt perfectly safe. As we took some ill informed turns there were moments that felt decidedly sinister with certain ne'er do well groups behaving just dastardly enough to make D uncomfortable.



Then occasionally you happen past an inviting and beautifully lit restaurant, tapas bar or cafe.




A row of scooters or an automated bicycle rental rack are always signs of population. If you can find your directional bearings and head west you will most likely spill back onto La Rambla and the familiarity there.


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