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Walk Down The Ramblas

Visitors to Barcelona are in luck this summer because Barcelona expert and author of the acclaimed Going Native in Catalonia will be giving guided walking tours of the city’s famous Ramblas this summer. The Tour is called A Walk Down The Ramblas with Simon Harris and I ask Simon to tell us something about it.

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Why Did You Decide To Give A Walking Tour Of The Ramblas?

Well, I don’t know if you remember but I began playing with the idea of giving guided walking tours last summer, and began to research the tours that were already available. There are plenty involving tapas and the rest are centred either on specific Modernista Monuments or the Barri Gòtic. What interested me about the Ramblas is that they are a living, breathing and ever-changing part of the city whereas the monument-oriented tours struck me as being a little dead.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Barri Gòtic but in many ways its story reaches its climax in the 15th century, which means you tend to focus on the quite distant past. Along The Ramblas, however, new things are happening all the time and they constantly change depending the time of year or even the day of the week.

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Are The Ramblas really so important to Barcelona?

Yes, I think so. If you ask most people to name three things about Barcelona, I reckon they’d probably say Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia, FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou and The Ramblas. The Sagrada Familia is probably the last great cathedral that will ever be built, you know my feelings about the greatest football team on the planet and The Ramblas is the mirror in which the Barcelonans see themselves reflected. Spend a minute on The Ramblas and you’ll know whether the overriding atmosphere of the city is optimistic or revolutionary, frivolous or proud. They’re a place where all social classes meet for many different reasons, which makes them a kind of thermometer for the city.

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Have they always been so central to the city?

Definitely, and that’s what makes the Ramblas Walking Tour so interesting. They began life as a seasonal river that ran outside the medieval city walls, which became used as a sewer and gradually clogged up so people began walking along it. It was the only wide avenue in a very overcrowded Barcelona until the late 19th century and has been the city’s main street for around 700 years.

It’s also the place where Barcelonans have always gone to have fun. It was where public hangings were celebrated, its the site of Barcelona’s two great rival theatres – El Liceu and the Principal – and its where we Barça fans go to celebrate our quite frequent victories. There’s also La Boqueria – officially the greatest public market in the world, and Drassanes -the most amazingly preserved medieval shipyards not to mention the sites where Orwell witnessed Spanish Civil War battles and so much more.

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It sounds amazing. What’s the itinerary?

This will probably change but at the moment I’m only running the walk on Friday and Saturday mornings. The groups have a maximum of 10 participants and we meet at 10 am at the top of The Ramblas outside Catalunya Metro station – any later and the top section just gets too full of people!

We then make our way down sometimes going off into sidestreets with me explaining Barcelona history and Catalan culture through the stories behind the buildings and places and quite a few personal anecdotes. We have a short coffee included in the price at the magnificent Cafè de l’Òpera. Once at the bottom we take a quick look at the port and then work our way up to Plaça Reial and Liceu Metro station.

The whole trip takes about three hours but I’m thinking of including a lunch option probably for a small extra 15 price so that people will have plenty of opportunities to pick my brain. I actually recommend people coming on The Walk Down The Ramblas at the start of their stay in Barcelona because the amount of advice I can give them will not only make their time here more enjoyable but also will probably save them some money.

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So How Do People Book ‘A Walk Down The Ramblas’?

Well, it’s taken me so long time to get started because I wanted a really easy to use and secure booking system and after a lot of searching I manage to find one with a booking calendar showing available dates and then a way of paying either by PayPal or Credit Card. So if you want to book go directly to the Walk Down The Ramblas Booking Page and if you’re interested you can also Read More About The Ramblas in my travel guide.

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