This week I have been in Barcelona. Not the planet Barcelona, the city Barcelona. I didn’t go to Spain for La Tomatina, the whole tomato thing just doesn’t float my boat. If I can’t eat a tomato I certainly haven’t got the right to throw one! So, basically it was a casual mid-week weekend to meet up with my friend, Amy, who had been island hopping in Greece.
We had planned to meet at the airport, but both of us quickly realised that we had landed at separate airports! So I hopped on an Aerobus headed for the hostel hoping she would do the same. I was viciously hot walking about in my pants and t-shirt, but I don’t know what kind of compromise you can make going from 13°C to 32°C. Fortunately, five minutes after reaching the hostel, Amy arrived. One massive catch up and my first cola in 36 days (!) later we were off on our first walking tour.
Operator: Travel Bound
Area: Gothic Quarter
Duration: 2 1/2 hours
Somehow I always manage to find the kiwis when I go traveling! Our guide was Jamie, a young New Zealand traveller who has been living in Barcelona for two years to lose himself in language. He was witty and engaging so the tour flew by. He covered a huge amount of history from the Roman Period, the Inquisition in 1492, and Christopher Columbus to the massive artistic heritage and complex modern political situation.
I hardly know what to focus on, but since this blog post can’t possibly hold every story Gothic Barcelona has to offer I will tell you the happy tale of Eulalia, the Patron Saint of Barcelona who was martyred around the year 303 AD at the age of 13.
During the 3rd Century BC, Eulalia began preaching the story of Jesus in Barcelona while it was under the dominion of Rome’s Emperor Diocletian. The Roman’s had been having a problem with this sort of behaviour all over the Empire for a few hundred years now. In an attempt to prevent Eulalia converting the pagan population to Christianity, the later of which was seen as an underground society threatening the stability of the Empire, Roman soldiers tortured Eulalia in thirteen different ways. One for every year of her life.
Some of the torture methods include being placed in a barrel full of knives and rolled down a hill (now Baixada de Santa Eulalia “Saint Eulalia’s Descent“), cutting off her breasts, crucifixion, and ultimately decapitation. It is said that from the stump of her freshly decapitated neck flew a dove. After being cared for in caves and hide outs until the 14th Century, Eulalia’s body is now interred in the Cathedral named after her.
With such happy stories in our mind the tour ended and Amy and I joined Jamie for Sangria and Tapas in a port-side restaurant managed by Travel Bound. Happy days!
We walked back to the hostel along Las Ramblas and it was bliss.