The Pintor Fortuny street (L'Antic Forn restaurant), begins to the left of Les Rambles (facing away from the sea) and ends in the MACBA (Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona) interesting for those who can understand the contemporary art.
The MACBA is in the rationalist building of Richard Meier near l'Antiga església del Convent dels Àngels (16th century, gothic style) now it's a part of the MACBA (La Capella) and la Casa de la Caritat (House of Mercy - 18th century) today house of CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona).
El Raval is one part of the Ciutat Vella (Old City). Raval means the territory that opens out of the walls. It was between the second wall (built for Jaume I in 1268 - Les Rambles) and third and last wall (Pere el Cerimoniós, 1348 - Pelai street, Ronda Sant Antoni, Ronda Sant Pau, Paralel). The Rondes were the guard patrols track along the wall. The first wall was the Roman.
Near Les Rambles, in the beginning of the street Pintor Fortuny, we find the sculpture of the Fortuny painter - 19th century - who almost reaches the impressionism. In my opinion he has a genial work, we can admire some of his works in the MNAC of Barcelona, as La Vicaría.
Turning down, in the street Xucla is La Granja Viader, since 1870, one chocolate shop where they invented the Cacaulat, a popular chocolate shake. There are famous sites in the other side of Les Rambles, but Viader have the best suïssos (Swiss: chocolate fused with whipped cream), no discussion.
Just in the corner of Carme street we meet the baroque Esglèsia de Betlem. There they gave me some sacraments until confirming me to the atheistic faith.
Walking down for Les Rambles, we come to La Boquería, an old market a bit contaminated by the tourism but still preserves its popular taste. Very recommended.
Coming on the market we reach to the former Hospital de la Santa Creu (15th century) now it's the place of La Biblioteca de Catalunay (Catalan Library), a beautiful and peaceful space.
To Les Rambles again and walking down the sea, we will pass front el Gran Teatre del Liceu (1847 - The Opera House). It's the place of pleasure for music lovers and the place of exhibition for the bourgeois Catalans too. In 1994 an ambitious project of reconstruction crashed against the opposition of the well-organized neighbors, the conflict was solved by a "accidental" fire that devastated it totally and justified the reconstruction.
The inside of El Raval was populated historically by the most marginal classes. Near the seaport it turned into a place of prostitution. In times of the Republic they were tried to dignify until the Civil War started. Someone called it el Barri Xinès (Chinatown), no Chinese was living at the time there, but by ignorance they was thought that it could be like that, this name is an obsolete expression. Now it has filled for infinity of peoples of the most different races, cultures, languages and religions. The Town Hall is trying to improve the life and decrease the density creating new open spaces as La Rambla del Raval.
In the street Nou de la Rambla the Palau Güell gets up. It was the first great order that Gaudí received (1890). It is a modernist exceptional and worrying work, seems to be inspired by mixtures of oriental architecture. For me it has some gothic look, it scared me a bit... when I was a child.
Front the port there is Les Reials Drassenes de Barcelona (royal shipyards) a civil Gothic building, its construction began in the 13th century. Galleys were builds for the Corona d'Aragó fleet that managed to dominate the Mediterranean. With the occupation of the Bourbon army in the 18th century, the shipyards were moved out of Catalonia. Today it shelters the Maritime Museum.
Les Rambles is a walk from Plaça Catalunya to the monument to Colon (Exposition Universal 1888) in the harbour. Christopher Colon indicates with the finger the exit to the sea, it would be a bit confused if he is pointing to America. Les Rambles is a sequence of segments with different names, the nearest to the Plaça Catalunya is La Rambla de Canaletes, with the Canaletes fountain (1860). It is said that the one who drinks this water will return to Barcelona. In the middle there are kiosks, florist and animals shops (observed closely by the animals protectors). The last section is La Rambla de Santa Monica, now it's built a bridge that they are called La Rambla del Mar (of the Sea).
In another time there were walking picturesque, alternative (counterculture) people and transgressors. Now it looks as a place of obliged visit of the tourists to see the human sculptures. I don't feel proud at all for it.Take care
"Please do not leave your baggage unattended" We listen in the airports, this warning is valid also in our city. I do not believe that in Barcelona exists an especially worrying delinquency, but it is true that there are some lovers in catching what is not theirs. The first targets are the tourists. The tourists are easily recognisable, show cameras and short, coloured clothes that they would not dare to dress in their village. (I do not complain). They move unconcernedly looking at everything with curiosity and leave their bag in the chair of a terrace... The loss of the personal documentation, the credit cards and the money bothers a trip. (Without thinking about the disappearance of the ticket of Leonard Cohen concert). Please... take care.