Exploring Las Ramblas de Barcelona Step by Step

Las Ramblas or La Rambla (from Arabic Ramla which means sand) is the finest identified landmark in Barcelona.

It is a 1.2 km extended and busy avenue, preferred with each tourists and locals. Las Ramblas is going down from Plaza de Catalunya all the way to the Columbus statue.

Strolling straight down Las Ramblas in Barrio Gotico you can take a look at its a lot of outlets or appreciate observing the a variety of street performers, of which some of them have an spectacular act or either existing a quite exclusive creature. Furthermore there are a number of newspaper kiosks, floral and animal stands.

On each sides of Las Ramblas are additionally many cafes and restaurants (including some of the best cheap tapas bars in Barcelona). Right here you can eat or drink one thing though observing the occupied road.

Ask anybody who’s going to visit Barcelona where they’d like to stay, and the common reply is “close to Las Ramblas”. This Barcelona promenade is the most famed street in the city, and is really an old brook bed.

Exploring Las Ramblas in Barcelona
Exploring Las Ramblas in Barcelona

Exploring Las Ramblas in Barcelona

The Barri Gotic or Gothic area used to be the old Barcelona (known in Roman times as “Barcino” ) and has a wall running around the city to protect it, with the main entrance the iron gates 1/2 way down the particular Ramblas, and know known as Portaferrissa (literally “Iron door” ). Flanking Barcino to the left was countryside and the Roman church of Sant Pau del Camp (Saint Paul of the countryside) which now is in the heart of the Raval.

Las Ramblas now dissects the old city – leaving El Raval ( also from Arabic meaning beyond the walls ) to the left and El Gotico to the right. The name “Las Ramblas” is essentially plural – meaning many ramblas all collected together. Ramblas has even coined its own word “ramblear” meaning to stroll / ramble as many neighbors and visitors do on weekends.

From the city’s main square – Playa Catalunya – down to the Port and the monument of Christopher Columbus, Las Ramblas epitomizes Barcelona and is a colourful, 24-hour street where you can find a mix of neighbors and tourists alike.

The whole of the promenade is dotted with paper kiosks which are open twenty-four hours, and is the best place to get your hot-off-the-press copy of the local and international news. 

Back in the day Las Ramblas applied to be a river bed that ran from the mountain tops to the sea.

The main areas of Las Ramblas

Although Las Ramblas is one steady street, it in fact is made up of 5 Ramblas:

– Rambla de Canaletes
– Rambla del Estudis
– Rambla del Sant Josep
– Rambla del Caputxins
– Rambla de Santa Monica

Rambla de Canaletes is the first Rambla starts at Plaza de Catalunya. This Rambla is named by a fountain. In accordance to a legend, when you consume from the fountain, you can preserve coming back again to Barcelona. The 2nd Rambla is Rambla del Estudis. It is named soon after a 16th century university, the Estudis Generals..

Starting from the top of Plaa Catalunya, and walking down to the port (also this is slightly downhill) we first have Rambla de Canaletes – named after the fountains at Plaa Catalunya. This part of Las Ramblas is a favourite for the local OAPs to collect and set the world to rights, as well as the typical hang out for the FC Barcelona fans after a victory ( particularly if it’s over their bitter rivals Real Madrid).

Next in the continual transition is Rambla de los Estudios (studies), which joins the Catalana Library on Calle infirmary, and is where the beginning of the street performers and human statues las Ramblas has become so feted for, start to appear.

Rambla de Sant Josep is so named for the famous market of Saint Joseph, also more commonly known as “La Boqueria” – allegedly Europe’s biggest food market selling everything edible under the sun.

This stretch is closely followed by Rambla de los capuxinos – some of the city’s finest and oldest cafs sit alongside the impressive Liceu Opera house and have been inspiration to several a visitor and writer to Barcelona. What easier way to stop and write a postcard than with a caf con leche here!? This part is often referred to as rambla de les flores, due to the many flower sellers crammed into the small space here, and is a dazzling place to visit in the saint George’s day celebrations ( the patron saint of Catalunya ) as roses are historically given on this day.

The following Rambla is Rambla del Sant Josep named immediately after a convent which was demolished in the mid 1900 and replaced by Mercat de Boqueria. La Mercat de Boqueria is a common coated fruit market. Here you can locate refreshing fish, vegetables, fruit and beef. Notice, the stalls close the entrance are the a lot expensive.

The fourth Rambla is Rambla del Caputxins. This Rambla is also named following a demolished building, Capuchin monasterysturdy. A very fascinating building, called Gran Movie house del Liceu, is situated at this portion of Las Ramblas.

The final stretch is Rambla de Santa Monica – named from the old Portal de Santa Monica still untouched on nearby Parallel street. Here the city’s many artists and caricature painters plant their stalls along with the everyday three cup conmen who never fail to attract interest. Crowning the base of Las Ramblas and the entrance to Port Vell ( “the old Port” is Christopher Columbus monument – pointing out towards Las Americas. Look for fantastic and inexpensive Ferienwohnungen Barcelona next to the Columbus monument.

This Rambla leads to a roundabout with the Columbus Monument. This portion of The Rambla is broader then the higher Ramblas and though strolling down be certain to glance to your still left and walk into Plaza True for a drink to cool off. If you are wanting for paintings from locals artists you should find most here, and at the end of Las Ramblas you can uncover a nice roundabout which has the statue of Colom as a middle concentrate point.

From Las Ramblas you can cross a bridge over the sea and carry on your practical experience by going into the Maremagnum complex.

Check out our guide on where to stay in Barcelona for more info on staying in Las Ramblas and hotel options.

Looking for more tips on Barcelona? Check out these posts:


Fitness Retreat in Mexico: Exercise While Exploring the Mayan Ruins

As we all can agree, we have heard and seen a lot about Mexico in news, social media and documentaries.

But, what is Mexico really like?

Is the news showing us the truth or is there more to see? This question was stuck in my head for a long period of time until one day I woke up, turned on my phone to check all the unread messages, get updated on Instagram and Facebook, and scroll through twitter.

But wait a minute, what is this? An add popped up and told me about an adventure & fitness retreat in Mexico.

Mexico, the country from the news I heard about? Like the motto: no risk no fun, I decided to get in contact with the agency. After just a few minutes they replied and a couple of minutes later I had my next vacation booked, this time to a fitness retreat in Mexico.

I had every feeling you can think of, I was nervous about the flight, a bit concerned about what I’ve heard so far about Mexico and absolutely excited to get there and see it all with my own eyes. I mean, I am going to an all inclusive fitness & adventure vacation!

This wasn’t your usual trip to Mexico!

The start of my adventure & fitness retreat in Mexico

The day has arrived and I was sitting in the window seat 8K to Mexico. A few flight hours later the plane touched down, the signs turned off, I grabbed my belongings and left the plane. My first reaction was just wow, ‘it is hot‘. I left home during a cold snowstorm and ended up in the Caribbean mid summer.

Once I left the airport hall, someone already called my name and gave me a refreshing cold Mexican beverage. I handed over all my bags, took my winter clothes off and followed him to the car. On the three-hour drive through the Mexican jungle, I could relax and he explained a bit about the Mexican and Mayan history to me. To be honest it felt like 20 minutes and we arrived to Mérida, the capital city of Yucatan. He also told me, that Mérida is one of the safest cities in all America.

Related Read: Visit Merida: The Cultural Hub of the Yucatan

After some delightful Mexican food we went to the hotel where I took a cold shower and fell asleep immediately. After a good night sleep and a powerful breakfast in the hotel, a very nice guy from the agency came to the hotel and informed me about the plan for the day.

What the ‘fitness’ part includes

On our way to the mangroves, we stopped at half way, went a little bit further off the road into the jungle and started with a stretch workout including bands and finished off with a nice and intensive routine with a massage gun to get the muscles loose.

Afterwards I felt really hyped and good for some kayaking. We went back into the car, drove past a beautiful alley close to the ocean with an astounding view over the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and 15 minutes later arrived to the mangroves. The kayaks got unloaded from the bed of the pickup and we were good to go to paddle through the incredible water forest.

A few hours later we headed back to the city, while stopping by the beach for a short beach workout. I found out, the guy from the agency was also a personal trainer. So we had a short workout on the warm and sandy beach with different strength and mobility exercises, depending on my skill level.

What can I say, I was K.O. But also very happy, so we headed back to the city, I took a quick shower and had a little bit of time to relax in the hotel.

In the evening I got picked up again and we went to his favorite authentic Mexican restaurant and ate tacos. The best tacos I have ever eaten, their flavor was unbelievably good.

After a good night of sleep, the plan for the upcoming day was to go and find out more about the Mayan culture with the visit of some of the oldest still existing Mayan ruins.

But this day I didn’t eat my breakfast in the hotel, instead I got picked up a bit earlier and we went for some Cochinita Pibil, a very typical meal you normally eat before midday in Yucatan. From there we headed south for about an hour and stopped at the first Mayan ruins.

Overall, I enjoyed this adventure and fitness retreat in Mexico. What was really cool about it, was the fact that we combined the sightseeing + cultural knowledge and fitness parts. For example we had a small race to find out who could run up the tallest pyramid the fastest and I won.

You get a little bit of everything!

Interested in learning more about the history & culture in Mexico? Check out these posts:


Exploring Mafia Island Tanzania: The ‘Far From Everything’ Place!

Mafia Island Tanzania is a cut of the antiquated Swahili Coast that extends along the Tanzanian and Kenyan coastline.

The name “Mafia”  is a turned form of the Arabic term morfieyeh, for aggregation that alludes to the Mafia archipelago.

Mafia Island appears to be unaffected by the hurrying around of whatever is left of the planet. Occupants of this cut of heaven proceed with their accepted lifestyle essentially undisturbed by the outside planet. That being said, if white sandy beaches and clear waters are your thing, Mafia is the spot to be!

Exploring Mafia Island Tanzania
Exploring Mafia Island Tanzania

Where is Mafia Island Tanzania?

This exceptional island is placed on the southern shore of Tanzania, close to the Rufiji Delta. It is 30 miles from north to south, and up to ten miles in broadness. Mafia Archipelago embodies one vast island (394 km²) and various more diminutive islands and uninhabited coral atolls arranged around the range of 120 km southeast of Dar-es-Salaam. It is for sure stunning that such an astonishing Island stays out of the way, an end just for the perceiving traveller.

Mafia is perfect for dynamic individuals, divers, mariners and walkers … searching for something truly distinctive, interesting and bizarre.

How do you get to Mafia Island?

To get to the island is by flights either from Zanzibar or from Dar es Salaam. Assuming that you need to see Mafia, you can take a transport from Dar es Salaam to Nyamisati which is on the edge of the territory bordering the Ocean, and thereupon by vessel to Mafia Island.

Exploring the Tanzanian island

Mafia Island Tanzania is a spot in the Pwani Region of Tanzania and is home to the biggest marine stop in East Africa. It gloats of the finest unbleached coral in the Indian Ocean and cases to have occupant Whale Sharks, something that lures divers from far and wide. Islands, sandbanks and vacation spots embody Mafia’s protected profound water safe haven and the first ever harbour.

The acceptable, ensured waters put forth phenomenal snorkeling, cruising and swimming prospects. Just past the Bay, a consistent reef develops for just about the length of the island, from Tutia in the south to Ras Mkumbi at the northern tip.

The history of this dreamy Island extends once again to the eighth century when Mafia assumed a huge part in aged exchange between the individuals of the Far East and terrain Tanzania.

The island is home to a collection of uncommon species incorporating green and hawksbill turtles, which sometimes lay their eggs on its wrack-strewn sunny shores. A 200m profound trough off the island is home to fish and marlin. Its individuals are fundamentally anglers; numerous additionally take part in little scale sustenance growth.

The Mafia Archipelago is a veritable heaven for nature significant others and jumpers and the ideal place for total unwinding.

The ‘far from everything’ place!

Mafia has a shocking and differed nature. This Archipelago will delight you with white sandy shores, otherworldly coral reefs, tropical vegetation ruled by huge palm forests, infringing baobab trees, apples and oranges trees. Additionally to be discovered in Mafia are Monkeys, little gazelles, wild pigs, lemurs and a minor settlement of diminutive person hippos. It is likewise a settling region for hawks and fish birds.

Things to do on Mafia Island

There are excursions offered on appeal to different islands in the Archipelago. The treks are carried out in conventional dhows to smaller islands like Jinbondo, Chole and Juani. On Chole Island there are a couple of self-guided trails that will take you around the island, e.g. the Bat Trail and the Village Trail. The trails furnish the chance of review a few destinations in Chole as an old German jail, the Persian ruins, market region and pontoon yard. You will likewise get to meet Chole’s cordial nearby individuals. Chole Island what’s more has a huge state of Comoro bats, a secured types of products of the soil consuming ‘flying foxes’

Once on Mafia Island, you can likewise investigate the neighborhood advertises in Utende and Kilindoni; appreciate the great Baobab trees and curious mangroves, which some way or another continue saline conditions; or only have a great time the sum without stress surroundings.

The island is a fine withdraw for enterprise looking for scuba divers, diversion anglers, and those absolutely in the chase for idyll unwinding and amusement.

There is convenience accessible on the pleasant island.

Hotels on Mafia Island

Search for hotels and resorts on Mafia Island in Tanzania below:


Israel Makhtesh landscape

Exploring Makhtesh Ramon in Israel

 

Guide to Makhtesh Ramon:

Makhtesh Ramon is a large, 40 Km diameter crater in the Negev Desert in the southern part of Israel. So what’s the difference between a “Crater” and a “Makhtesh”?

  • Crater – A roughly circular depression in the ground usually caused by volcanic activity, impact, or explosion.
  • Makhtesh – A crater-like geological formation created by erosion.

The word “Makhtesh” is the Hebrew word for a Mortar and Pestle. The geological landform was given this name because of its similarity to a grinding bowl.

There are only seven such craters in the world, five of them located in the Land of Israel and two in the Sinai Desert near the Egypt-Israel border. Of the five located in Israel, two are tiny near the summit of Mount Arif. The ones in the Sinia desert are also small.

That leaves us with the three main Makhteshim (craters) in Israel:

  • Makhtesh Hazera (also called the “Small” Makhtesh) is 7 km long, 5 km wide, and over 500 m deep.
  • Makhtesh Hatira (also called the “Big” Makhtesh) is 14 km long, 6 km wide, and about 400 m deep.
  • Makhtesh Ramon: The largest makhtesh in the world. Over 40 km long, 10 km wide, and about 400 m deep.

The term “Makhtesh” has been adopted internationally, and geological dictionaries use it when referring to the phenomena.

How was the “Maktesh” created?

The area was made of a harder top layer of rocks that covered underneath them softer rocks. Over millions of years, erosion removed the softer layer under the harder rock, until it eventually collapsed under their own weight, creating the carter-like valley we see today. This radical collapse of land created a unique “Geological Museum”.

Getting to Makhtesh Ramon

The crater is located nearby the small desert town of Mitspe Ramon (Population 5,000), about 2.5 hours drive from Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem. It is also served very well with public transport. However, exploring the crater without a car is limited, and therefore a hired car is highly recommended.

Lodging in and around Makhtesh Ramon

There is a wide range of accommodation options in town (Mitspe Ramon). You can spoil yourself in one of the most luxurious hotels in the country, the Bereshit Hotel. Besides the luxury, you will get a fantastic view of the Makhtesh directly from your private balcony.  On the other side of the spectrum, several hostels offer dormitories and modest private rooms. Besides, you can find many options in between. If you want to be closer to nature, you can sleep in the Beerot Campground located in the heart of the crater (The only lodging option inside the crater). You can sleep there in your own tent, but also in modest shacks and cabins.

Food & Dining

Mitspe Ramon is a sleepy small town. But it offers a decent selection of restaurants ranging from street food up to higher level. There are also a few pubs and a supermarket.

Tip – treat yourself with an authentic Bedouin dinner in the nearby village Arica. (Watch Video).

What to see and do?

Ramon Visitors Center

Go here first, as it will give a good introduction and understanding of what you are going to explore!

On the edge of the crater’s cliff sits the visitors center, a mandatory station before a visit to the area. The center includes observation from a panoramic window, dynamic-interactive exhibit, and a 3D model of the Makhtesh. The 2nd half of the center is dedicated to the story of Ilan Ramon (The first Israeli astronaut). Ilan was one of the seven crew members of the Columbia Space Shuttle that disintegrated upon reentering the earth’s atmosphere On February 1, 2003. The fact the Ilan’s last name is Ramon, lead to the idea to place this small museum here. It is recommended to book ahead of time. Phone: +972-8-6216859

Hiking

Makhtesh Ramon is a hiker’s paradise with a large selection of hiking trails at all levels. If you are looking for shorter hikes, there is a good selection in this Makhtesh Ramon Guide.  If you want a tougher hike, the classic is to climb to the summit of Mount Ardon. Alternatively, you can pick up a hiking map in the visitor’s center and plan your own walk. Free consultation on hiking trails is available in the Field School and Beerot Campground.

Jeep Tours

If you are not up to a hike or if you don’t have lots of time, a Jeep tour in the Maktesh is highly recommended. Several excellent local guides are offering this service. Tours are usually offered for a full or half a day.

Advantages:

  • The Makhtesh is large, and The Jeep tour will allow you to visit many more places in a short time (Compared to hiking).
  • Many sites cannot be reached by a passenger car, but you can visit them with the Jeep.
  • You can combine the tour with one or two short hikes.

Star Gazing

The nights in the Negev desert are dark and clear, with minimal light pollution. It makes them an excellent venue for Star Gazing. Several local guides offer this activity. They will take you to a dark area with a good telescope and lots of knowledge and stories.

Adrenalin Activities

If you into any of these, Makhtesh Ramon is a perfect arena to do it. The natural setting is like a big LunaPark, and there are plenty of professional local vendors offering the activities:

  • ATV tours.
  • Rappelling.
  • Mountain Biking.
  • Horseback Riding.
  • Camel Tours.
  • Archery.

Main Sights to visit with a passenger car:

Ancient Avdat

Avdat is a site of a ruined Nabataean town in the Negev Desert about 20 Kilometers north of Mitspe Ramon. It was the most important town along the ancient Incense Route after Petra. It was founded in the 3rd century BCE, and inhabited by Nabataeans, Romans, and Byzantines. Avdat was a seasonal camping ground for Nabataean caravans traveling along the ancient Gaza-Petra road during the 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE. Avdat was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005.

The impressive ruins are scattered on the flat summit of a steep hill, and include findings from 3 different eras:

  • Nabataean: warehouse, temple, a military camp.
  • Roman: burial caves, altar, watchtower.
  • Byzantian: Citadel, main street, houses, water supply systems, bathhouse.

Further reading: Wikipedia

Ramon Colors road

In the old days, nature conservation was not common in Israel. A large quarry was operating inside the Makhtesh. A few years ago, Nature and Parks Authority rehabilitated the abandoned mining area and converted it into an open geological museum displaying a variety of colorful rocks and fascinating geological phenomena.

Main sites:

  • Colored sand and rocks from the Jurassic era
  • Old mining equipment.
  • Small winter lake at the site of the open mine.

HaMinsara

The “Minsara” (Carpentry), is a small hill in the Ramon Crater, 5 minutes’ drive from Mitspe Ramon.  The hill is covered with sandstone columns featuring flat surfaces that look like wooden boards cut out in a carpentry shop. Most of them have 4-6 faces, some sticking out of the ground at a right angle while others scattered across the slope.

How was the ” Carpentry ” formed?
Hot magma that penetrated from the depths of the earth melted the sandstone. The rock expanded, and after cooling down, it shrank and cracked, creating the rock prisms that are scattered here.

Lot’s Cisterns

A group of 17 human-made waterholes, dug during King Solomon’s period (10th century BCE). Today, 3000 years later, they still get filled with water each winter. The sight of water in the desert is always delightful, and there is an easy 4 km circular trail that passes through the cisterns.

Sculpture Park

The Sculpture Park is located on the edge of Ramon Crater near the entrance to Mitzpe Ramon. Scattered over a large area are sculptures built of huge rocks. Some are musical sculptures, including metal swings filled with gravel, which make noise while swinging, a “Gong” complex with large bells, and a wind chime device. The park merges beautifully with the desert scenery from the edge of the crater’s cliff.

The Spice Quarter

In recent years, the sleepy desert town Mitspe Ramon, started to attract artists and other spiritual characters from the busy cities of central Israel. The small industrial area in the north of the city converted into what is called today the “Spice Quarter”. The area became a place of artists, creators, artisans, and dreamers. It is a pleasant place to ramble and have a drink or a bite.

Sunset and Sunrise

The Sunrise or Sunset over Makhtesh Ramon is breathtaking. Both sky and earth are painted in magical reddish shades. Recommended spots are the lookout balcony near the visitor center or the Sculpture Park. If you feel more energetic, take a walk on the scenic trail that starts at the visitor’s center and goes west following the crater’s edge. The path is about 3 kilometers long, flat, and easy to follow. It ends at the Camel Mountain lookout on the outskirts of Mitzpe Ramon.