Having absorbed as much as we could for the time being, we wandered back over to Las Ramblas to finish up our walking tour so we could begin exploring the Barri Gòtic area (because of the location of our apartment, we were doing the guidebook’s tour in reverse). The sun was lower in the sky at this point and was casting beautiful streams and colors of light in the alleys. It was so playful and beautiful. The narrow, winding streets make the city so much fun to explore and the sunlight do such interesting things. It also keeps the streets much cooler throughout the day, as the buildings are made of stone and are very tall and close together; all these things work together to keep the sun and heat in check. Certain streets may be hot for an hour or two, but once the sun moves it quickly cools off again. I felt like I was in heaven. We stopped by the the Font de Canaletes (Fountain of Troughs/Gutters) to get a drink and fill up our water bottles. Legend says that if you drink from the fountain, you will one day return to Barcelona. Jesse and I thought it was worth a shot. This particular fountain (there were several predecessors) was installed in 1888 after the city tore down its old Medieval wall and transformed its old drainage ditch into Las Ramblas (Rambla means “stream” in Arabic), the beautiful promenade. This particular area has been historically important (so important that this section of Las Ramblas is called La Rambla de Canaletes), as during Medieval times (~16th century) the water for the city was channeled through this area. It become a popular meeting place as the water here was known for being the best in the city. The original fountain also drew extra crowds due to its proximity to one of the old city gates, La Porta de Santa Anna, as many temporary laborers would gather there in hopes of finding employment. We meandered across La Plaça de Catalunya, a 12-acre square that links old Barcelona (south of the square) to new Barcelona, the renowned modernista district to the north. After the medieval walls were torn down in the 1850s, this is one of the first areas to be developed. The stone monument was built in honor of President Francesc Macià i Lussà, who declared Catalunya an independent region in 1931. The inverted-staircase shape represents the approximate shape of Catalunya. We crossed the street headed towards Barri Gòtic via Avinguda del Portal de l’Angel, one of the main streets that led into ancient Barcelona through the old city’s “Gate of the Angel.” An angel statue once stood over the gate, guarding the city from plagues and blessing travelers safe journeys as they left the safety of the city walls. Barri Gòtic is the birthplace of Barcelona, where the Romans built the original city. The confusing web of medieval streets are packed with so many beautiful historical sites (I was still in awe over the richness of the city). Jesse and I quickly fell in love with it, once we got past the bustling high-end shopping area of Avinguda del Portal de l’Angel. It was full of surprises and many precious gems buried amongst all the modern buildings, but you’ll have to wait until next time to read more about it.