Tourist attractions in Barcelona are well known by all and enjoyed by tourists who visit the city for a short period as long-stay visitors who come to Barcelona to study, to work or for other reasons. One of the most emblematic streets that for sure you’ve heard about although you haven’t been yet in Barcelona is La Rambla, commonly known as Las Ramblas. The name of this avenue that goes from Plaza Catalunya to the Paseo de Colón, is plural because each part of it receives a different name: Rambla de Canaletes, Rambla de los estudios, Rambla de San José, Rambla de los Capuchinos y Rambla de Santa Mónica, in that order from top to bottom.
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This avenue is full of tourists, merchants, inhabitants of the city, stalls selling souvenirs of the city, artists painting and selling caricatures, dancers or musicians who ask for money, people sitting or walking, etc., and if you try to go across it in a summer day the experience can be a bit stressful. Still, is worth to visit it because, as a person from Barcelona, I admit that it is one of the most beautiful and lively streets I’ve ever seen.
Another basic attractions of Las Ramblas are the human statues on display on it. They are artists who have applied and done their show in front of an artistic jury within the City Council of Barcelona and are “allowed” to occupy this public space with their costume, their character or their characterization which probably receive attention and money. Although it may seem random, each statue/person standing on Las Ramblas, has its place and its time to work: 27 workers are divided into two shifts, morning and evening, and they have a license to operate in exchange for 189 euros monthly fee. Every time someone throws a coin in their box, they change their position or scare who has dared to come close to them, depending on the character they have created in each case. Recently there has been some controversy around these statues as they were moved to the final part of the Ramblas, in which there are fewer people and hence the money they get decreases. The City Council argues that is to avoid the crowds in the middle of this walk so the pickpockets can’t steal. Ie, the measure is for safety.
Leaving aside the controversial decisions of the City Council to put some “order” in the city, letting the authenticity, spontaneity and naturalness of a city that manages itself is losing every day, you can’t miss out on to walk among the human statues of Las Ramblas that remain surprisingly static until someone throws a coin, and they can make their brief artistic change of position or show. There are characters that would deserve to be in a theater or have their own show for sure!
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