Started my Barcelona tour in "la Ribera" quarter. This was an important part of the old city mainly inhabited by fishermen, artisans and porters. Later, a thriving new class of merchants moved away from the old city walls and started to build quite remarkable palaces in Gothic style. The jewel of the crown is, of course, the imposing church of Our Lady of the Sea whose bell tower was a reference point for sailors but whose real purpose was to show off the military and commercial pre-eminence of the Catalans in the Mediterranean during the late Middle Ages (In fact the church was commissioned by King Alfons III after the conquest of Sardinia)
Visiting the inside is a real must; I could only describe it as the "church of space and light". The wide central nave is not only spacious but harmonious, the cross-vaulted ceiling is supported by a surprisingly scarce number of slender columns and the soft light filtered through the coloured stained glass windows pervades all the interior with a feeling of calmness. If anyone has ever visited "la Chiesa di San Leo" in Venice probably understands what I'm saying.
My short ride took me through narrow medieval streets -mostly pedestrian areas nowadays- which strongly reminded me of strolling through Venice (no canals though...)