> Barcelona - Barri Gotic and Waterfront

The Barri Gotic is one of Barcelona's oldest neighborhoods, complete with Roman ruins, Gothic churches, irregularly-shaped plazas, and random art: a facade decorated with stylized Biblical scenes, another with old-fashioned painted curliques, a huge stick figure hanging from a building. At night the area, especially near the Picasso Museum, boasts a lively bar/restaurant scene, and even though it's dark and twisty and easy to get lost in, it still feels remarkably safe. Near the waterfront, the curvy old-town alleys of Barri Gotic lead down to the Passeig deu Colon - Christopher Columbus Street - and the modern waterfront, which looked to have been built for or maybe after the 1992 Olympics. The bridge looks impressive, a sweeping curve of metal rails with a section that pivots to allow boats in and out of the harbor. With the benches and the views, it's a great place to sit and relax after wandering the town and the Ramblas (which stretch from the Columbus statue at the waterfront up to the Placa Catalunya, more or less the city center) all day.