La Vida Dulce!
We are traveling to Spain for the next few blogs. Up today is Barcelona and the Sagrada Familia.
“Sue, there must be something you can do with our timeshare” said my husband. So that’s what I did. I found a Marriott Resort on the Spanish Costa Del Sol that was just right and I built a trip around it. Be careful what you ask for when dealing with this travel hound. So we started our grand tour in Barcelona!
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is located on the Mediterranean in Northern Spain. It has is own unique culture and language, Catalan. It is a very vibrant city and is proud of its football team, Barca. In 1992 they hosted the Olympics and the whole city which had turned inland, discovered its ocean front and redeveloped its port, bringing cruise ships and beach lovers to its shores.
Of course, what I came to see was Antoni Gaudi’s, “God’s Architect”, masterwork in progress, the Sagrada Familia. Started in 1883, it is the longest running architectural project in the world. So far it has been under construction for 130 years! Gaudi knew that it would not be completed in his lifetime, so he constructed plaster models to guide future generations of his vision. In 1936 during the Spanish Civil war, anarchists smashed the models into pieces. Today, using computer technology, the models are being carefully reassembled to interpret his vision.
TIP: By your tickets in advance online or at your hotel to skip the line that wraps around the Basilica.
Gaudi’s vision was to tell the history of the Catholic faith in one building. When completed it will have a total of 18 towers dedicated to the apostles, the evangelists, the Virgin Mary and finally Jesus Christ. Two of the towers are open to visit adjacent to the Nativity and the Passion façades. At the top, you will get a marvelous view of Barcelona.
Note: Barcelona for the most part is handicapped accessible. This was of interest to me because I was recovering from a broken foot and was in a boot. The buses and most of the Metro have ramps and elevators in the Metro stations. Curb cuts have also been installed in the city. The Sagrada Familia has a ramp to enter the Bascilica but the towers are not accessible. They have an elevator to take you up part way, but there are some stairs to be navigated.
Moving inside one gets a feeling of walking through an enchanted forest. Gaudi felt that one was closest to God in the forest. I was in awe looking up at the columns as they rise in the air and fan out at the top. The stained glass windows are like nothing I have ever seen in a cathedral, colorful and playful. As you can see, the windows are still a work in progress.
60 minutes did a great feature on the Sagrada Familia. I highly recommend watching it here. It is around 13 minutes long.
Gaudi was obsessed with the Sagrada Familia and in 1910 he abandoned most other commissions and dedicated himself to the project, even sleeping up in the workshop on site. In 1926, just shy of his 75th birthday, he was hit by a trolley and was tossed on side of the road. People thought he was a tramp because of his appearance. He did not care for the things of this world and was shabbily dressed.
Some say that the target for completion is 2026 marking Gaudi’s 100th birthday, depending on donations. “God’s Architect” Antoni Gaudi’s vision for the Basilica is an architectural and engineering wonder. Well worth a visit to Barcelona!
I found this app to be helpful:
Barcelona Unbound: A Travel Guide
Up next, the Alhambra in Granada! Vamanous!