Published: May 13th 2005May 13th 2005
Wednesday I had some free time so I took off to La Sagrada Familia, the main attraction of Barcelona. Here's what my Lonely Planet guide has to say on the subject:
If you have time to see only one sight in Barcelona, this emblem of the city, and the work to which Gaudí dedicated most of his working life, should probably be it. It takes up a whole block of l'Eixample, has its own metro station and is the most talked about and visited unfinished building site in the world. After more than 120 years, the church is still only half complete
I am quoting Lonely Planet how very wanderlusty of me.
Gaudí was an architect and an über-Catholic and a tortured genius. He built a lot of interesting things around Barcelona but Sagrada Familia was his masterpiece. They started building the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in 1882. Gaudí wanted three façades for the Cathedral- The Nativity, the Glory, and the Passion. They haven't even started on the Glory yet and that's supposed to be the centerpiece! At first people were excited about his project but funding and enthusiasm died down and he pretty much went crazy and sold everything to build it and he took to sleeping on the site until he was hit by a tram and died in 1926.
But! In 1936 anarchists broke into Gaudí's studio and destroyed most of his models and plans. Darn them! Gaudí was only alive during construction of part of the Nativity façade and the new head architect (who made the Passion façade) is a committed
atheist who is basically doing whatever he wants. The Lonely Planet book says his statues are "kitschy". Ouch!
Well I just had to see it! I left Terrassa around 9:30 and after a minor SNAFU with the Metro I did arrive in Barcelona intact and I walked over to the Sagrada Familia. I could tell I was getting close when the hoards of dredlocked backpackers began to thicken. And then I saw it, wow it's this huuuuge bizarre looking cathedral with cranes all over it. I can't even describe it propery. I paid my 8 Euro admission and I joined the crowd. I started by the Passion façade and went inside and there's all sorts of saws going and sparks flying and scaffolding everywhere but it definitely has potential.
Then around the other side is the Nativity. I'm no architecture afficionado but it really is interesting. There isn't a straight line on that side.
Then you go up. You have two choices, pay 2 Euros and wait 30 minutes and take the lift or walk up the stairs. Weenies. I saved my two Euros and headed for the stairwell. People had told me it was soooo hard
but it really wasn't that bad. You're in this teensy spiral staircase that screams claustrophobia with 300 of your closest European friends but it goes really slowly, you walk up 3 stairs and then wait 10 seconds. And if you're lucky you get to stand by those little skinny windows that Medieval people shoot arrows out of.
So after about half an hour of that I reached the top. You can see all of Barcelona and Gaudí was very attentive to detail:
When asked why he fussed so much about the embellishments on top of the towers - which nobody would ever see - he replied, "the angels will see them"
I don't know I think he should have gotten his priorities straightened out if you ask me.
After you climb back down you go through the museums where there are drawings of what La Sagrada Familia will look like when it is completed, hopefully by 2026. I will definitely be back to Barcelona to see it!
This weekend the Garcia's are going camping and they said that I could come to but instead I am going to hang out here in Terrassa. This evening I went out with about a dozen of Mireia's students, I had a lot of fun! We went to this café and we had those chocolate drinks like
Passion Façade statues
I don't think they're bad
the Starbucks Chantico but REAL. I ordered the mini one for like 1 Euro and it was still too big for me to finish! We talked in castellano and English for a couple of hours then I came back to eat dinner and now I think I'm babysitting. Tomorrow I will go to Barcelona again probably and then on Sunday I am going to an amusement park with the girls again. Next week I am going to start my language exchanges which should be fun!
There are more photos below