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Published: July 26th 2008
Well I finally got to do some sightseeing!! I've been in Barcelona a week already and while I know my route from my flat to the school like the back of my hand this is the first time I've been to see anything more interesting than the nearest metro stop! Ivan was waiting for me outside my building when I bounced out of the front door, guide book and metro map in hand and camera swinging round my neck. Ok so maybe the weren't the most attractive accessories to put with my outfit but they definitely made me feel like I was on holiday for a change!
We started our sightseeing tour with Sagrada Familia and I was amazed just how close to my house it is. I could walk there in a couple of minutes - perhaps I could revisit one evening (if I ever have an evening free of lesson planning that is!)
We joined the long queue at the front and gradually got closer to the cathedral. Once inside I pretended to study the carvings of the Passion very intently while eavesdropping on an English tour guide who was standing nearby.
Gaudi began work on La Sagrada Familia
(Temple of the Holy Family) in 1882 and continued to work on it until his death in 1926. The cathedral has never been completed and still remains a shell. There is also a lot of rennovation/construction work going on at the moment so as we walked into the cathedral we had the impression of walking into a building site! Scaffolding, tools and things filled the inside seeming out of place with the beautiful stained glass and vaulted ceilings.
We walked out the back to view the east facade which depicts the nativity scene. It was definitely my favourite part of the building - as well as being the most complete part of the cathedral it is also the only part overseen by Gaudi himself. We explored the museum inside which included some of the original sketches and models for the cathedral.
After La Sagrada Familia we went in search of more Gaudi, and walked to Parc Guell. We entered an upper part of the park and enjoyed the views across the city. I did however notice a large hand painted sign hanging out of a window saying 'Tourist go home. park need air' which Ivan found very funny until I
pointed out that I'm here as a student not a tourist at which point we decided I was probably allowed to stay!
We soon found the Gaudi arcitecture in the park. Parc Guell was built for Don Eusebi Guell, Gaudi's main patron. It was intended to be a housing site but was unsuccessful and only two houses were ever built. We saw the Casa-Museu Gaudi - a house that was designed by Berenguer, a pupil of Gaudi's. Gaudi himself lived there with his family for 20 years between 1906 and 1926.
We walked around the famous rooftop terrace with it's distinctive curved benches covered in broken ceramic pieces and then walked out of what is actually the main entrance - two 'gingerbread cottages' and a staircase with a sea serpent! It was a beautiful place to visit - very whimsical and unusual.
We headed for Las Ramblas for lunch and then visited Barcelona's cathedral. Construction began in 1298, during the bishopric of Bernat Pelegrí and the reign of King Jaume II, known as "the Just". The work on the present-day façade of the Cathedral remained unfinished until the end of the last century, being completed by the architects Josep Oriol
Mestres and August Font i Carreras. The interior was typically dark and gloomy but I enjoyed seeing the various shrines and altars to the saints and when we took the lift up to the roof the views were stunning. We found a bench on the roof and sat there for some time eventually deciding we should leave in case the cathedral closed while we were still up there!
We took a long route home, stopping to view the cathedral cloisters and then walking to Placa Sant Jaume where we saw the gothic Casa de la Ciutat (Town Hall) and the renaissance Palau de la Generalitat de catalunya (Government of Catalonia). Finally warn out with sighseeing we returned home.
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