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Published: April 4th 2016
I am one of those people that likes to plan things well in advance. Therefore, when I heard that it could take over 2 hours to enter the Sagrada Familia, I decided to book entrance tickets online. I booked the Basilica entrance and the Nativity tower at 9:00 am and 9:30 am, respectively. However, when we reached the basilica, there was no queue. Nevertheless, I guess it is better to plan ahead than potentially have to wait for hours to get inside
At 9:30am we took the elevator to the top of the Nativity tower and were rewarded with a great view of the city. We saw intricate details of the Nativity façade through the many windows poking out of the tower and also got to see some of the construction that was being done on the Glory façade. The only way to reach the bottom of the tower was to walk down a narrow winding staircase; definitely, not made for those with arthritis or heart conditions. We were exhausted by the time we reached the bottom of the tower and ended up taking a short break before exploring the rest the of church.
chief architect, Antoni Gaudi died before the church could be finished. His famous line, “My client is not in a hurry,” is rather ironic, as the Sagrada Familia, is still under construction well over 100 years. There is hopes of its completion in 2026 to commemorate the centennial of Gaudi’s death.
When it is completed, the Sagrada Familia will have three facades: the Nativity facade representing the birth of Jesus, the passion facade representing the death of Jesus and the under-construction glory facade representing the resurrection of Jesus. Out of the Nativity and Passion facades, my sister liked the Passion facade more. I personally could not decide which façade I liked better. Each facade is unique and had its own character. The nativity facade felt more nature and tree like, whereas the Passion façade felt sharper and bone like. In the end, both facades were amazing works of art that had to be seen to be appreciated.
After spending over 3 hours at the mesmerizing Sagrada Familia, Renata and I searched for our next destination, Hospital Sant Pau. We took a wrong turn and ended up travelling in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, we found
this great little restaurant on a side street and had our first taste of patatas bravas and other delicious Spanish tapas.
The waitress pointed us in the right direction and it did not take long to reach Hospital Sant Pau. We spent about an hour and a half inside Hospital Sant Pau. Designed by art-nouveau modernist architect Lluis Domenech I Montaner, it functioned as a public hospital for a century. It resembles a small city with the different pavilions representing different units of the hospital.
Our last stop before the football game was the Museum of National Art of Catalunya where entrance was free on Saturdays after 3:00pm. I am not much of an art lover, but I must say that the MNAC, is probably the third best museum I’ve been to in Spain. The other two I will mention shortly, plus it was free. Bonus! The museum is especially known for its collection of Romanesque church paintings, frescos, and Catalan art.
We wandered around the museum for a bit before we headed off to Camp Nou to watch the FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallencano football game. It was a good
thing that we arrived early at the subway station near Camp Nou because we got lost trying to find the stadium. How hard could it be to find a large stadium in Barcelona? We finally found some locals wearing FC Barcelona jerseys and followed them to the stadium. We reached the stadium with barely enough time to grab something to eat before the game started. I discovered that Messi was not playing due to injury. Instead we got to see Neymar Jr. score 4 goals and Suarez score 1 goal, with an end victory of 5 to 2 for FC Barcelona against Rayo Vallecano. It was quite a game, and it was interesting to see the Barcelona fan support for their team.
After the game, we followed the crowd back to the metro station. We stopped at the nearby Guell Dragon statue before calling it a night. Tomorrow, we head to Park Guell and then a free walking tour of the Gothic Quarter.
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