Barcelona, part 2

We went to La Sagrada Familia next and found a place to eat while we waited for our entrance time. We tried some tapas since the menu del dia (a meal of the day that provides an appetizer, entrée, drink, and dessert) wasn’t available until 1pm. I also had an orange juice, which was freshly squeezed. Forgot to take a photo before I started drinking it.

Barcelona

We also tried some tapas. Calcots with romesco sauce and a type of potato salad.

Barcelona

Anyway, after the yummy food we meandered back to the church.

Barcelona

As you can see it’s still under construction. They’ve been building this thing for over 130 years so far.

La Sagrada Familia translates into the Sacred/Holy Family. It is a church dedicated to Joseph (father of Jesus), Mary (mother of Jesus), and Jesus. It was started in 1882 and is planned to be finished in 2026. Antoní Gaudí was hired in 1883 as the head architect after the original one, Francisco Paula de Villar, resigned. After Gaudí passed away in 1926, his remains were placed in the church.

Other general facts, there are 3 façades. The Nativity, Passion, and Glory façades. The Nativity façade was completed while Gaudí was alive, the Passion façade was finished in 1976, and the Glory façade was started in 2002 and remains unfinished. The Nativity façade faces East, the Passion façade faces West, and the Glory façade faces South.

There are 18 spires planned, as of yet there are only 8 finished. 12 for the apostles, 4 for the Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), 1 for the Virgin Mary, and the tallest for Jesus. When it’s finished this will be the tallest church in the world. However, Gaudí believed that the building shouldn’t be taller than God’s creation, so the church will be 1 meter shorter than Montjüic hill (184.8m) in Barcelona.

Going into La Sagrada Familia seemed slightly underwhelming at first because the outside was a bit monochromatic. But as the audioguide described the first facade (the Nativity facade) I was looking at, I realized that a lot of time and effort went into it.

The Nativity facade has a scene depicting the baby Jesus and his parents surrounded by shepherds, the wise men, angels and animals.

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

There is other decoration in the form of plants and other animals, to help signify life. There is a turtle/tortoise and a sea turtle at the base of the columns flanking the entrance. The turtle/tortoise on the side of the mountain, and the sea turtle on the side closest to the sea.

The next part was looking at the doors of the entrance, which were made out of bronze by a Japanese sculptor, Etsuo Sotoo. The doors are amazing works of art with different kinds of bugs and plants.

The kicker was entering the church. The ceiling escapes into a canopy. Gaudí mimicked much of his designs after nature. The columns are designed after trees.

Barcelona

The East side stained glass windows have cooler colors (blues and greens) where the sun rises and the West side has warmer colors (oranges and yellows) where the sun sets.

Barcelona

Barcelona

The passion façade was finished much more recently. Here you can see a lot of different details. There are different scenes depicting Jesus’ death and resurrection. The lower pillars were simulated after straining muacles and the higher lighter color pillars are after ribs. And, if you look closely at the second photo, you can see an ascended Jesus at the top.

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

We also were able to go up into the tower on the Passion façade and see really how high up we were. The view was amazing, and the spiraling staircase down was at times disorienting.

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Here are a couple more photos.
Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

The afternoon sun making full use of the beautiful stained glass windows.
Barcelona

Barcelona

By the way, my apologies for the lack of some more detailed photos. I was too busy looking at everything to remember to take photos. I’ll get a link for my friend’s photos, since she took more photos of everything.

Also, internet connection has been spotty and slow in most areas. I will try to update more often.

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Barcelona, part 1

I arrived to Barcelona quite early on Monday morning. It took me awhile to get my bearings, since everything was in another language. Four years of high school Spanish has served me well. I’m surprised how much of it I remember. Though I have found that even when you ask people to speak slowly, it doesn’t matter much, they continue speaking at the same speed.

Getting from the airport into the city was easy enough on the RENFE train. I do miss good public transit. I had some time before I could check in at the hostel, but they let me leave my backpack there until I could check in.

The hostel is situated near Plaza de Catalunya. It was plenty close to all the action of the city. There was even a building by Gaudí a block down the street.

Parts of the building remind me of sea creatures.

4/3/2017 Barcelona

4/3/2017 Barcelona

I walked around to take a look around and made my way to Bar Morrysom which I found out about from watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The food was good, but a bit salty for me.

4/3/2017 Barcelona

4/3/2017 Barcelona

4/3/2017 Barcelona

Anyway, the next day was definitely more interesting. My friend and I visited Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, and La Mercat de Boqueria. I’m very glad we bought our tickets online ahead of time for Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia, there were lots of people around!

Park Guell was to be an experiment for public housing by the Guell family and Gaudí. There were supposed to be many houses built, but only 2 houses were built and the plaza area where parties were held.

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

I started to become a fan of Gaudí during my visit to Park Guell. His attention to detail and mindfulness of the surrounding nature resonated with me.

Here, he preserves the original trees by making his arches in the same style.

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia deserves its own post, otherwise this one wil be too long.

Quick trip to New York

I forget that the East Coast is relatively close to Europe. What helped make this trip happen was that the round trip airfare between New York and Barcelona was relatively inexpensive (<$450). The price I paid could have easily been a roundtrip ticket within the US.

Since I would be leaving from New York, I decided to stay a couple days visiting with family and friends. And so far the Empire State has been a relatively gracious host. 

There is something about staying in a city that hustles and bustles. 

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As with all cities, there is always something happening, a new play, musical, band, sites to see, drink, or food. There is this pursuit and desire to push onward, always moving. An underwater behemoth that must continue to move, passing water over its gills in order to breathe.  The only difference is, this pursuit is not always forward. For everyone, the direction is different; forwards, backwards, sideways, outwards, inwards, etc.

It’s perhaps why people say cities, while a throbbing mass of humanity, they are almost in their own right a living entity of their own.

I have gotten to walk parts of this city, to see for myself the people, the pace, and its character. I have to say I am quite partial to the buildings here, especially the libraries. I’ll sign off with a couple of my better pictures.

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