May 8, 2018
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time to return to American soil – seems I have been gone so long and done so much! And in fact I have, so fortunate am I!
Not done yet, however! Last year I was pleased at 8:30 a.m. to be in the ticket line for Antonio Gaudí’s (and others, of course) Sagrada Familia. To my surprise, the earliest viewing that I could purchase tickets for was 5:30 p.m.!! So I enjoyed the exterior, which is Incredible and Amazing, almost beyond comprehension in its Gigantic scale, conception, whimsy and creativity!! This year I reserved online and when Bill decided to join the adventure, he booked as well. So today we walked the two miles from our hotel and we queued in with the first group of the day to enter this grand temple, ongoingly under construction since 1882 – with hopes to complete the current project of the highest pillar in 2026. The scaffolding does detract from the awe inspiring vision of this mammoth monument, yet the grandeur is still easy to behold.
Each of the 18 Towers is significant When La Sagrada Familia is completed, it will have eighteen towers. Twelve of the towers will represent the apostles, four of them will represent the evangelists, one will be designated for the Virgin Mary, and of course the last one, the highest one in the middle, will represent Jesus Christ. However, right now there are only eight towers.
When La Sagrada Familia is completed, it will be tallest religious building in all of Europe. The central tower in the middle will reach 170 meters tall. Despite having a powerful height, Gaudí believed that nothing man-made should ever be higher than God’s work. It is therefore with intent that the ultimate height will be one meter less than Monjuïc, a mountain in Barcelona, which is also the city’s highest point.
“On this site Gaudí wished to unite the inspiration he drew from three great books that nourished him as a man, a believer and an architect: the book of nature, the book of Holy Scripture and the book of Liturgy. Thus, he united the reality of the world and the history of salvation as told in the Bible and updated in the Liturgy.” (on a plaque)
Gaudí felt that things should be built to resemble nature. The sanctuary has pillars reaching skyward and are designed as differing species of trees. Several design embellishments have their genius and birth from and in nature. There are also a tortoise and turtle holding up these pillars, representing both the earth and the sea.
La Sagrada Familia was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. It received the designation mostly because of its unique architecture and Gaudí’s ability to create something so innovative and artistic. This is not a surprise, however; La Sagrada Familia is one of seven buildings by Gaudí that fall under this category.
Flat Out Jaw Dropping AMAZING!!! Everywhere we looked was another detail to draw our interest away from the preceding attention grabber. It was a huge stimulus overload of art, design, color and textures.
Since we were close, we wandered down the tree lined Avinguda de Gaudí until we reached Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. We didn’t pay the admission fee to go inside but did walk around it to enjoy the mosaic portrayals of “Story” obviously specific to this former hospital turned art museum.
We have been so lucky!!! We have only been accompanied by rain on Sunday morning. We were indoors the other times that it rained that day. Otherwise the forecasted rain has not precipitated and instead we have enjoyed sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s! Today it was supposed to rain at noon. Then it was revised to 3:00 but basically we carried around out rainwear for naught (though I only brought a baseball hat and sweater so it wasn’t too cumbersome to lug around).
We stumbled upon The Church and Convent of Saleses and had a chance to peek in for about five minutes before they closed doors to visitors for the afternoon, and it was a treat! The church is considered one of the most beautiful Neo-Gothic works in Barcelona and as Antonio Gaudí was an apprentice to the architect, his work is no doubt represented.
For lunch, Bill’s research took us to BicNic in the Eixample Neighborhood where a new spin is taken on old Spanish and Mediterranean classics. Very, VERY delicious!!! I had a cream of celery soup and “Spinach Royal” which was a very condensed disc of steamed spinach (think hockey puck!) with an excellent assortment of veggies, plus the three varieties of mushrooms Bill cast off from his veal dish, which he enjoyed thoroughly. His main entree was proceeded by some seasoned ground lamb rolled in rice wraps which he then wrapped in Bibb lettuce & dipped into a mango vinaigrette. Dessert was apple crisp with elderberry ice cream!!! We were soooo stuffed!! Good thing we had to walk a few miles back to our hotel culminating in a total mileage for the day (at that point) of 7. Yesterday we walked 12.9!!!
And, perhaps it is best, Mr Denman’s siesta time turned into “nightie night” and Mrs. Denman had a dinner of queso, aceitunas, pan and Vino Tinto (cheese, olives, bread and wine) in the room. We are homeward bound tomorrow!