Wednesday was an even wetter day than Tuesday had been, and the waterproof trousers didn’t do quite so well. My legs were also pretty tired from two days of walking before I even started out from the hotel, which didn’t help either. Nor did the extremely loud thunderstorm that woke me during the night – it really was very loud, and a part of me kept wondering if it was louder because I was so high up. I’ll admit that I can’t think of any reason why this makes sense, so I guess the storm was just nearby. Or perhaps the noise was being reflected by lots of nearby buildings. In any case, it was very loud and I was wakened a couple of times by the racket.
Anyway, I got all dressed up for the rain and headed off. Again, I had got up late, so I was keeping my eye out for places to eat brunch. Ended up having paella just across the road from my main destination for the day – La Sagrada Familia, otherwise known as Gaudi’s Cathedral. As I had expected, the location made the food was a bit more expensive, but it was dry and that was the main thing.
And then over the road to admire Gaudi’s masterpiece. And you know what, it really did impress me. The concept behind it impresses me, of a building so ornate and massive that it takes generations to complete – there’s a visionary quality to just embarking on a project on those terms. To start on something, knowing that you will never complete it, but depending on later generations to continue your plan is the kind of long-term planning that is basically extinct these days. Apart maybe from some mortgages…
Anyway, I approached it from this side, the eastern facade, which shows the story of the nativity.
On a picture this size, you just have no chance of seeing the detail. But it is a great piece of sculture, on a huge scale. My favourite part is the slightly incongruous tree up at the top between the towers with birds nesting in it, which represents the church. It brings a touch of humour, or humanity or something to a huge stone building.
This side was where I started queuing, and then ended up at the west side, which represents the crucifixion, in a completely different style of art.
Again, you can’t see the detail, but it is very impressive in reality. However, this picture misses out my favourite part – in the second picture you can see the spires, and up near the top, behind some green netting of some sort, you can just about make out the statue representing Jesus’ ascension shows him sitting on a crossbeam like a builder taking a break. Again, it’s suspiciously like humour!
And no, there is no way of getting a picture of the building without cranes in it. And it’ll be that way for years!
But they have finished the inside, and it is a beautiful place. This is the inside of one of those facades.
And this is the view towards the front of the building from the back.
I especially like the way that the columns branch out to support the various levels of roof. On a horrible wet day, it was a lovely place. It occurs to me that it could only be a religious building – no-one is ever going to put so much effort into making a conference centre, or a city hall, or an airport so beautiful. The pictures don’t do it justice at all, so if you’re ever in Barcelona, just go an see it. You’ll not regret it (despite the fairly steep entry price). And for the record, the towers were closed, so I couldn’t go up and enjoy the view from the top.
The rain did ease off a bit as the afternoon continued, so I did some more wandering around until I couldn’t walk any more, then got the metro back to my hotel, and had dinner just round the corner. Some rather messy but very nice seafood in the Eden restaurant.