Friday, July 11, 2008

Sagrada Familia and other Antoni Gaudi Works

Our second day in Barcelona started bright and early again as I had to drive Joe to the airport at 7:00 a.m. to catch his flight to Amsterdam. The good side effect of this is that by the time I got back to the hotel Laurie was showered, dressed and ready to go. This meant we could get another round of cafe con leche and croissants before we beat both the crowds and the heat!

Garmin Comes Through!

Just when you want to kill Garmin she comes through with a big surprise. In Spain they actually have radar cameras that give tickets to speeders. In Italy speeding is encouraged so this type of technology is unnecessary.

Driving all over Spain, Garmin would start beeping faster and more loudly as we got closer to the camera and the normally green strip at the top of the screen turned red.

GREAT FEATURE that I didn't even know we had!!!

Sagrada Familia
The view from the Nativity Facade

The first time I heard about this church was during NBC's Today Show's live coverage of the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics. It is an interesting work in progress to say the least.

Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) was an architect and a Barcelona native who built several wild looking buildings throughout the city. The Sagrada Familia is an as of yet still unfinished church that he started constructing in 1883 and worked on until his death 43 years later. Even today they think it will take FIFTY more years to complete! The construction is based entirely on private donations and entry fees.

To say that the side in this picture is bizarre is to not do it justice. I really liked it the closer we got and the more of the detail became apparent. Also the audio-guide was extremely informative and answered many of my questions as to what Gaudi and the architects after him hoped to accomplish.

Laurie loved the snails crawling down the walls.

She also liked the geckos.

This entrance is on the opposite side of the church from the previous pictures and is called the Passion Facade.

The story of Christ's Passion is portrayed in an S shaped pattern on this facade. This side of the church has been executed by a modern day architect, Josep Maria Subirachs.

Christ's hair on the cross is an open bible symbolizing the Word of God.

The Grid of Numbers and the Judas Kiss

Christ was 33 years old when He died. The numbers grid you see here adds up to 33 any way you want to add up any line of four numbers.

Christ Being Scourged

Thinking about being scourged.

The Construction Zone

The Nave of the church is where about 70% the construction is bering staged. It is alive with activity.

The huge stained glass windows cast beautiful rays of light onto the workers. 

These red windows signify morning and the rebirth of Christ.

An artisan hard at work in the Nave.

Think about this for a second, the odds are that this man will not be around when this church is finally finished in about 2058 about 175 years after construction began. Very few of the current tradesmen will be there to see it's completion.

This is the way churches were built in the Gothic period. Churches all over Europe that we visit today in their completed form also took lifetimes to complete.

The sight of this man working away in the July heat made me really appreciate what was occurring in front of my eyes.

Meanwhile, back on the Nativity Facade.

We decided to pay the 2 Euros each to take the elevator up to the top to get a better look at the spires. We also got a great view of the city to boot.

All the terrific architecture in Barcelona really excited me!

A Dove on the Tree of Life

Gaudi loved nature as well as his Catholic religion once saying "Nothing is invented, it is written in nature." This love of nature is very apparent on the Glory Facade.

The Glory Facade

Note how every spire is topped by a fruit.

I like these red berries, very summery!

And even more fruits

Elevator up but you must walk all the way down a very narrow staircase.

There are many open spaces allowing air in and claustraphobia out.

In the museum at the end of our visit we found his diagram showing us just some of the ways to come up with 33 on the numbers grid we saw earlier on the Passion Facade.

Sagrada Familia Through the Years

The 1926 photo shows the state of the construction at the time of Gaudi's death

The 1935 photo shows the church at the start of the bloody Spanish Civil War.

Someday this beautiful pulpit that Gaudi intended for Sagrada Familia will be in the church although Catholic priests no longer speak from pulpits.

Gaudi's Casa Batllo

Part of the Block of Discord on the Passeig de Gracia, the tile roof is a dragon as Gaudi was basing this structure on St. George.  

Brian FitzGerald would love the Casa Batllo's skull-like balconies.

After a hard morning of sightseeing it was time for nourishment.

Even the taps in this restaurant looked like the Sagrada Familia's spires.

Did I mention that my father-in-law, Bill Gardner, was a Rotarian?

Our final view of Barcelona on the way to the airport.

We LOVED Barcelona in particular and Spain in general. The fact that they speak Spanish was a big plus for me.

We found Spain to be friendly, open and beautiful. We both want to come back and spend much more time visiting the land of my maternal grandparents.

Next time I'm Running with the Bulls!

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