Monday, February 08, 2010


Barcelona – I’d heard it was a great city, but really knew nothing about it. Kind of embarrassing, but our transatlantic cruise gave me the opportunity to read about Barcelona and try to make good use of the limited time we’d have there.

Barcelona is full of museums and galleries: a Picasso museum, National Museum of Catalan Art, a gallery featuring works by Miro – with whom I AM familiar, since Louisville has a couple of Miro sculptures – plus the Olympic stadium, used for the 1992 Olympics, but originally built for the Great Exhibition of 1929. Then there’s the Gothic Quarter, which originated during the Roman period, and has many buildings from the 13th to 15th centuries. And last, but certainly not least, are the many buildings designed by Antonio Gaudi. The largest, most elaborate and most amazing of these buildings is, at least in my opinion, the church of La Sagrada Familia.

La Sagrada Familia was first proposed in 1874, and construction began in 1882. Gaudi devoted 43 years of his life to this project, but it certainly wasn’t his only accomplishment. While reading about the various Gaudi buildings in Barcelona, my first impression was that he was just weird! His buildings are very bizarre, curving and odd-shaped, yet once I saw and read information about the building of La Sagrada Familia, my opinion changed completely. This guy was truly a genius, and waaay ahead of his time. His application of geometry allowed him to create designs so radical that he once wondered if his designs were really possible – he said that if they were, wouldn’t someone else have thought of them before?

After studying various tourist information sites about Barcelona and checking both a city map and a Metro (Barcelona’s underground transit system) map, we came up with a plan. We wanted to see as much as we could without feeling rushed, so this was our plan: once we arrived at the foot of Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s long, tree-lined pedestrian mall, we’d take the Metro to La Sagrada Familia. This required that we change trains once, but we were pretty sure we were up to the challenge. We would then spend as much time at La Sagrada Familia as we needed before heading back to the far end of Las Ramblas (the end closest to La Sagrada Familia), then we’d stroll down Las Ramblas, taking slight detours to visit the ancient Gothic quarter as well as the famous food market, La Bogueria.

Because we were so blown away by La Sagrada Familia, I’m going to post some photos today; tomorrow you’re likely to see even more pics of La Sagrada Familia – it was really, really interesting. Oh, and did I mention that it’s not scheduled to be finished until (hopefully) 2026? That would make the total build time 144 years!

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

There are more photos from the cruise and all the ports we visited on our FLICKR PAGE.

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