Hola Hola! We just came back from a beautiful short little holiday in Barcelona, Spain. First things first, it is absolutely as beautiful a city as you might have heard. We spent almost no time on the beaches as there were so many things to see. I won’t write it all today as there is simply too much to share. I’ve decided to divide it into two parts. Part 1 will focus on the beautiful works of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, Flamenco, and FC Barcelona!
This is the first beaut of Antoni Gaudi we visited. It is called the Casa Batlló. In this entire casa (house) there are few straight lines. According to the audio guide the lack of straight lines was intended to give the feeling of fluidity and water.
Next we went to the Park Güell. Barcelona with a fondness of its tourists as well as its own people installed and outdoor escalator that takes you up a steep ‘hill’ to enter the park.
Here you see again Gaudi’s love of color and creative imagination. The park is currently free to enter and discover, however we were told that in October the city plans to institute an entry fee for non Barcelonians.
And then finally, here is the ever famous Sagrada Família (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family).
This is likely Gaudi’s most notable work, although it is still to this day unfinished. The church was started in 1882, and its construction has been funded entirely on private donations. The hope by those involved in the construction is for it to be complete in the next 2-3 decades, although in the past and likely in the future the funding has at times halted construction. In spite of its incompleteness, the beauty inside was astounding.
The front of the church has several ‘scenes’ depicted in its stone facade. Each one a piece of the story that lead to the crucifixtion of Jesus. Unfortunately we were unable to get a good picture of the front of the church up close as it is crowded by the ticket booths and the street. The back facade is tribute to His birth and hopefully this picture demonstrates the size.
For me personally, I found the most amazement with the inside. The stainglass windows, and the columns towering above like trees, in a forrest. Each column made of a different type of stone depending on how much weight it must bear. Natural light is a strong peaceful presence in the sanctuary, and perhaps you can see here how one particular vaulted place in the ceiling gives the pure white light from the sun. Gaudi intended this to be a symbol of God shining down.
We did audio guides at both the Casa Batlló and the Sagrada Família so I cannot claim these statements as my own original thoughts, just in case you were thinking I all of a sudden sounded scholarly and knowledgeable. Still an ordinary girl from Kansas, no worries 🙂
Helpful tip to anyone who plans to go to Barcelona and wants to see the Sagrada Família, if you try to just go, you will have to wait in line for likely hours just to purchase a ticket. When we arrived the line for tickets was well wrapped around the church and down the street. It is possible to purchase tickets in advance, and this is highly recommended. In Barcelona, there are little ATM type machines called La Caixa. This is a bank in Spain, but you don’t have to bank there in order to utilize the service to purchase tickets for multiple events in the city. The services are available in Catalan, Spanish, and English. Another way to purchase tickets for events is to find a tourist info booth. We found one on the famous tourist street called La Ramblas, and it was there we purchased our tickets for the Casa Batlló, but we heard others purchasing Barcelona futbol tickets, museum tickets etc etc… The representatives at the tourist info booths spoke Spanish, Catalan, English, and some Deutsch.
Friday night we went to the Magic Fountain of Barcelona. They do 30 minute shows Thurs-Sat night starting at 9pm and the last one starting at 11pm. This is also a free activity to do in Barcelona. They do the show to music, although a little disappointing to us, it was modern radio music, and not traditional ‘Spanish’ music. Still, a beautiful site and a relaxing way to spend some time. After the Fountains we went to a Flamenco show.
I now realize how little I really knew about Spain. Did you know that at one time in history (of course I can’t remember exactly when-dang Gingko) a significant portion of Spain was conquered by Muslims? This is noteworthy here because you can hear some Arab influences in the Flamenco music. Flamenco is an absolute MUST Spanish culture experience for any tourist. It combines live music of a Spanish guitar, hauntingly passionate singing and dancing that consists of amazing rhythmic footwork and then of course the dresses. We took only a few pictures at the Flamenco performance because we wanted to instead focus and enjoy. But here is a video of a Flamenco performance (this is not the one we saw but it is beautiful), so you have an idea of what I’m talking about.
The performance we saw had me on my feet at the end, and wishing I had the legs to be a dancer….darn these big calves of mine…
Anyway, then Saturday night we went to a Barcelona futbol game. The stadium is huge and was full! Mauricio had to explain to me how big the moment was. Barcelona has a reputation, a long-standing one, of being one of the best futbol teams in Europe. As the players were warming up, even from as high up as we were, Mauricio could point out who each player was. A few from Argentina, Brasil, Spaniards (genau!) including the one who is Shakira’s flame. It was an exciting game, and high scoring for a futbol match 3-2. 3 of the goals were scored on our end so that was pretty cool to see it so clearly. The crowd LOVES their team, and instead of booing as we do in the U.S. at the ‘enemy’ they do a high-pitched shrill whistle. Down the row from us sat a couple with their baby, not more than 1 year old, with soundproof headphones on oblivious to the noise no doubt but content as could be.
Yes I have food in my hand, and mouth in yet another picture-the camera always catches me. Spain may be famous for the style of eating called Tapas, but our experience was that it was difficult to find good food at the restaurants so we carried granola bars and apples in our pockets all week long but I’m not too upset about it since my tight pants are much more comfortable this week 🙂
More about Barcelona to come….!