Yesterday we hit the town to look at one of the major things that Barcelona is famous for – Mr Antoni Gaudi.
In most of our hotels our room as been miles away from the lift, or through a couple of miles worth of tunnels…. but in this one – we we’re good to go – I’ve taken this photo from the doorway of our room. Thank you Hotel Colon!
First we found the Place Reál where some of Gaudi’s first works are on display – the lamp posts for example.
Then we stopped at the La Boqueria Markets. Last time I was here with my lovely friend Felicity, they were closed on the only day we had free…. so that was a bit saddening – but this put a smile on my face (and hopefully hers too!)
Then we cruised the streets making our way up to our destination – the Casa Batlló. I loved this image of the pretty Vespa trying to fit in with the big black motors.
The yellow ribbons are for the Catalan Independence…
The line wasn’t huge, but it was still existent…. I’d been in before and Me Jenny wasn’t keen on all the stairs – especially at €25 a ticket, so we just admired her from the outside. How do you think this design would fit on the canals in Mandurah or along Chapman Road in Gero?
A couple of blocks up the street is another of Gaudi’s masterpieces. The bottom and the roof top are a museum, but the rest is residential apartments…. Imagine living there!
I love the curved lines in all his buildings… this shop down the street a bit obviously also loves the curves!
We sat down to have a caña along our way and we asked the chap behind the counter if he had beer and what Me Jenny and I both heard was, “Yes, we have Australian beer.” “Really, what kind?” was my reply. “Australian. Australian”, is what we thought he said, confused as to what we meant. So I went over the taps to see and this (pic below) was the only tapped beer they had…. Now say that with a Spanish accent. Goodness, we laughed – well Me Jenny and I did – the guy didn’t know what was so funny.
Our Gaudi day tour next lead us to the masterpieces of all masterpieces – The Sagrada Familia. We had tickets for a 4pm guided, skip the line tour – skip the lines tours are my favourites…. the guided part – although our chap had some interesting information, sometimes it’s just nice to get in and soak it in by yourself.
So this church started being built in 1882. Gaudi wasn’t actually the original architect – there was another bloke who after a year pulled the plug and they gave it to Gaudi, who was only 30 at the time. For the first year, he followed the first guy’s plans of a modest, single tower church and then decided to scrap that idea and start again.
When Gaudi died in 1926 only a quarter of the church had been completed. he was 73 when he died (hit by a tram!) so he knew that he was never going to see it completed, but the builders were going to follow his carefully laid out plans – all drawn up with sketches, notes, and plaster models, etc…. until 10 years later in 1936 during the Spanish civil war, revolutionaries set fire to the crypt and the broke into Gaudi’s workshop destroying a lot of his plans. It took 16 years just for them to piece together what was left and construction started up again in the 1950s and since then with advanced technology and building techniques and more up to date materials, there are some that say that the design is too far from Gaudi’s original plan, but others who say if Gaudi were alive today, he would’ve be a fan of progression and would have wanted to use what technology was available to him.
This is what it’s meant to look like when it’s finished… 18 towers – 12 for the apostles, one each for Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (they get the ones with the winged creatures), one for Mary (she gets the one with the star) and the tallest of for Jesus (he gets the big 3D cross)
This is a model showing what has been built (in grey) and what is yet to be done (in cream)… They’re aiming to be finished by 2023 – the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death….
Just quietly, I think they might be dreaming.
They don’t have any financial assistance from the government nor from the church, they only rely on donations & ticket sales – but with 4 million visitors every year – we worked out that at an average of €37 per ticket – that’s €148,000,000 per year just in ticket sales alone… how many towers can you buy with that much?
This section below is definitely new since last I was here. I’m not sure I love the difference in colour or that it covers up a bit of the original facade, but…. who knows, in the end, maybe it will all look amazing.
This is the facade on the other side…. I’ve always thought this side looks a bit like it’s melting. Originally this side was meant to be painted and those melty bits are actually flowers and plants and animals, but you have to get close to make them out.
The only thing on the front that was ever painted is the tree at the top covered with white doves…
There are also bits and pieces over the years that have fallen off or damaged due to civil war, so they’ve been fixing those as well which is why they are a different colour to the rest of the facade… The Roman soldier lost one of his legs, someone lost a hand and the harp player had to be replaced altogether.
Then we went inside. I love the inside of this church. We’ve seen some churches in our time, and this trip has been no exception, but I love this one because it is sooo different. The stained glass windows are amazing and have been designed in those colours to capture the sun at different times of the day, and they have writing included paying homage to saints, holy places, etc… The pillars are designed to look like trees in a forrest; the winged bull is one of 4 winged creature statues statues a bull, a lion, a person’s head and an eagle which will go on the top of the 4 towers.
Outside on the first side we looked at we could get a closer look at some of the statues… The ones on this side are truely depressing! They represent the stations of the cross – this one for example is when Peter denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed (even the rooster got a gurnsey!)
Last time I was here I purchased a fridge magnet like this below and for the life of me I couldn’t remember what the numbers meant…. So today I found out (possibly for a second time?) that each row of numbers adds up to 33 – the age Jesus was when he died.
A quick look in the gift shop on the way out and I’m telling you – I keep seeing signs for the Camino – whether it be markers on the ground or words in stain glassed windows – I’m definitely being called….
After being completely Gaudi’d out, we returned again to our hotel to look at our own cathedral… with the Gaudi Museum in front of it!!! There’s no getting away in this city.
And as we are thoroughly sick to death of Spanish tapas food…. we found some Japanese noodles #grateful!