Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Barcelona: La Sagrada Familía

Oh, Barcelona, you magnificent city.

Today, I experienced La Sagrada Familía. Another of Gaudi's works. He devoted 40 years of his life to designing it, though it was not originally his project. Also, he was fully aware that he would not be alive to see it's completion so he left plaster works and drawings for future generations of architects and builders to follow. Construction is estimated to conclude in 2026.

As with most sights in this city, if you purchase tickets in advance, you can skip the line (which can be up to 2 hours long). I did this for La Sagrada Familía, as well as opting for the audio tour and including one of the towers. To be honest, the audio tour did very little for me. What really got me excited was the audio/visual room in the Museum (under the main entrance). It showed a 20 minute video describing the building's history and the concept behind each facade. I suggest doing this first.

What I did first, because of the timing allotted to me for the fast pass ticket, was that I went straight up the Tower of the Nativity Facade. This might have been a mistake, but let me expand on this. To go up the tower, you take a lift/elevator which holds 6 people. When you reach the top the woman will say, "Go up another 10 meters, go across the bridge, then you climb down." So, I climbed up 10 meters of stairs and came to a bridge that immediately made me weak in the knees. I have NEVER been scared of heights like this. I don't know if it was the sheer height of it, or if it was being in a tight spot surrounded by tourists who do not speak my language, or that the building just felt OLD, or what but I could not enjoy the view. I kept snapping pictures, but honestly, I didn't even look at what I was snapping (I appreciate them now though).


So, across the bridge and down some spiral stairs (which looked to have no end). And every so often, I'd have the option to step out onto a balcony of sorts. I made myself do it, but I was so sick with fear, I couldn't wait to get out of there. 

And down more stairs I went. At the next balcony, I took a picture straight down - it doesn't seem so far now, but at the time, all I wanted was to be at ground level, looking at the pretty stained glass.

Finally, I reached ground level (composed myself) and started the audio tour. Again, I say, go to the museum. Watch the mini-doco. It really gave me an appreciation for everything I had seen. 

Here is a glimpse of the nativity facade:

And a glimpse of the Passion Facade (the journey of Christ to the cross) - You can tell they were done by different artists:

And here are some glimpses of the inside of the basilica. There is A LOT to it. The whole thing is quite overwhelming actually. I was impressed by Gaudi's use of light. The one thing I got out of the audio tour was that Gaudi said some people think having as much light possible is best, but this is wrong. He said that too much light or not enough will blind. Having the right amount of light is important to see/for reflection.

Supporting angled columns like trees with branches

The gifts of the spirit above Christ

Sunlight coming in the Passion Side stained glass

Now THAT's a workshop!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you got to go. It's so impressive.