Ok, I have quite a few photos so we'll see how all this fits and uploads. I've also had to significantly bump down the resolution of the photos but now I'm thinking that I really need to print some of these out. Maybe even give them a touch of photoshop to spruce them up. I am by no means close to knowing what I am doing with a camera and I would like to say that these photos do not do these great works much justice. Maybe you can get a sense, or a hint of this awesomeness, but really nothing compares to seeing this art and archeticture in it's element and my photos are a far cry from capturing it all. That's one of the things we always talked about while studying art history. You can look at pictures of famous paintings and sculptures in books and study them and try to learn from them, try to understand them. But you don't really get a sense of them till you are standing in front of them in the museum, or stand within the walls of some great church and see it in person. It's like a whole new work of art. The art becomes real as you see its true size, the way the light hits it in the early morning, the brushstrokes, the sheen of the polished marble, your senses are overwhelmed as you are now including smell, sound, and touch along with sight. It's the same idea as looking at a big mountain in a book. The picture may be beautiful but it is a whole complete experience when you are actually there hiking up it.
When Monday morning in Barcelona rolled around I had a good idea of how to approach the day. Sean unfortunately had to leave early to go to several meetings at the local hospitals so I was left to the exploring on my own. I woke up early and ate a quick breakfast in the hotel. I had my guidebook out and planned my route to the Sagrada Familia while sipping the rest of my "coffee with milk". I was so incredibly anxious and giddy. I had been reading all I could and the more I learned the more fascinated I became. Gaudi sounded like my kind of guy and I only expected the best from this creation of his. From experience I've learned that you need to get to these famous places early and beat the tour bus crowds. The worst thing in the world is trying to stand and admire something breathtaking while little runty school kids shout ungrateful obscenities behind you. I'm glad I was up "early" and ready to run across town.
The church opened at 9 am and I hoped to be at its doors shortly after. I left the hotel and got swept up in the hustle of everyone trying to make it to work on a Monday morning in the city of Barcelona. It was warm out with an over cast sky but the sun was gently trying to peak out. Scooters were flying everywhere and everyone had a mission and direction, including myself. I sort of knew where I was going but it's hard to keep looking at your guidebook when all you want to do it look up and admire. I got turned around a bit and overshot my street which added an excrutiating 15 minutes to my trip. I was racing against those tour buses! I started to get a bit nervous and angry that I didn't pay more attention to the map from the get go but then there I saw it, a set of cranes (machine, not the bird) looming over the street about ten blocks away. THAT'S where I needed to be. I passed a few schools and dodged parents and toddlers then there I was. I came up on the Passion facade, a representation of death.
|This is the scene where Peter betrays three times. |
The work is all so symbolic throughout the entire church.
Every corner means something. Here you see apostle
perched on the corner, hunched over, shrouded in shame.
|Oh shameful Peter!|
|A dog at the Last Supper scene meant to represent the|
loyalty of the apostles towards Jesus. Pretty interesting style eh?
|You can sort of get a good idea of the scale of these statues.|
|There were several sets of doors to enter the church from this side. |
This is me standing in front of one of them.
|A detail of the door. They were cast with scripture which|
narrates the scenes depicted on the facade.
Probably the most unique church doors I've ever seen.
|These were more doors. There were four sets total. |
Two with scripture then these were on the outer side.
This one depicts the crowning of thorns.
|Detail of the cast door. Perhaps the crown of thorns?|
I want a front door like this but maybe
with a more uplifting subject matter.
|Detail of the cast door. I'm sure you can figure|
out some symbolism here.
|Just so creative and different. Every inch is detailed|
and beautiful with chains or every size,
plants, leaves, keys and little trinkets.
|Some guys working on the spires. This was taken on the|
last day of our trip when I came back with Sean. The
sky was so blue that day but I figured I'd
add in the photos. Imainge rapelling from that!
|Fruit to represent the fruit of the Holy Spirt or something like that.|
|Someone was hanging off of this tower. |
These colors were so stunning and bright in the sunlight.
|An apostle on one of the towers.|
|Long way down and I wasn't even at the top. Once the|
church is done it will be twice the height of what it is now.
|Inside. Gaudi loved nature and wanted to make it|
feel like you were in a forest. He did a pretty darn good job.
|A side wall covered in windows. The surfaces separating|
the windows were not flat though. They had convex
angles and edges which helped
to deflect light and illuminate the interior.
|The ceiling which was designed to allow natural|
light in and resemble the canopy of a forest. It was
also very light in weight. This is a good view to
see how the tops of the columns
branched out like trees. Imagine! Branching columns!
|I like how everything is sort of monotone. The|
columns were different color due to use of different
stone for different weight bearing needs but the
rest of the interior was quite white. You didn't need much color.
|Another view. You can see why not|
much decoration on the inside was needed.
|You can see the different colored columns|
here. The pink being the biggest and strongest.
|Above the altar.|
|A view from the altar to the other end.|
|Me in the middle.|
|Sean checking out the organ pipes.|
|In the crypt. This part was very first|
thing to be built. Guadi is buried here.
|A detail of the Nativity.|
I LOVE the horse head trying to get a peak.
|Old construction meets new construction.|
|Me petting Myrtle the Sea Turtle.|
|Detail, detail, detail.|
|Dripping with detail.|
|The tree of life at the top of the Nativity facade.|
|A view of Barcelona from behind the tree of life.|
|Plaster everywhere you look. What a fun|
place to work though! Imagine THIS being your job!
|A portrait of Gaudi. Love it!|
|Sean in front of a model. They used two scales 1:10 and 1:25.|
|Sketch for the Passion facade. Josep Maria Subirachs|
who did the sculptures also moved into the church, like
Gaudi. This guy really wanted to channel
his energy I guess. I think it worked though.
|Very intricate model.|
I left the church exhausted, hungry, and parched. What an experience though. It was all I was hoping for and more. I felt so lucky to be able to see this place while it was still being built. Maybe we'll be back to see how the work is going and watch it's progress. Once it is finished it will really be a sight to see. I bought a book from the gift shop then pushed my way through the accumulated crowds and headed north to the Park Guell, another Gaudi masterpiece. When I left I was so overwhelmed and drained and I promised myself that once I made to the park I would get something to eat in the cafe. That was a dumb idea. The walk to the park was all uphill and it wasn't the prettiest of walks. At least I was smart enough to keep my face in the guidebook and NOT get lost. The park was gorgeous but the sun was still hiding behind the clouds. I was glad I went to the church first thing in the morning because then I had this park to stroll through and just enjoy. So, this park was designed by Guadi for a friend's private garden and during his time was considered a huge failure. Really? I wouldn't mind having a back yard like that. I don't know too much about it's history but it was a nice relaxing afternoon after the flood of emotions in Sagrada Familia. On my way out of the park the sun came out and the colors just came alive! This section will be mostly photos and probably not a lot of talk which is pretty much what I was feeling at that point. Just enjoying the sites. Letting it all sink in.
|The entrance to the park.|
|A person dressed up as a lizard.|
|Palm motif that Guadi used for the gates.|
|That building is now the gift shop.|
|EVERYONE taking photos in front of the famous lizard.|
|Up on top. Everyone was selling shit. |
The park is free to enter so come on in!
|The famous wavey benches covered in|
mosaics surrounding the whole upper level.
|Yup people still taking photos with the lizard.|
|A house in the park. Gaudi|
lived here for a couple of years.
That sculpture can be found on the
Nativity facade of Sagrada Familia.
|Those look familiar!|
|Furniture in the house.|
|Geometric studies made by Gaudi.|
|Floor tiles. Kind of remind me of mom's kitchen ;)|
|These are the types of door knobs he designed.....|
|Now there's a planter!|
|A view of the pink house.|
|More arches and secret places.|
|One last view before leaving the park.|
|Leaving the park and finding a pretty purple house.|
|Someone else's version of the|
Nativity in their front yard. Love it.
What a long day! After meditating through the park I headed downhill. I knew for sure I would not get lost heading back to the hotel but of course I did. I was incredibly lazy and didn't even pull out my guidebook. Instead I decided to follow some other English folk. Hey we should all be going to the same place right? What the hell was I thinking? I decided to leave them after I watched them come dangerously close to getting hit by cars several times. I made it back to the hotel, soaked my feet in an ice bath and cracked open my new book on Sagrada Familia. I read the whole thing right there in the hotel room while drinking a coke and watching Captain Ron on the tv. Captain Ron was dubbed over in Spanish and it was really entertaining. The little boy sounded like a chipmunk. Sean sent me a message saying I was invited out to dinner with him, his boss and a couple other doctors they were doing business with. I got ready and met Sean and his boss downstairs at the hotel bar before we went out. Dinner reservations were for 8:30pm so we had some time to kill. The three of us took our drinks up to the roof top pool and enjoyed the evening view. Oh here is a photo Sean took of the pool when we first got to the hotel.
It was such a gorgeous night out! A bit chilly but it was great to finally meet Sean's boss Karl and talk to him about living in London and traveling. He helped us make a list of "must see places" which seems to constantly be getting longer and longer the more we talk to people.
We called a cab and headed to one of the busier streets in town. I don't even know the name of the restaurant that we went to but once we were inside we knew we were somewhere memorable. The house looked like it was designed by Gaudi himself but the host quickly gave us a tour of the place and told us it was one of Gaudi's students who designed it. Me, Sean and Karl had the place to ourselves as we waited for the rest of the guests to arrive. We drank more wine, had some Iberian cured meats and chit chatted. This place was fancy, the guy at the door even took my coat off for me. The rest of our guests arrived around 9 and two out of the three men barely spoke English but they were so friendly and there were plenty of people there to translate for me and Sean. The menus arrived and I almost fell over. 50 Euros for an appetizer?? 100 for a main course. Holy Moly. What did we just get ourselves into? Sean and I stared at the menus for a while but they took them away and the man in charge decided to do all the ordering for us. Thank God! I think! We started with a really nice red wine. I can't remember what it was, I pretended to know what was I drinking. We had more cured meats which melted in your mouth and little fried potato things. Then came more tapas of shrimp, clams, and little plates of shells with tiny mellon balls. I tried it all and despite my fear of oysters and clams it was REALLY good. I also realized that these guys weren't too serious since the one on my right, Franchesk, challenged me to a sword fight with one of the wooden skewers. I could relax a little more and enjoy myself. I was so nervous, I am not used to being this fancy. But next came the sea urchin. My favorite dish of the night. It was like a little creamy soup in the shell of the cut open urchin spikes and all still stuck on the sides. Sooooooo good! It tasted like creamy scallops and something green. It was like nothing I had ever tried before. The mini meals kept coming and we kept eating as they cleared plates and silverware then put new forks and spoons down followed by a new plate of food. I felt like I was on some food network show eating delicacies and meals prepared to perfection. The main meal was a beef type of dish. Again, I'm not exactly sure what to call it but the meat melted in your mouth and it was just plain and simply delicious. I felt full even though every meal they brought out could fit onto two spoons. THEN dessert came! A little mini display on each plate of mango sorbet and something chocolately and who knows what the other things were! Ohhhh I love dessert and this was sooooo good. This was the perfect end to the day. At that point the bottles of wine stopped coming and we ordered capuchinos and espresso. The other doctor spoke to the waiter in quick Spanish or French, who knows, about bringing out their best cognac. I only had a sip of Sean's but it was tasty. A hundred year old cognac. The guys talked business and I reflected on my full day of sight seeing. A second bottle was brought out and Sean and I had to hold back yawns. It was now 1 am and wayyyy past our bedtime. Finally the food was all eaten the drinks were all drunk and one of the other guys picked up the bill. I could only imagine what it came to. I can only imagine but boy was that some amazing food.