Saturday, 1 August 2015

La Sagrada Familia: Gaudi's Gift To the World.

 Ah, Barcelona, the very name evokes that beautiful city with its tree lined Las Ramblos, where you can stroll down that long wide street feasting on local foods, markets, ices and popping into every shop you can imagine, satisfying the senses and enjoying a vino or two! It is also here that Antoni Gaudi has gifted to the world his masterpiece: the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia which rises high above the city, superior even to the skyscrapers that dot the horizon. Gaudi began this church in 1882 and it is ongoing today, expected to be completed in another 50 years, but progress is slow and the architectural demands as immensely demanding as when it was begun! Only donations and entry tickets provide the money to complete this amazing structure.

The amazing "umbrella" of lights overhanging the altar area.

We had booked our tickets online through the services of our concierge at our apartment, just a short walk from Las Ramblos and an easy metro ride to the basilica. I will never forget coming up out of the metro and encountering the majesty of this enormous church with its grotesque towers and seemingly ill-fitting façade! It takes your breath away... and delivers it back with the most amazing vision of saints, geometrical patterns, animals, gargoyles and this is just the outside! As you enter the church, you can have an audio guide, which we took, or a local guided tour.

Looking upwards to the towers is amazing!

As it is visited by 3 million people a year, it is always crowded - but somehow, the sanctity and beauty of the interior overwhelms you and you feel at such peace. This is because of its vastness and an interior that stretches far up into the stained glass heaven created by the sky reaching windows. There is so much light, unusual in such a huge building. The choir stalls are curved and undulate around the second story above the main body of the church. Below there is the crypt area, where Gaudi's remains are kept. He died in 1926 from injuries received after being hit by a tram.

 Massive stained glass windows give a large amount of interior light.

Another overwhelming experience was ascending and descending the towers, we chose one as there are long lines and timed bookings given for both. You are whipped upwards at unnerving speed in a very confined lift. Next, you take the crossing between the tower section at great height and gaze downwards and out to the city views! "Vertigo not allowed," I told myself... only to face the steep downward spiral staircase; where we all cling on for dear life and reflect on the medieval notion of using never ending circular stairwells that are in many European castles.

View from the top over Barcelona.

From the outside, you can again marvel at the cranes and ongoing building that does not seem to detract from the massive high you experience from visiting this modern masterpiece! Lastly, we visited the small museum and wandered across the road to one of the many outdoor eating areas where you can continue to admire Gaudi's legacy.

My Tips: Forget your usual ideas of church architecture and embrace the incredible ideas of Gaudi! Also it's cheap, quick and easy to take the local metro or bus rather than taxis.
Do you have preconceived ideas about places like me? I expected ugliness and found only beauty.


  1. What a beautiful church. Barcelona is definitely on my bucket list!

  2. Hi Kathy, it certainly is the most amazing piece of architecture I have ever seen! Happy travels, you will so enjoy Barcelona, it's full of life!