Spain (Day 2, Part 1)

October 22


The next morning, the start of a big day.  We walked to Sagrada Familia, which was as I recall a litte less than a mile straight east of our hotel.  A beautiful morning for a walk – so we did.  After our tour of the cathedral, we spent the afternoon strolling to the waterfront.  Accordingly, I took well over 200 photos on the day that will likely require three separate postings . . . 

[First job was to cross our busy street.  It was morning rush hour – an amazing number of people, men and women, commute by motorcycle or scooter . . . ]

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[Then it was lovely on the roads less traveled . . . ]

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[The second building from the left is a Gaudi (much more on Antoni Gaudi as we go along).  The distinctive design of his structures are a, if not the, major attraction in Barcelona.  We’re heading for one now in the Sagrada . . . ]

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[Some wag on the Google-machine posted this:  . . . stands in the middle one of the many “glorietas” (traffic circles) which stud the boulevard(s).  And I can’t identify or find this one . . . ]

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[Or this one . . . ]

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[Bill and I wondered about the flag.  It is, as Bill suspected, the Catalan flag.  It is also, as he suspected, very similar to the Puerto Rican flag . . . ]

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[And we’ve arrived at Sagrada Familia (“Sacred Family”) . . . ]

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[The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a large unfinished Roman Catholic church, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi (1852–1926). Gaudí’s work on the building is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and proclaimed it a minor basilica, as distinct from a cathedral, which must be the seat of a bishop.  In 1883, Gaudí took over as chief architect, transforming the project with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted the remainder of his life to the project, and he is buried in the crypt.  At the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, when he was run down by a streetcar, less than a quarter of the project was complete . . . (Wikipedia).]

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[Relying solely on private donations, Sagrada Familia’s construction progressed slowly and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s.  Since commencing construction in 1882, advancements in technologies such as computer aided design and computerised numerical control (CNC) have enabled faster progress and construction passed the midpoint in 2010. However, some of the project’s greatest challenges remain, including the construction of ten more spires, each symbolising an important Biblical figure in the New Testament. It is anticipated that the building can be completed by 2026—the centenary of Gaudí’s death.  Describing Sagrada Família, art critic Rainer Zerbst said “it is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art”, and Paul Goldberger describes it as “the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages” (Wikipedia).]

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[Next to the “minor basilica’?]

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[We were not yet on our planned trip tour, so Bill had arranged this Sagrada tour ahead of time.  We met a guide with a red umbrella on the street between the basilica and its same named park.  We were comfortably early . . . ]

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[So, go into the park and take lots of photos . . . ]

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[The start of several vantages . . . ]

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[Beautiful blue sky backdrop . . . ]

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[As previously noted, the basilica is scheduled for completion in 2026.  The existing four spires will be the shortest of the 10 more to come.  Here are four examples of the completed project on loan from the internet.]

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[Back in current time, Bill’s still snapping photos . . . ]

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[While the Super and Anne take advantage of a seldom-found bench . . . ]

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[As I worked my way around, I found photo op crowds at every opening . . . ]

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[I squeezed through to get a shot over the park pond . . . ]

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[To the other side of the pond . . . ]

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[I guess other tourists had heard about this place too?]

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[We have joined the tour and are in the waiting area for tour groups . . . ]

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[There was a discussion of this piece of art.  I can’t remember what it was nor can I find anything on it.  I think it’s new . . . ]

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[The detail of the sculptures in the building . . . ]

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[Our guide is rounding us up for the final assault . . . ]

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[But first, a model of the completed structure . . . ]

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[I can’t believe I can’t find anything on this?]

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[Bill’s getting the poop, the whole poop, and nothing but the poop . . . ]

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[And then we both photo the model . . . ]

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[The detail is amazing . . . ]

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[And here you have Asian faces because they were done by a Japanese sculptor . . . ]

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[The Nativity façade’s Charity portico is closed by two pairs of extraordinarily detailed doors designed by the Japanese sculptor Etsuro Sotoo. Each pair of these bronze doors is 7 metres tall and 3 metres wide (

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[Welcome to the inside . . . ]

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[I was an immediate fan – crisp interior, clean, and not overly busy as most such places often are . . . ]

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[Shooting straight up . . . ]

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[Seems like a good spot to stick in the video . . . ]

[It looks crowded but it didn’t feel that way . . . ]

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[The most obvious transformation that Gaudí managed was to fuse the forms of nature onto the man-made. Columns were no longer symmetrical architectural forms that merely carried weight, but were stone trees arranged as if in a forest, bathed in ever-changing light, reaching upwards in pursuit of the loftiness of medieval cathedrals. His plan was to have the basilica form a link between the earthly and the heavenly and at 172.5 metres to be Barcelona’s highest building, just 50 centimetres less than Barcelona’s nearby Montjuïc mountain. When finished, this will become the tallest church on the planet (]

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[And we’re out – the Super grabs a seat (aways, when you can) . . . ]

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[The west-facing Passion façade . . . Gaudí wanted this façade to frighten and this explains its starkness and restraint. There is the Last Supper, Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial and, in all, the Twelve Stations of the Cross. There is the dove descending and the risen Christ. There are pillars like bones. The four bell towers of this façade contain tubular bells which are surrounded by sloping vents to help carry their sound to the streets below (]

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[The Magic Square – if you add the number grid horizontally, vertically, and diagonally, the answer is always 33, the age Jesus is traditionally believed to have been at execution . . . ]

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[The Super is checking it out from below . . . ]

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[Now we’re trying to figure out where we are and where we’re going . . . ]

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[The Sagrada Família Schools building was constructed in 1909 by the modern Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi near the site of the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Sagrada Familia. It was a small school building for the children of the workers building the Sagrada Familia although other children of the neighborhood attended, especially from the underprivileged classes . . . (Wikipedia, and photo) ].


[The building has a rectangular footprint of 10 m (33 ft) by 20 m (66 ft), and contains three classrooms, a hall, and a chapel, with lavatories in an addition to the building. The construction was done with a brick facade, in three overlapping layers, following the Catalan technical tradition. Both the walls and the roof have a wavy form, that gives the structure a sensation of lightness but, at the same time, great strength. On the exterior three areas intended as open-air classrooms were covered with iron pergolas.  The building has been seen as an example of constructive genius and has served as a source of inspiration for many architects for its simplicity, stamina, original volume, functionality, and geometrical purity (Wikipedia).]

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[And we’re in the classroom now . . . ]

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[The Super’s apparently bored with the subject matter . . . ]

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[OMG, another selfie?]

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[Because he is (and will be) featured so much in Barcelona: Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (25 June 1852 – 10 June 1926) was a Spanish architect who is the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s works have a highly individualized, and one-of-a-kind style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his main work, the church of the Sagrada Familia.  Gaudí’s work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion.  He considered every detail of his creations and integrated into his architecture such crafts as ceramics, stained glass, wrought iron forging, and carpentry.  He also introduced new techniques in the treatment of materials, such as ‘trencadis’ which used waste ceramic pieces.  Under the influence of neo-Gothic art and Oriental techniques, Gaudí became part of the ‘Modernista’ movement which was reaching its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work transcended mainstream ‘Modernisme’, culminating in an organic style inspired by natural forms. Gaudí rarely drew detailed plans of his works, instead preferring to create them as three-dimensional scale models and moulding the details as he conceived them.  Gaudí’s work enjoys global popularity and continuing admiration and study by architects. His masterpiece, the still-incomplete Sagrada Família, is the most-visited monument in Spain.  Between 1984 and 2005, seven of his works were declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO.  Gaudí’s Romn Catholic faith intensified during his life and religious images appear in many of his works. This earned him the nickname “God’s Architect” and led to calls for his beatification (Wikipedia).]

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[Wrapping it up in the school . . . ]

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[In the future . . . ]

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I would sooner be a foreigner in Spain than in most countries. How easy it is to make friends in Spain!  ~  George Orwell

Up Next:  Part 2

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