125 Years In the Making and Still Not Complete
Trip Start Sep 07, 2010
60Trip End Aug 21, 2011
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After riding the train in from Sant Cugat, our first destination was La Rambla. La Rambla is a long street that leads directly to the Mediterranean, and it is lined with an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, vendors, and street acts
A little ways down La Rambla is an offshoot to the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria which today is a market that sells just about anything you could want to eat. Originating from 1217 as a meat market, you can now get fruit, candy, meat, souvenirs, and basically anything else. They have a lot of seafood too, and, of course, it’s the kind that is still moving on ice when you buy it.
At the end of La Rambla is the Monument a Colom (in Catalan) or the Mirador de Colón (in Spanish) or the Columbus Monument (finally, in English) dedicated to none other than Christopher Columbus. The monument lies where Columbus returned from his first journey to the Americas. If you will recall from elementary school, Columbus initially wanted to circumnavigate the globe to Asia. Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain thought that the prospects of a trade route with the East could be a very lucrative deal and funded Columbus’s travels to Asia. Thus, the Santa Maria set sail to essentially change history forever, especially among the kingdoms of Europe. The monument has reliefs on it that detail the first voyage, from meeting with Isabella and Ferdinand, to meeting the Indians for the first time.
Past the Columbus Monument is Rambla de Mar, a continuation of La Rambla that stretches out over the Mediterranean
From here, we took the Metro inland to visit the Sagrada Família (officially Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Catalan, or Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, in English). This is an enormous church with a lengthy construction history, and it is still not yet completed. The architect behind the project is the famous Antoni Gaudí (who designed many other buildings and places that I will cover later). The Sagrada Família is more than over-than-top in ambition. The project started in 1883, but construction was interrupted by numerous delays (Spanish Civil War, lack of funds, and Gaudi’s own death in 1926 when he was hit by a train). Construction is planned to be completed in 2026, but with over a hundred years in the making, we’ll see if that actually happens. Once completed, the edifice will have 18 spires, rather than the 8 that are complete now, and upon completion will be the tallest church in the world.
The detail of the Sagrada Família is astounding. Gaudi designed the every detail of the church to be symbolic. The outside of the Sagrada Família has three different façades that are each symbolic: the Nativity Façade, Passion Façade, and Glory Façade. The Nativity Façade was the first one completed in the 1920s. The face of this side of the building details in statues the birth of Jesus. It features the Tree of Life and other naturalistic themes
If you thought the outside was complicated, just wait until you get inside. The sheer size of the building becomes apparent. The massive columns that suppose the ceiling brand like trees, and the style of the interior is uniquely Gaudí. Though the interior is not complete either, there is important attention to detail inside, including alpha and omega symbols everywhere signifying that Jesus is the first and the last.
Using the Metro again, we moved from the Sagrada Família towards Parc Güell, another Gaudí creation. That park sits up on the hillside and offers spectacular views of Barcelona
After a long long day out, we were ready to head back to rest up for another day of exploring Barcelona. Be prepared for another entry on Barcelona before I head back to England.