Tag Archives: Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Sagrada Familia is a cathedral that’s still under construction in Barcelona. It’s the unfinished masterwork of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, whose work adorns the city and who is one of my favorite architects of all time. His work is different and original, and there’s no better reflection of that than this cathedral, which resembles no other cathedral in the known universe. Pope Benedict was just in Barcelona not too long ago, in 2010, to consecrate the cathedral, now that most of the interior work is completed.

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The Sagrada Familia

It’s difficult to describe how profoundly different and magnificent I find the Gaudi work I’ve seen. That said, although the Sagrada Familia was in many ways his life’s work and his passion, it does not fully represent his design. Partially, that’s because his design was never finished; instead it evolved and he modified it as work progressed. Secondly, it’s because Spanish (anti-Catholic) anarchists destroyed some of his models and plans in those turbulent times after Gaudi’s death in 1926, and while some of these plans have been reconstructed, some damage remains. And partly it’s because other artists have, by necessity, had to step in in the years since his death to continue the work on the cathedral, which now also represents their work and their interpretations of his intent. The passion facade, in particular, is controversial, because some argue that its haunting figures and angular representations are profoundly unlike Gaudi’s work, which is more natural and flowing in its design.

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

The beauty of the interior is difficult to describe, or fully capture with the photos I’m capable of taking. The stained-glass windows in particular look about a thousand times more gorgeous in person than they do in the photos I took. It’s worth noting as well that most of the windows lack stained glass, which is still being made and added to the building as we speak.

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

For the rest of the interior, I think I’m just going to share the photos I took and then offer a few brief thoughts.

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

Other cathedrals that are close to my heart – Lisbon’s Sé comes to mind – have an austerity and severity that I love. One way of interpreting the architecture and design is as a representation of the divine, and sometimes, the interpretation that I take away is one of God the Destroyer; the Shiva-like incarnation. It’s a religion-is-serious-business impression; repent-while-you-can. The design of most cathedrals evokes some measure of majesty and awe; it’s an on-your-knees, God-is-great impression, and that’s common. But to me, Sagrada Familia is unique in its capacity to evoke an impression of God the Creator: its wild spray of light, color and shape seems to me to express delight, a delight in the divine; joy; fun. I felt joyous being there, and while I also felt joyous in the Sé (which I loved) and most other cathedrals I’ve visited, the Sagrada Familia is something very special.

Two last, anticlimactic parting shots:

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The Sagrada Familia

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The Sagrada Familia

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Streets & Shrines

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Another shot of a windy Barcelona street:

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Gorgeous

And a street-side shrine:

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A shrine

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Spanish

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Learn Spanish in only 30 hours and for only 150 euros. What a deal! Call it the “Matrix treatment.”

Barcelona-Spanish

A bit like the Matrix.

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Malaga

Sunday, 31 July 2011

I’m in Malaga now, having taken a superfast bullet train from Barcelona this afternoon. No, the train isn’t as fast as a superfast bullet, only as fast as a normal bullet, if you must know. But that’s still pretty fast. In fact they displayed the current speed at the front of the car; here we are going nearly 300 km/hour, or just shy of 200 mph:

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And I didn’t even break a sweat.

And here’s what that looks like out the window:

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Zoom.

Superfast!

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The End

Saturday, 30 July 2011

What’s at the end of the street?

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Just like at home.

The sea, of course. What else would there be?

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Market

Saturday, 30 July 2011

This huge food market was located right off Las Ramblas. By the time I passed through, it was near closing time, but I was mesmerized by this unusual fruit:

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A market of food.

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A market of food.

Maybe dad knows what this is. I didn’t buy one, but this particular booth as trying to get rid of the fresh juice mixes that they had made, sitting in ice, lest they go to waste at the end of the day. So I got two for one euro, and one of them was a mix of this with kiwi. So delicious.

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Marketing

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Some people – marketers and the people who listen to them – seem to think that the essence of absinthe is a very high alcohol content. Which it isn’t, but how do you argue with bottles on the shelf? They just ignore you. I know this; I’ve tried.

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Impassive.

Yes, those are the actual percentages of alcohol. So the one on the right is 170-proof.

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Quiz

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Here’s a quiz. American is to soda as…

Barcelona-American

This is deep.

Or maybe they’re trying to say that being American is like being soda: bubbly and effervescent, and explosive when shaken? I didn’t stop to inquire.

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Columbus

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Yes, that’s Columbus up there, looking out at the water at the start/end of Las Ramblas, one of Barcelona’s most famous drags:

Barcelona-Columbus

You can’t see the apple. It’s too small.

There’s a story behind the statue, of course. It’s said that Columbus discovered the New World. But how did he know it was there to be found? He didn’t, until he stood in this spot on Las Ramblas, an an apple fell on his head. Then he knew.

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Hi

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Just wanted to say hi to the Mediterranean.

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The Beach

Okay, I did more than say ‘hi.’ I gave it a nice pat. I did the same with the Bosphorus, and the Danube, and the Wisla River in Krakow, and the Elbe in Dresden. The Seine I couldn’t reach, sadly, but that’s okay. It knows I wanted to.

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