Monday, December 27, 2010

Barcelona and La Familia Sagrada (Oct. 30, 2010)

Here is the pretty Spanish flag...

We decided to do a Princess tour in Barcelona. Most of our Cruise Critic buddies had been to Barcelona before, or were doing the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, but we opted to have a tour guide. The ship is being decorated for Hallowe’en. They are some very talented food artists in the kitchen.

The port in Barcelona…

There were lots of cruise ships in port. When Barcelona hosted the Olympics in 1992, they needed additional accommodations as the hotels weren’t sufficient. They brought in cruise ships, and this opened their eyes to a great business opportunity. They developed a beautiful port facility and have been receiving almost a thousand ships each year. That’s amazing!

These metal rings are near the port entrance, but I am not sure what the story is. Perhaps they were part of the revival of Barcelona for the Olympics?

Beautiful architecture…


This statue of Columbus is located where he returned to Spain after his first trip to the Americas.

Lots of palm trees…

The luxurious Hotel Arts which was originally built to house the athletes of the Olympics.

This area of Barcelona was an old industrial area that was demolished for the Olympics. They kept the chimney to remind people of their history in this area. The fountain pays tribute to all the volunteers who helped in the success of the Olympics.

This bizarre statue is one of 50 commissioned for the Olympics. It is called David and Goliath...strange!

Las Ramblas used to be a stream bed and has now been transformed into a fashionable promenade. 



Beautiful light standards on Las Ramblas…

These bicycles in the City Square rent for 30€ per year and can be dropped off at many locations around the city. It has become a very popular method of getting around the crowded streets.

Lots of people and lots of motorcyles…

Part of the old heart of the city, the Gothic Quarter…most of the buildings date from the 13th to 15th centuries.

This house designed by Antoni Gaudi was built in the late 1800s and named Casa Batllo. Gaudi, a famous Spanish architect, believed in natural and organic lines, with no trace of anything angular or mechanical. 


This strange façade was designed by a Japanese architect as a tribute to Gaudi.

More lovely light standards…

We arrived at La Sagrada Familia (Holy Family Church) and the tour guide said we would spend 90 minutes here. At first, I thought “what the heck are we going to do here for 90 minutes?” and then later I wished we had more time.

La Sagrada was designed by Gaudi in 1883. It’s still unfinished after a century, and the awe-inspiring building with its massive spires, still lacks completed walls and a roof. At first glance it appears to be very “gaudy” but once you begin to look at the details, it is stunning.

The detail on the front of the church is amazing. It depicts the nativity scene…





This is what the church is supposed to look like when it is finished. It currently has 4 spires and will have 18 when completed, supposedly within the next 20 years. There are 300 people working on the church every day, but the work is dependent on donations as there is no other funding for it. Last year they raised 26 million €, one million from the locals and 25 million from tourism.

These crazy looking towers are actually part of Gaudi’s theme of including nature and flowers in his work.

What looks like tissue stuck to the tower are actually doves…

The left side is new; the right has weathered.

Another depiction of the finished church…

Gaudi was a genius in creating geometrical shapes. He hung weights on strings to determine the angle of the supporting columns and the curvature of the arches needed to be self-supporting.

This shows his string model on the bottom which he then reversed to design the actual building. Amazing!

One of the finished models using his technique...

The workshop where the models are being constructed…

Pictures from the past…

An old photo of Gaudi. There is talk that he should be made a saint, but to be made a saint you have to have performed a miracle. Many of his supporters say this church is a miracle.He was killed by a tram in 1926. It is hoped the Sagrada can be completed by 2026, marking the 100th anniversary of his death.

The back of the church depicting Passion and Death. It is such a contrast from the front of the church where you saw such hope and wonder on the faces of the statues. You would never know it was by the same architect. Work began on the façade in 1954 following drawings that Gaudi had left. The style is completely different with hard, angular features. Gaudi wanted people feel the passion and be moved by it.


The crucifixion at the top of the scene…


The faces are so sad. You could not help but be moved by it. 


It was the first time Jesus had been depicted nude and this caused a lot of controversy.

The face on the right is actually Gaudi’s. He liked to include himself and other people of the day in his works.

The inside…


You can see the ongoing construction.

We left the church. I wished we could have stayed there longer as we didn't have a chance to see all of it and it was so beautiful. I hope his dream is realized and the church is one day completed. It would be amazing to see…

Four great artists from Spain...

Another beautiful church…

Old bull fighting stadium which is now being rebuilt to be used as a sports stadium.

Statue in the roundabout in Placa d'Espanya with three bronze figures representing trade, industry and shipping. It was commissioned for the 1929 Universal Exhibition.

Main building for hosting trade shows and exhibition...

Palau Nacional also built for the 1929 exhibition. It is now one of the most important centres for Romanesque art in the world.

These cable cars are used to take people to the top of Montjuic Mountain, which has great views of the harbour and city. You can also rent a cable car to have dinner in!

View of the city from the top of Montjuic. Look how La Sagrada Familia dominates the landscape.

Part of this park used to be a dump which they cleaned up and have made into a cactus garden.

Beautiful fountain...

The walkways have intricate inlays and designs…

Some have bottle tops…

Some use gears!

A view of the cruise ships…

This statue looks like the dance of joy! It is a monument to the Sardanes folk dancing, a part of the Catalunya heritage.

Barcelona was beautiful. Would definitely like to return there, but for now we are looking forward to some sea days!

No comments:

Post a Comment