Saturday, November 29, 2014

La Sagrada Família

Hello from sunny Barcelona! The warm sunshine in this coastal city welcomed our weary souls after having survived an overnight train ride from Paris. And yay! We made it to our second country! Somehow Barcelona felt familiar, weirdly nostalgic even. It felt like coming home to a city you have never been in. Maybe that's why we easily navigated our way to our first hostel, like we had been doing it like last time. To get to our hostel, we took the Metro in Barceloneta, a walking distance from Estació de França where our Renfe train from Paris terminated.

We had an early checkin at our hostel, allowing us to take a rest on real beds and not just on reclinable seats! (The horrors of our train ride that we quickly tried to put behind us.) But my cousin had to stay back for a while because of fatigue from our journey. That journey was really exhausting and we needed to recharge our energy. I went out first and we just decided to meet up at La Sagrada Família. 'Coz you know, we have been in Barcelona many times that we know exactly where we want to go. Not!

After having a quick lunch in some random tapas bar, I then hopped on a Metro to see the iconic church. Yes, another church visit on our third day. Because it's already a known fact that Europe has many impressive historic churches that have withstood through centuries. But it is nothing like if you see one, it feels like you've seen it all. This is simply not the case because each church has its own unique architecture, that comes with centuries-worth of interesting stories. We must also take into account on how these churches had survived amid the conflicts that each country had experienced throughout the years, the vital roles the churches had played in the past, and how these churches had a part in shaping a country's history.

However, La Sagrada Família is a relatively new church as compared to churches that date back even to the middle ages, like the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It is new that it is still under construction since the 19th of March in 1882! I am not kidding you. Anyway, you can very well see the cranes in the photos above. I assure you those are not for renovations.

The church consists of three notable facades. One of these facades is the Passion facade which depicts Jesus' crucifixion, his death and his resurrection. This is the entrance for visitors and the ticket booths are also located at this side.

Even if the church facade is blemished by the ongoing construction works, it is still a sight to behold even from afar. But that had not prepared me of what I'd see inside. The church interiors is otherworldly beautiful! I kept muttering to myself that it is the most breathtaking church I ever laid my eyes on. The church is massive that the tourists continuously streaming in, seemed to disperse into their own tiny space.

I also like the idea how an ample amount of natural light floods into the church. This eco-friendly design makes it contemporary. The core design of the church was by Antoni Gaudi, the famous architect in Barcelona who also had other architectural wonders in the city. Gaudi was the second architect of the church, after taking it over from the diocesan architect that time. He dedicated most of his life to La Sagrada Família until his death in 1926.

In my audio guide, there was that commentary on how Gaudi had intended the architectural design to be like a collaboration of other architects, not just during his time but even the architects that would come long after he's gone.

This will be the main entrance of the church, the Glory facade which faces the altar. I don't have a photo of it from the outside so, this is not exactly the facade but you know what I mean. hehe

I completed my visit by going to the museum in the church's basement. It is also where the workshop for the construction is located. You can watch how the architectural models are being made and with how much work they put into it, you can't help but be amazed. It is a good excursion for those who are studying architecture because for sure, one can learn a lot from all of their genius works. Not to mention, geometry is everywhere.

The photo above is an architectural upside down model of a church, also done by Gaudi. It is made of strings and small weighted bags, that were used by Gaudi to calculate the structures. That man was indeed a pure genius!

I finally met up with my cousin as I made my way from the museum. It wasn't telepathy that we bumped into each other because it is a lot reassuring to be on roaming. But data roaming is out of the question. If you'd be interested, my cousin got the ticket for the towers along with the entrance ticket which I didn't realize then that I didn't buy. The towers offer a commanding view of Barcelona. You just have to take my word for it. :p

This by the way, is the Nativity facade, the side of the church you'd likely see first if coming from the Sagrada Família Metro station. Look at those intricacies! No wonder it has taken them a very long time. One thing though, is we hope that we can visit again the La Sagrada Família when it's finally finished. They say it's 2026 or 2028. We still have plenty of time to save for the trip! hehe

For the most updated ticket prices, you can visit the chuch's website here.

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