Monday, June 16, 2008

Gaudi day!

Pictures of my day of Gaudi

No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a visit to Antoni Gaudi’s Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia (Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family) and the Park Guell. Gaudi was a famous architect from the 20th century responsible for many of the whimsical buildings in Barcelona. Not many of his works have straight lines, and seem modern even for today’s standards. la Sagrada Familia, his most famous work, was started over 100 years ago, is still under construction, and is slated to be finished maybe sometime in the 2020’s. This is my favorite church, and maybe building, in the whole world. I have been waiting a long time to see this. I rode the bike paths from the hotel to the site, and entered the museum in the basement first, actually, this was dumb luck, as I was really looking for the bathroom. I was able to see the history of his life, and this particular building in detail, and also able to witness the workshop where the master builders are quietly measuring the scale models for the continuing construction. Next I rode a lift to the top of some of the towers and got a great view of the city, and the tops of the towers that are decorated in different fruits in mosaic form, as gifts to God. The walk back down the spiral staircase was really quite frightening for even me. It was sooooooo steep, and narrow, there is no way on earth this would be open to the public in America! Inside the main part of the cathedral, the roof was just being completed in the main hall, and the columns that hold up the roof were like nothing I have ever seen before. They looked, by no coincidence, like trees. I spent a good 3 hours here taking it all in. Afterward, I rode to the top of the mountain behind the city, to a spot where Gaudi was commissioned to create a natural park. The main entrance to the park has a cute set of guard houses the house a museum of some of his other works. Above the houses is a covered plaza for a marketplace, and above that still is an open air plaza for yet more market space. Walking up the stairs you pass a couple of mosaic statues and fountains (being fixed that day), to a cute little covered mosaic bench for resting. The entire perimeter of the top open air market place was a mosaic bench for resting. This place was truly amazing! I climbed further up the park to see fantastic bridges and archways leading to more gardens, and more fantastic bridges and archways. What a great way to spend an afternoon, then I was off to Menorca by overnight ferry!

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