Before coming to Spain I had not really heard about the architect (that word doesn’t begin to cover it, he is an artist, designer, visionary, benefactor, and magical person) Antonio Gaudi. I had seen pictures of Park Guell and was charmed by its whimsy. I knew the Sagrada Familia was his most known work, the unfinished church. I bought tickets ages ago to get in, because Rick Steves (or as Chrystal refers to him, my travel boyfriend) told me to. I thought the outside was intense and imposing. I appreciate it, but wouldn’t call it beautiful at first sight. It’s interesting…
We had 9am tickets with the audio tour and were in line ready to go several minutes early. I made Chrystal leave 20 minutes early even though our apartment was half a block from the church. You never know! We grabbed our audio guides (much preferred by me than a person tour guide) and said we’d catch up with each other at the end.
Chrystal said it best when she said she can’t explain the design, she just knows everything is exactly as it should be. I agree. Every inch of the building has a deliberate design element. The sculptures tell a story, the use of materials tells a story. Hearing these elements explained make me appreciate the kind of craggy looking facade so much more.
But nothing prepared me for walking inside. And no pictures will evoke the same feeling for me, or for you, sadly. I just know that when I walked in I stopped: breathing, walking, listening, worrying. The only thing I could do was stare at this church. As brown and scraggly as the outside can appear, the inside is smooth and bright and colorful in the most elegant way.
It is exactly as it should be. Chrystal and I found each other once on the inside, just to pause our audio guides and confirm that the other one was as impressed as we were. Then we carried on. I didn’t want to leave this beautiful space. I sat on a bench inside for a while and let myself just be still. It was really quite the experience.
I met Chrystal back at the apartment a bit later and we planned the rest of our day. My itinerary had the option for the Picasso museum and exploring the Born district, Chrystal said we really should see Picasso while we’re here, so I pulled up the site and bought tickets for the next available time slot which was 2pm that afternoon. We started wandering down that way.
The Picasso museum is in what you and I would call an alley, but Barcelona calls a street in the old district. It had a very nondescript facade. I probably would have walked right past it if not for coming up in a line of over 200 ppl. Uhhhhhh…. Was this the line for ppl with advance tickets? It was not. Chrystal and I went to a different entrance and walked right in. I continue to be flummoxed by this. I bought tickets at 11am that morning. At least half that line was on a smartphone. Why would they wait in a 2 hour queue? I cannot understand this.
I learned a lot at the Picasso museum. I have a much better appreciation for his work, can explain the different phases of his career, etc. He had a very long career, was artistically significant for a lot of years.
Then we wandered. We were going to ear at Arcana at 7, so strolled through the Born district until then. Chrystal was learning just what it really meant when I tell her I like to walk everywhere we go. We decided to kill some time by eating dessert first and had our first churros con chocolate. I did not hate it.
We wandered into the gift shop of this small museum and I saw a Gaudi figurine. Now that I’ve been so moved and inspired by two of his works I thought I should get this little figure and he could watch over me and send magical creative inspiration my way. Then it seemed strange to do that, and I thought I’ll just get a picture of Gaudi and put him in a frame at work. I’ll tell people it’s my boyfriend. That’s far less strange, yes?
We finally got to dinner. Neither of us were starving (see churros con chocolate above) so we split some of the Catalan tomato bread and I had this incredible salad.
I’ve been trying pretty hard to not be the crazy American who takes all these pictures of her food, but it was so pretty, and so delicious! You’ll be happy to know that last night (which was Tuesday as I’m finishing this post about Sunday on Wednesday morning) we went to this excellent multi course meal and I took NO pictures. I just enjoyed dinner. It was nice.
We walked home after dinner. Past the Spanish arc de Triumphe (still don’t know why they have one) and went to bed early. Jet lag had hit us. Plus the 9 miles I made Chrystal walk that day.
With that, I’m off to catch a train to Madrid! I may use that time to recap Monday. Stay tuned…