Monday, November 21, 2016

Dames at Sea, Day Thirteen: Last Day in Barcelona, Sagrada Familia

After almost two weeks underway, we reached the end of our trip of a lifetime. We had been to four countries, experienced Rome and Barcelona and had eaten a lot of amazing food.  My photographs will help me to remember every moment. The world is an amazing place and one thing I have found is that people are the same regardless of which part of the planet they are from.  Everyone responds to a smile and desires appreciation. It is amazing that we had no negative experiences.  No one tried to pickpocket us, despite dire warnings from friends.  Everyone we came in contact with were friendly, kind and helpful and our memories are warm.

Our last day in Barcelona was devoted to Gaudi's Sagrada Familia.  We had purchased timed tickets in advance.  They usually sell out, so it was necessary to get them beforehand. Construction began in 1882 and was only one quarter complete by the time of Gaudi's death in 1926.  The goal is to complete construction by 2026, one hundred years after his death. It has been described as the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages.

The church design has eighteen spires, representing the twelve apostles, the Virgin Mary, four Evangelists and, the tallest spire, Jesus Christ.  There are three facades: the Nativity facade faces the east; the Passion to the west and Glory to the south. On the interior, Gaudi designed the columns to mirror trees and branches. Opinions about the church are polarizing.  Some experts have called it "hideous", others "a marvel of technical perfection" and "spirit symbolized in stone".  I personally found it emotionally moving, jubilant and whimsical all at the same time.  It gives glory to God and I have the sense it was built for that purpose, not for the glorification of the architect.

 Inside, soft, heavenly music wafted through as we sat and took it all in.  Special sitting areas were designated for prayer and quiet, no photos allowed.  We were brought to tears.

Saying goodbye to Barcelona was difficult.  Our three days there have only whetted my appetite to return and really get to know the city.  A girl can dream!

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