The reason for our trip to Europe started with seeing Drive-by Truckers in Berlin, as anyone who has talked to us this year knows. Aside from Berlin, I toyed with a lot of ideas for adding on to the trip. Barcelona may have seemed like an odd transition, but Jim had never been to the city, and it has been 40 years since I visited, so I thought – why not now – we don’t know when we’ll be back in Europe.
That decision made, Antonin Gaudi became the focus of the Barcelona portion of the trip. His unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, made a huge impression on me when I saw it for the first time as a college student. I wanted to see it again, and a lot more construction has taken place in 40 years, but it is still not finished. I also wanted to see some of his other work.
On Thursday morning we headed to Park Guell. Named for and commissioned by Gaudi’s main patron, Count Eusebi Guell, the park was originally intended as a gated residential community. Essentially, the concept didn’t fly, and the area was turned over to the city as a public park. And what a park it is.
There is a fee to enter this ‘monumental’ area that contains Gaudi’s work, but the rest of the park is free. We arrived at about 9:45 am and had a nice visit before it got crowded. It was teeming with visitors when we left at about 11:30 am.
Jim did a great job photographing the park, and there are way too many photos to choose from, but below is a small selection.
Since we’ve been better at ‘slow traveling’ in Barcelona, we took a break between Park Guell and the star of the show – La Sagrada Familia. We had already seen the outside with a guided tour and had already experienced the ‘wow’ factor of the exterior.
Once inside, the ‘wow factor’ struck again with the monumentality of the structure, as well as it’s use of light, which was a big thing for Gaudi. Unlike many Catholic Churches, which are often dark and ‘heavy,’ this place creates a mood of hope and happiness, at least it did for me.
Maybe we’ll come back for Jim’s 80th and see more completed!