Day 343: La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia inside is a whole other world. The outside is somewhat dark (in a way) and a bit chaotic. It’s unfinished. It’s busy. It looks like wax was dripped over it from afar. But inside… inside is bright and organized. It’s finished. It’s clean. It looks like every detail was designed with a specific purpose. It’s not as much of a collage as the exterior. And it’s huge. It makes you nod your head when someone says “Gaudi is a genius.” Because one step inside of La Sagrada Familia will make you agree.

Honestly, from the outside when we visited the other day, I was like “Yea, this is big… It’s unfinished… I guess Gaudi was an amazing architect…” But as soon as you step inside La Sagrada Familia, you feel small. Small is probably an understatement. You feel TINY and for once, you’re not as bothered by the vast amount of tourists surrounding you because it seems impossible to fill the space that Gaudi designed to be held up by tree-like columns. You’re practically in a forest. It’s pretty magical, and even more striking than the infamous exterior. At least, that’s what I think. I had a greater appreciation for the outside once I saw the inside… and I had even more of a greater appreciation for Gaudi once I stood in his forest of a church.

The Glory Facade was still under construction during our visit, but we were able to duck outside in a little enclosed area to view the doors from the outside. So. impressive. (I might not be able to say that enough about La Sagrada Familia!) Andrew and I always hunt for the Korean when different languages are represented. I think Korean tourists are always amused when they hear us read or speak Korean to each other. I’m pretty sure the LOUD Korean couple sitting behind us inside the church were downright shocked when I turned around and told them to be quiet – in Korean.

We sat for awhile, as we usually do when ducking into a church or mosque (if I’m allowed) or temple. It always makes for interesting people-watching. In this case, it was mostly watching one of the staff members try to remain calm with all of the tourists talking – or stopping to take pictures – or sitting where/when they shouldn’t have been. Behind the main altar were several smaller side altars, views of another altar below, and these giant organ pipes. Wandering back out to the center nave and I was immediately struck by the light coming through the stained glass and bouncing off of the columns. Kinda within the church, an exhibition of how Gaudi was inspired by nature was beautifully presented. As if I wasn’t already blown away by his mansions, Park Guell, and La Sagrada Familia itself- to see the comparisons between the different kinds of plants, flowers, trees, even honeycomb… and how he integrated nature into his work was ah-mazing.

We walked out to see the Nativity Façade and looking up, you tried to imagine how one would have thought of integrating so much into one façade, let alone completing the construction of it all! We walked through the exhibition of how La Sagrada Familia was realized and sometimes found ourselves just standing in front of something completely dumbfounded at how Gaudi hung bags of sand to see how he could construct La Sagrada Familia by reversing what was hanging. I’m not sure if that makes sense, and maybe you can see it behind Andrew in the video- but it was genius. That’s all there is to it. After La Sagrada Familia, we went back towards the Gothic and Born areas for an early dinner at what was to become (possibly) our favorite restaurant in Barcelona; Bo de B. If you find yourself in Barcelona, go here. Get the salmon salad. You won’t be disappointed. Well, maybe you will when you have to leave, but just walk around and look at the gorgeous street art and that should make you feel better…

We headed over to La Boqueria, the main market in Barcelona. Unfortunately, we were stuffed from our salmon salad and burger that we couldn’t even think about trying any of the food in the market! That was silly of us… But it was still fun to walk through, despite so many of the shops being closed for the summer holiday!

I’m not sure if you know this about me and Andrew (possibly even more true of Andrew) but we love gummy candy. And this stall was heaven. So much heaven that we stood in front of it for a full five minutes looking at how BIG the gummies were before we remembered we were still stuffed from Bo de B and didn’t need anymore food in our bellies.

And then, we made our way to the beach. Once we got there, I was a little amazed at how many people were crowded onto one small area. We lucked out hitting Greece before the tourist season picked up. Zanzibar was rather low-key and even Goa during Christmas was downright quiet compared to Barcelona Beach in the middle of August. And we went well after peak hours!