In 2014, Bill and I had long weekend in Barcelona, and it was certainly one of the most extraordinary cities we have visited. I was a little nervous about this trip because the press had made this beautiful city appear to be the crime capital of Spain and I almost expected to be mugged as I got off the plane!
As is our custom, Bill had done his research and had the trip planned to walk me off my feet and had included a trip to watch Barcelona football team at Camp Nou stadium! Ho Hum!
For me, the outstanding features of the city were the Antonio Gaudi buildings and gardens. I must be honest I did not know anything about this extraordinary man beforehand and was simply thrilled to discover his work. The Gaudi house is now a museum is open to the public and was our first port of call. To say the place was organic is really an understatement. I was not able to take pictures inside the building, but you can see from the outside that, bearing in mind that Gaudi died in 1926, he was very ahead of his time.
We had bought tickets in advance when going to the Basilica of the Holy Family also known as Sagrada Familia, so we only queued for an hour to get inside. It is rather a strange feeling visiting this vast structure with towering cranes in position as the building is still not completed.
On 19 March 1882, construction of the Sagrada Familia began under architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. In 1883 Gaudi took over as chief architect, transforming the project with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudi devoted the remainder of his life to the project, and he is buried in the crypt. At the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. On 7 November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the church and proclaimed it a minor basilica. It was hoped that the building might have been completed by 2026 but sadly Covid restrictions have meant that this will be delayed.
Everything about this building is surprising starting with the magnificent bronze carved front doors. They are covered in three-dimensional leaves and branches with hundreds of tiny carved insects visible through the leaves. I will leave you to look at the images of the reality of one man’s dream – I am looking forward to going back to Barcelona when the building is completed.