Our last full day in Barcelona (and our final day in Spain after going in and out of Spain for over a month) Andrew wasn’t feeling well – it could have been a slight cold, allergies, or that our moldy Airbnb was finally getting to him but whatever it was we decided to take it easy. Just like for Park Guell we had booked La Sagrada Familia tickets online ahead of time. In June we only had to book a day in advance but doing this online guaranteed our spot at the time we wanted and allowed us to avoid long lines for tickets. So we relaxed in the morning, had lunch and then departed our apartment 30 minutes before our entry time (one of the benefits of staying in Gracia is that La Sagrada Familia is only a 15 minute walk). Along the way we stopped and took some pictures from the park where you can see the ‘Passion’ side of the cathedral.
We debated whether to purchase tickets to go into La Sagrada Familia, we’ve been to SO many cathedrals and the entrance ticket is very expensive compared to others we’ve been in. We found out later that part of the reason why the ticket is so expensive is that you are helping to pay to finish the construction of the cathedral, which was started in 1882. For that reason, and since it was unlike any other cathedral we have ever been in, we were extremely happy we bought the ticket to go inside! We’ve always wondered how these amazing and massive cathedrals were build over hundreds of years so it was interesting to see one in the midst of construction too.
One of the unique things about this cathedral is that it depicts Christ’s life in three facades on the outside. Gaudi was able to not only design but build the first façade which is the Nativity façade but was only able to design the other two. The second façade is the Passion façade, which depicts the crucifixion and ascension of Christ and although the design follows Gaudi’s original guidelines the sculptures are definitely the distinct style of Josp Maria Subriachs. The third façade ‘Glory’ is not yet complete.
The outside of the cathedral is very old and Gothic looking however the inside looks incredibly modern – complete with elevators up to the choir area and towers. They say that Gaudi liked to mix nature into his work and you can absolutely see that inside. The nave literally looks like a forest with the giant columns in different colors (trunks) supporting a roof that is overlain with itself to look like leaves. The colors of the stained glass windows help complete the picture giving the allusion that sunlight is filtering through the leaves into the church.
Feeling energized from our visit we decided to also make a stop by Placa de’Espanya, which is home to Palau Nacional (National Palace), the National Art Museum of Catalonia, and of course the Magic Fountain. In the evening the fountain is illuminated with various colors to put on a beautiful show. We were only there during the day but it was still a beautiful view.