Due to the unfortunate strike in France, we only ended up with one full day in Barcelona. After waking up with only 6 hours of sleep (train travel from Nice to Barcelona is entwined with transferring and late night trains and we ended up in bed by 1) we made it out the door at around 9, set on the Park Güell. At first you think the park is from the future! Antoni Gaudi, the architect, designed this park to be like a fantasy, with curved benches of glittering mosaic tiles and columns of trees. He believed in natural beauty and designed everything to look like something from nature: all of the columns in the park look like trees, the building blocks are natural stone, many animals are carved into little nooks and crannies, and more… It was really fun to explore!
From the park we made our way to Gaudi’s life’s work: The Sagrada Familia. The church is unlike any church I have ever seen. It has 3 different façades, the Passion, Nativity, and Glory façade. We ended up in front of the Passion façade first and it is incredibly contemporary. All of the statues are cut in harsh lines with no detail yet incredible detail too. It describes the death of Jesus from the Last Supper to the cross at the top. Gaudi left instructions on this façade and it was completed in the 1950s. The Nativity façade is almost the exact opposite on the opposite side of the church. It has so much detail it is insane. At one point you just look up and your jaw drops. There are scenes and symbols from the Bible everywhere. You could study the Bible simply by looking at the front of the church. As you walk around you can also find some funny details; some of the little towers have big fruit piles on top and one wall has lizards wrapped around the columns. The Glory façade is still under construction. Gaudi never meant for this church to be completed, since art is always changing and evolving.
We tore our eyes away and made our way to the La Rambla, where we strolled down the street happily (occasionally whining, but only very occasionally) and counted the number of FCB Barcelona soccer jerseys. I can recommend the app Barcelona 2 Go, which gives you a whole map of the city (you don’t need internet) and all of the sites there. The very important ones have a wikipedia button. For instance, at the Sagrada Familia, we learned all about the different facades by reading it on the iPad, without internet access or anything. It is also a very handy map to have and other apps like this include Paris, London, and Rome 2 Go. After the La Rambla our short stay in Barcelona was over and we boarded a plane to Malaga at 8:25 the next morning. We are now in Jimena de la Frontera in a peaceful house on a quiet street in a small little town, far away from the city.