Yeah, okay, I’m sorry! This morning, yet again, there really wasn’t anything to post. We ate breakfast, packed up, and sat at the Atocha train station waiting for our train. It was a comfy train though, and by the time we pulled into Barcelona around 4:00, we were ready to start exploring!
We’re staying in the modern part of town for a change, on a major road called Diagonal. Amazingly enough, as the name suggests, this street cuts diagonally across the entire city, so it gets a lot of traffic! But it also makes a very convenient jumping off point for getting around town, not to mention our walk from the Metro stop with all our luggage was literally less than 100 meters. This photo is the view from the little sitting nook in our room!
Then it was out and about to explore Barcelona! We off heading east, since we’d been told there was more to do to the west and south and it was already the late afternoon. Though there are fewer actual parks compared to what we saw in Madrid, there is still a lot of green space due to the wide roads and sidewalks allowing for trees and little resting areas in-between.
For example, on a random street corner between a grocery store and the traffic lights, we found this lovely shaded community ping-pong table and resting place! Yup, the ping-pong table was just sitting there ready to go, waiting for someone to come around and decide they wanted to play…
A little further down the street, we stopped in another grocery store for some bottled water and were intrigued to find an “American” section. Here it is! This is apparently what Barcelona thinks are the basic necessities of American food (that can’t be found otherwise here, to be fair). Some of our favorites include: 1) cherry Coke – regular Coke is easy to find here, but this is the first we’ve seen cherry Coke 2) strawberry Hersey syrup, but no chocolate 3) the incredible amount of marshmallows and 4) chewy Nerds candy, which neither of us remember ever seeing in the States. And yes, peanut butter is very much an American thing! It can be pretty difficult to find anywhere in Europe.
Finally we got to our tourist stop for today: the Sagrada Familia Basilica, Barcelona’s famous incomplete church. Construction began in 1882 and they only just passed the halfway done point in 2010! But it is still arguably the most unique church in Europe. Designed by Antoni Gaudi, a very famous Catalan architect known for creating amazing nature-inspired designs, the church is absolutely covered in different kinds of symbolism, leaving each side looking very different from the others.
The first side we saw is called the Passion Façade, because the decoration and symbolism tells the Easter story.
The shorter spires are topped with agricultural symbols such as wheat and grapes to represent the bread and wine of the Last Supper.
The carvings are otherwise supposed to be very sleek and angular to remind the viewer of a skeleton.
The opposite side is called the Nativity Façade, as it tells the Christmas story instead! Doesn’t it look like it’s a completely different building than the Passion Façade? It is supposed to be more full and nature-inspired to remind the viewer of the abundance of life.
According to the original plans, the entire façade will eventually be painted like this example on the Tree of Life.
Honestly, from a distance all the curving lines made us think it looked remarkably like a sandcastle that’s been hit by water, but up close the decoration is quite beautiful! (Painting will probably help define everything once it’s complete.)
There is a third façade planned, the Glory Façade which will explain what happens after death. However, construction on that façade was only begun in 2002 and right now all you can see is the beginning of a few columns and a lot of construction safety equipment.
For those of you counting…yes, there are still 4 sides to the building. However, the last side is not a façade…it’s just a side. Considering most buildings, even very ornate cathedrals, typically only have 1 façade, we’ll give Barcelona a pass for “skipping” the last side 🙂
Our comments winner for today is…Rilee M! Congratulations Rilee! Get ready for two posts a day starting again tomorrow – now that we’re settled in and all the logistical stuff is taken care of for a while, we’re excited to get out and about in Barcelona starting bright and early tomorrow!