Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain 11/13

January 6, 2014

Arriving in Barcelona, we had three goals: Finding a safe parking place for The Turtle V, and revisiting both the Mercat (Market) de la Boqueria and the Basilica La Sagrada Familia.

Carefully following our GPS instructions, we spent a good half-hour wandering around in circles following one-way streets through the chaotic traffic until we finally found a parking lot that had room for large vehicles. It was just a few blocks from the Metro that brought us right to the city center. Strolling down the famous pedestrian boulevard La Rambla, we came to our first destination, the Boqueria Market. It was as colorful and varied as we remembered and we had fun taking pictures and tasting some local specialties.

Fortunately, the waiting line at the Basilica La Sagrada Família was pretty short but we highly recommend making reservations online to avoid a possible three-hour wait in the hot sun. Get an audio guide (it’s worth the price) and bring a second set of headphones that you can plug in for additional listeners.

Basilica La Sagrada Família - Source: Wikipedia. The cranes were digitally removed. Photo Sept. 2009

Basilica La Sagrada Família – Source: Wikipedia. The cranes were digitally removed. Photo 9/2009

While construction started in 1882, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí took over the project a year later. After his death in 1926, things progressed slowly. Monika vividly remembers the building looking like a bombed out church when she visited in 1966 with her family. Obviously that was not the case. It was an enormous church in construction that was started decades earlier. Our last visit was in 1997. Since then, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the basilica in front of over 56,000 people with a mass on November 7, 2010. Now, only 12 years away from the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death, construction is at full speed with paying visitors funding the project. The goal is to finish the church by 2016.

Luck brought us there on a sunny afternoon. The light reflections through the stain glass windows were beautiful and forever changing. Even more amazing was to realize that Gaudí had created this light show on purpose. Everywhere we turned we discovered something unique, often inspired by nature, and we can’t wait to see it when this amazing building is finished.

Torre Agda, affectionately called the Easter Egg.

Torre Agda, affectionately called the Easter Egg.

As we walked back to our home-on-the-road, an icy wind whipped dry leaves across the busy boulevard in front of the colorful 21st century Agbar tower. Fall was in the air.

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Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria

 Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família


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