Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Three Days in Barcelona - #1: Sagrada Familia

I'm woefully behind in putting up blog posts, not for lack of things to write about, but things have been busy!  I have less than a month to go before I should be home, and that seems both fine and incredible and short.

I'm realizing that while I've done a lot of new things in the UK this time, I haven't done much in the way of repeat things.  I haven't been to any of the same places in London, haven't gone to Norwich or many of the cities or places I went last time (I did go to York, and passed through Edinburgh, and went on the campus field trip to Lincoln).

Now, as time is drawing to a close, I have ten days in London at the end of the trip, primarily for working at the British Library (reading there has been the big, big difference, this time around).  But I'm thinking on the Sunday, at least, I won't be at the Library, so I should go somewhere else.  I'm thinking, Battle, to see what remains of Battle Abbey, and to visit the site of the Battle of Hastings and such.

Other suggestions?  How about things to do/see near/in London if I want an afternoon off?  (There are some art shows!)

And now, without further ado, Barcelona.  We left on Wednesday afternoon, and got in fairly late, took the Metro to a stop near our Hostel, and as we came up out of the Metro, we were just about right in front of Casa Battló.  There were 20 of us, and as we came up, each of us gasped at the sight.  It's just stunningly beautiful.

Then we walked about a block to our hostel, which was friendly, with a reasonably comfortable bed for me in a room with an en suite bathroom (the joy of life!).

I bought tickets ahead for a bunch of places I was pretty sure I wanted to see, and for the hop on hop off bus thing, and for riding the Metro.  The Metro was totally worth it.  The hop on hop off, not so much.

Here's Sagrada Familia, which I had a first thing Thursday morning ticket for.  The Basilica is laid out in a typical cruciform way, except that there's a cloister around the building that sort of masks the cruciformness of it.  The three short sides are the Birth/Nativity and Childhood (which is where you enter, and I think on the left if you were to stand facing the altar), the Glory (behind the altar), and the Passion.  The Glory one isn't done yet, I don't think.

You wait outside, and then enter through the Nativity façade, so here it is:

I love that there's a bassoonist playing (you can see her/him above, on the far side from the metal circle thing with the initials).
 I went up the Passion façade towers.  As you'll see below, you take an elevator up, and then walk down inside the tower.  And you can see out.
 If you look at the center of this picture, through the metal grating, you can see the figure of the risen Christ; he's near the top of the façade that you see from the outside, above the various scenes of abuse, crucifixion, and mourning.
 Here you can see how on the right, you go up the elevator shaft, then walk across, and you're where you can see the resurrected Christ.  Then you walk down inside another tower.
 Elevator shaft, looking down.
 Stairs, going down for a long, long time.
 In the main church, the different sides and areas have different colors of stained glass emphasized.  The result is that the light coming in changes over the day (so I was told, though I was only there for three hours).  Here you can see the morning light coming through blue and green.  It's overwhelmingly beautiful in person.
 The other side, where light would come in afternoons, would bathe everything in yellow and red light.
 So beautiful!
 The columns go up to branch out as tree shapes.  And they're different sorts of stone and different thicknesses.
 If the rest of the building was beautiful, the Passion façade was somehow the most mournful thing I've ever seen.  It's powerful.  I was in tears.
 The Pieta
 Judas' kiss.
 The snake.  I'm not sure if it's totally done or not.  There may still be work being done?
 Another view of the Pieta
 This is inside.  The idea is that there are chains, and then they hand little weights from them on strings, reflecting the various weights of load on the building.  So an architect could figure out the shape for load bearing.  And then in the upper part, you see the reflection, and you can see how it will look upside down, or, for the building, right side up.  The shapes end up being the catenary arches that Gaudi was so famous for using.  (Here's a Wikipedia link to show how catenary and parabolic arches are a little different.  So fascinating!)
More later, for Thursday afternoon in Barcelona!

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