Barcelona may just be a state of mind. How can anything so heavenly exist on earth? She sits right on the edge of the skirt of Spain as it spreads out into the Mediterranean Sea. Of course Barcelona is Catalonian not Spanish, and don’t you forget it. The Catalonians are fiercely proud of their heritage and their independence. We stayed at the Hotel Regina, right off the main plaza and very near the Ramblas.
In Barcelona there is an almost continuous public dialogue about politics, life, religion, and anything that can be discussed. Any day you can find a peaceful demonstration: one day it will be the Communists, the next day it’s the Fascists and the following day it might be Africans. These demonstrations aren’t aggressive in any way. The Catalonians are just enjoying their democracy.
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet’s architecture is the epitome of Barcelona. His vision was the ultimate expression of the Art Nouveau movement. You can see other examples of Art Nouveau all over Europe and America; but you’ll never see any better than Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona.
It’s the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia that is the over-the-top (and last) statement of Gaudi. The Sagrada Familia is the cathedral that has not yet been finished. Gaudi spent the last of his life trying to finish the Cathedral. Work had begun in 1882 and Gaudi continued to work on it until his death in 1926. He was run over by a streetcar while trying to raise funds for the cathedral.
The work continues today. The most interesting things about the cathedral can only be seen close up: It is a pastiche of found objects set in the concrete. There are bits of bottles along with mosaic tiles, and so on. The spires that look so delicate have very wee lifts in them. You can ride to the top of the spires and look out on the whole of Barcelona. It’s also another opportunity to look at the various objects that add color to the building.
One side of the cathedral has the story of the birth of Christ with, of course, the Sagrada Familia in the facade. The other side has the story of the Passion. It is the alpha and omega of the life of Christ. The whole building is so organic you might feel that you’re in a living breathing being.
Please give what you can to Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders).
*When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical may be madness. To surrender dreams, this may be madness. To seek treasures where there is only trash...Too much sanity may be madness, and maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be.
Miguel De Cervantes (1547 - 1616), Don Quixote de la Mancha
*“The Temple grows slowly, but this has always been the case with everything destined to have a long life. Hundred-year-old oak trees take many years to grow tall; on the other hand, reeds grow quickly, but in autumn the wind knocks them down and there is no more to be said"