From cave to cathedral
La Sagrada Familia Travel Blog› entry 13 of 15 › view all entries
The end of our stay in Barcelona is slowly coming closer, but today we are going to visit two more highlights of the city.
The first is Casa Mila, due to the appearance of its façade better known by the nick-name La Pedrera, the stone quarry. It's just my wife and myself now, my parents stayed behind to relax in and around the appartment, and we arrive at the entrance just after opening time. We have to leave our bags at the wardrobe with everything in them. Tripod photography isn't allowed inside (what is it with the Spanish and tripods?) so the steadyness of my hands will be put to the test again today.
The cave-like entrance leads to a circular courtyard with the open sky seven stories above us.
Next we go further up by a flight of stairs, leading to the rooftop terrace. This roof must be amongst the most photographed roofs in the world, with chimneys looking like helmets left behind by aliens and sides looking like a trading vessels from the golden age, gunlatches open, ready to counter an attack by pirates.
The next part of the exhibition is a lot cooler, two appartements have been decorated like they could have been in the early 20th century. Touching the furniture is prohibited, because everything is authentic, there are no replicas. When we get to the bathroom a British couple with their (approximately) five year old son are having a look as well. The father points at a device hanging on the wall, whispering to his wife that anal showers already existed in those days. Two seconds later the little boy points at the same device asking loud and clear: "Daddy, what's that?? Mom and dad try to avoid giving an answer by pointing at the toilet saying that it looks exactly like their own toilet, but the boy won't be distracted and asks over and over again.
It's lunch time now and I tell Trudy that I would really like to eat at the Hardrock Café again. Trudy is willing to come along, but does make clear that we should be eating Spanish food instead of American, for as long as we are in Spain that is. Once again the food is fantastic, but it is a pity that the waiter makes us wait for our change for almost half an hour. Not on purpose, he just forgot.
We walk back to our appartment to meet up with my parents, but we find them before getting there.
We wait for the most extreme heat to go away before we start walking again. By the time we get to La Sagrada Familia it's five o'clock and the buses with tourists have gone back to their beaches again, so we don't have to stand in line for our tickets. The entrance is on the new "Passion" Façade of the enormous building, which is in my humble opinion not as beautiful as Gaudí's "Nativity" facade on the other side of the structure. On the inside the columns supporting the roof (for as far as it is finished) look like giant grass halms, the stained glass window shedding a special light on the interior. The enormous scaffolding (the cathedral is still a building site) looking like the web of a monstrous spider (ever seen Lord of the Rings?)
The elevator to the viewing platform on the "new" side of the building is closed at this time, but the one on the "old" side is still open.
Underneath the cathedral is a museum that explains a lot about the buildings history and the way it was designed and constructed, it's worth spending some time here as well.
My parents leave at a certain moment, Trudy and I keep on looking our eyes out until we get kicked out at closing time. 40 years of his life Gaudí dedicated to designing and constructing this miraculous building, twelve of which he lived permanently in a shed on the building site.
I find it hard to turn my back on the Sagrada Familia and walk away, there are so many more details to discover... There's one thing pulling me back to the city centre, though: my stomach! It's way past dinertime and I'm starting to get quite hungry. We eat at Tapa Tapa again, we agreed to all eat here and maybe see each other here. My parents, however, are nowhere to be seen, they must have already gone home. We order half a litre of Sangria with our food and savour the moment (and the delicious tapas). The waiters recognise us and come over for a chat, it's not very busy in the restaurant, so they can take a little break.
By the time we get back to the appartment it is about time to go to bed, briefly we evaluate the day and then we're off to bed.