The Sagrada Familia is an astonishing unusual church to visit. On the outside, it is a confusing collection of both modern and old biblical images (pics to follow soon), and on the inside a combination of really old gothic pillars, with modern electrical lighting and modernism finishing all over the place. It reminds me of the old tie-dies shirts from the 60’s, lego blocks and a little world of warcraft throw in for good measure.
It can get a little crowded (and the queues to get in are long), but it is really worth spending the time to visit this Basilica. The architecture is astonishing (and the museum is not bad either).
Our apartment in Barcelona was in the Gothic Quarter, literally about 200m walk to the cathedral. We quickly got used to sleeping through the bells ringing every hour throughout the night, and to be honest I now kind of miss hearing the bells at night.
Like many churches, visits were free and you could walk in anytime for a moment of quiet contemplation, or of course to take photos. The cathedral has wonderful cloisters, with several side-chapels around the edges. It is a classic example of gothic architecture, complete with gargoyles, crypts and long dark columns. I suspect that Anne Rice’s vampires could have fun here.
The facade is also quite amazing. There is so much detail in the sharp and intricate edges of the building. You could sit outside one of the many cafe’s outside the cathedral, drink a sangria, admire the facade and listen to traditional Catalan music.
While we were there, it was the Barcelona Festival, and one of the many festival stages was directly in front of the cathedral. At night they lit up the cathedral in different colours. The stage was used for traditional dancing, local music and concerts (the other stages had rock and folk music).
Finally, something that you have to see from inside is the stained glass windows. From the outside they are just windows, but fulled with coloured lights as the sun shines inside and lights them up.
Another view of the benchmark of Gothic architecture, Barcelona cathedral. This is the vaulted roof of the cloisters. The cloisters are (slightly) less busy than the main cathedral, but there is a lovely fountain flowing into a pond, in which about 10 really noise geese live. I believe that there have been geese living there for many hundreds of years.
There are also many side-chapels, but most of them are closed off so you cannot really get nice shots of them.