Last stop in Spain… Barcelona. We were able to see quite a bit of the city in our four days here. Since Barcelona is so easy to navigate on foot, we ended up taking our car back a day early and then walking through the city back to our hotel. Along the way, we saw Arc de Triomf, built in 1888 for the World’s Fair. We then stopped at a chocolate museum, but decided to spend our money on chocolate rather than a tour of the museum. The boys all chose traditional chocolate bar flavors, but I went for honey and cheese. It was different and not entirely awful.
Next, we hit the Picasso Museum (no pictures allowed), which was laid out in chronological order and provided a nice explanation of what was going on in Picasso’s life and what influenced him at each phase of his career. The one piece that was missing, however, was an explanation of the influences upon him as he started all the work that we all think of as typical Picasso.
We walked back to the hotel via La Rambla – a tree-lined, pedestrian walkway that stretches for about a mile. About half way back we came across a plaza with fountains and hundreds of pigeons. Vendors were selling bird seed and everyone was feeding them. The boys couldn’t resist and joined in. Obviously the birds are quite used to being fed in this manner and do not hesitate to fly up into your hands or perch on your shoulder. I just tried to stay out of the way and not look like I had any kind of food.
On our last day in Barcelona, we visited the Sagrada Familia – Antonio Gaudi’s magnum opus. Construction of this basilica started in 1882 and, when Gaudi died in 1926, the project was less than a quarter complete. Still under construction, it is projected that the building will be done in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death. The parts of this building that are complete are nothing less than amazing. The exterior of the building is adorned with all kinds of sculptures. Everywhere you look there is something different to see.
Once you get inside, the building is even more amazing. All of the pillars start off very large at the base and gradually taper as they ascend. Then they branch out and, along with the way the ceiling is vaulted, make it look like you are in a forest. The openness of the “limbs” also lets in more natural light. This is important since all of the towering windows are stained glass and are lit up by the sun streaming in. I included a couple more pics of the beautiful colors of the glass work below.
Since this was the only one of Gaudi’s buildings that we decided to pay the entrance fee for, we went all in and included a visit to the towers. You take an elevator up, but must be able to walk back down. The view was incredible. We could see all of Barcelona set against a brilliant blue sky. Definitely the perfect day for the visit to Sagrada Familia. Although we have seen a lot of cathedrals on this trip, this one was distinct and unique… it was truly spectacular. We’ll have to make the trip back in 10 years to see it complete.
Our final stop of the day was Guell Park. Although there is a paid portion of the park where you can see more of Gaudi’s work, a large portion of the park is open to all. It is situated on a hill above Barcelona and has spectacular views of the city.
Spain was a great country to start wrapping up our trip… Madrid had the best tapas hands down; the Alhambra in Granada was beautiful; Alicante is a place we could see ourselves visiting again or maybe living for a few months a year; Valencia was just ok; and Barcelona is definitely worth a visit.
More Barcelona pics…
I did manage to get a fountain picture between bird shots.
Snails were crawling down this section, but we also saw lizards, snakes, birds, alligators, and more.
Entrance side of Sagrada Familia
Boys inside Sagrada Familia.
More interior pics.
Ty looking out from the tower.
Looking down the spiraling staircase of the tower… you can see Ty if you look close.