We are so lucky the storms held off and we didn’t have to walk the Camino in the rain. Leaving cold and wet Santiago for warm and sunny Barcelona, perfect timing.

We checked into our hotel and walked a few blocks, thinking about finding dinner. I turned the corner and caught sight of the Segrada Familia. It took my breath away. I’ve seen pictures of the Cathedral, Antoni Gaudi’s formidable work in progress, but it was so much bigger and grander than I could have imagined. 

It’s really hard to get a good photo, the cathedral is so massive. 

Huge, sky-high cranes work above, extending the towers and construction is visible everywhere. In 1882 the cathedral was begun by architect Francisco Paula de Villar. A year later, Gaudí became involved when Francisco resigned as the head architect. Taking over the project, Gaudí transformed it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete.

Sagrada Familia’s construction progressed slowly because it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950’s. The cathedral is expected to be completed in 2026, 100 years after Gaudí’s death.

We reserved tickets to tour the interior of the cathedral day after tomorrow.

I saw this enormous paella dish, had to be 3 feet across, in a restaurant along the Camino in Galicia, but I have been saving the taste for Barcelona. 

Tonight is the night! Absolutely delicious. Sitting in an outside restaurant, having dinner and a glass of wine, gazing at the Segrada Familia, this is how I imagined experiencing Barcelona. 

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  1. On my bucket list!

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