Segrada Familia 

Today was all about the cathedral, Segrada Familia, but of course we fortified ourselves first with cafe con letche and pan de chocolat. You know what happened to those before this second cup.

I wonder how long it took Antoni Gaudi to design the incredible detail for this church.  We opted for the audio tour so we could understand the description and explanation but as always, I have more questions after the tour than before we started. It’s impossible to convey the magnitude in pictures or words so I’ll just mention a few of my favorite things.

The cathedral is built in the shape of a cross with what will be the main entrance still under construction. The opposite bars of the cross depict Christ’s birth and death. The top of the cross is all about the resurrection.

The stories high towers seen from the outside are configured to direct light into the interior. Gaudi said, “There is no better painter than the sun.”

The stained glass windows were very modern in composition. Instead of portraits of saints, they were abstract color “patchworks,” cool colors on the eastern side, shading light to dark, top to bottom.


Warm colors of the setting sun were along the western side and the colors also progressed towards the front of the church, on both sides, blending into the greens of nature. Gaudi would have been a heck of a quilter, huh.

The soaring pillars reference tree forms, branching for structural support. Gaudi wanted worshippers to feel a connection to the natural world and conceived the inside as a great forest. 

When I get home, I’m getting a book on the Segrada from the library because this is where Gaudi really loses me. The ‘parachute’ over the alter has a specific name that I don’t remember. And I definitely don’t understand electric lights, grape clusters and figs hanging from the edges, and it was so small. 

Shouldn’t the Resurection be the main point? The alter beneath the crucifiction was very small with no ornamentation. This part is complete as Gaudi intended. I am left pondering…

Exiting the church, opposite Jesus’s birth on the other side, the story of crucifiction and death is the subject. 

Gaudi moved into a small house on site when overseeing the construction of the cathedral. On June 7, 1926, Gaudí was taking his daily walk and was struck by a passing tram and lost consciousness. Assumed to be a beggar because of his lack of identity documents and shabby clothing, the unconscious Gaudí did not receive immediate aid. Eventually a police officer transported him in a taxi to a poor hospital where he received rudimentary care. By the time the chaplain of the Sagrada Família, recognised him on the following day, his condition had deteriorated severely. Gaudí died on June 10, 1926 at the age of 73.

Does it seem like all we do is eat and drink? In Spain, the main meal of the day is eaten around 2 o’clock, with several glasses of wine or beer. I think Gary could eat dinner any time of the day (or twice a day) but all I want is a salad and I’m really craving a bag of potato chips. Both seriously hard to find in Barcelona.

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  1. Christine says

    Wonderful! You’ve educated me, entertained me & enticed me to go to Spain!

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