Gorgeous Gaudi, Barcelona, 28.10.10
Posted by Lisa Hill on October 29, 2010
Well, today we slogged our way through two very long queues but we have seen and been inside both the Sagrada Familia and the Casa Mila. These iconic works of architecture by Antoni Gaudi are huge tourist attractions, and now we know why!
We started with the the church because we were expecting the queue to be long, and we had an excellent guide – much better than an audio guide because she was there to answer questions, and was also up-to-date with the latest news…
Which is that the Pope is due to come and consecrate it next week! (That’s why there’s a poster on the steeple, it’s advertising The Big Event). Thank goodness we came this week and not next because the crowds will be unimaginable – this building was started in 1883 and so proclaiming it as a basilica is a major milestone and one that will bring Barcelona to a standstill, I expect.
Thousands of words have been written about this work of art so I shan’t add much to them except to say that the exterior is fascinating. Every statue is symbolic in some way because Gaudi was a devout Catholic – all the carvings were done by sculptors under his direction when he was alive and in accordance with his ideas after his death. The scenes on one side represent the Passion, and on the other the Nativity – yet to be done is the Gloria (the creation of the earth and the Garden of Eden) and it is hoped that this will be finished by the anniversary of Gaudi’s death in 2026.
Inside, it is a magical experience to walk into what feels like an elegant, airy forest of trees. The stained glass windows are beautiful and the curving lines of the choir high up in the air is so different to anything I have ever seen.
The Casa Mila is the last work that Gaudi finished. It’s a block of apartments, but these days tourists can enter in at the lobby, take a lift to the top floor and see scale models and a fully furnished Modernisme (Art Nouveau) apartment and then go out onto the famous terrace and clamber around the chimney pots. We did too, of course, and had a lovely time even though all those flowing walls and curving lines distorted Tim’s infallible sense of direction just for a moment or two when we were inside!
As we say in Australia, when you’re on a good thing stick to it, so we’re going out tonight to dine at Casa Calvet – which is a restaurant in a building that Gaudi designed!