A few weeks ago the wife and I decided to leave the dreary weather of Amsterdam in search of some sun.  Deciding to venture south toward the Mediterranean, we set our sights on Barcelona, Spain.  We caught a red eye out of Schiphol for what was perhaps the least planned-out trip that I have ever taken.  I seriously didn’t plan anything. Flight: check! Hotel: check!  Everything else: nada.

We arrived at the hotel and figured it out from there.  Sounds spontaneous and romantic right?  Nope.  Complete disaster.  That being said, once we worked out some of the kinks, our trip was quite refreshing. We were able to see that big ball of fire in the sky once or twice a day and that was refreshing enough.  During our trip, we did plenty of the touristy sight seeing that I may have complained about in the past.

Of Barcelona’s major sites, there were three that truly struck me as world class attractions.  The Sagrada Famila and Parc Guell, both masterworks of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, and the Boqueria, a masterwork of nature and good taste, are enough to warrant a visit to the Catalonian capital. I have determined, in my infinite wisdom, that each of these made enough of an impact to warrant it’s own post.  It has been proclaimed and so it shall be.

First, we’ll begin with the Sagrada Familia.  I believe this is one of the most inspired cathedrals I have ever seen.  I could bore you with a detailed history of both Gaudi and the cathedral, but that’s what wikipedia is for, right?  Instead, lets let some photographs do most of the talking.


The cathedral has been various staged of construction since it’s commencement in 1882, with an estimated completion date sometime around 2030.


On the westward facing side of the Sagrada Familia sits the Passion Facade, representing the Passion of Jesus Christ.  The orientation of the facade was both symbolic and aesthetic.  Receiving the last rays of the sun before it sets in the west a symbol of the death of Christ before the resurrection.  Opposite of the Passion Facade sits the Nativity Facade, which receives the first light of each day, as it faces due east.  From an aesthetic perspective, the low angle of the setting sun combined with the sharp angular style of the facade casts harsh shadows on the facade.  This creates the feeling of darkness that Gaudi wanted to evoke with this portrayal of the death of Christ.


Visitors can elect to take a quick lift ride up to the top of the cathedral’s towers.  I would highly recommend this, as the views are quite spectacular.


Cruise ships coming and going from the Port of Barcelona.

Cruise ships coming and going from the Port of Barcelona.


Local apartment building covered in banners instructing the tourists at the cathedral to “F*** Off!”. I guess the locals don’t care for the increased traffic…

Once you have finished snapping a few pics, you can either take the lift back down or navigate the 400+ stairs in varying degrees of spiral.  The views are quite special if you decide to walk it down.


Taking the stairs down also allows for a close up view of Gaudi’s famous spiral staircase at the base of the tower.  Patterned after the path of a maple seed as it spirals to the ground, Gaudi was also kind enough to include a terrifying open center to his spiral staircase.


Poor photo, I know. Who’s the jerk with his foot in the shot?

Next time we will head to the world famous Parc Guell!  Same Bat-channel, Same Bat-time!!!

As always, prints of many of my travel photographs can be found here:

Patrick Mogridge Photography


Part 2 – Parc Guell

Part 3 – La Boqueria



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