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Monday, July 4, 2011

La Sagrada Familia

While walking to this church, it happened to be siesta time and Barcelona was literally a ghost town. The streets were emptied of traffic and pedestrians. Only tourists that don't celebrate siesta time were out and about.
 The below photos are from our personal tour of La Sagrada Familia--another Antoni Gaudi masterpiece. Note also the tower staircase: at one point the interior wall disappeared and a 2 foot high, rounded stone railing took its place. One could see straight down the stairs to the church floor below. It was terrifying. I could only descend the narrow staircase by holding onto the exterior wall and looking no farther ahead than the step directly beneath me. My hands were so sweaty from fear, I was afraid I'd loose my grip, get vertigo and tumble to my death! I kept asking Peter, "Are we getting close to the bottom yet?" He always reassured me. I have been in those tense situations a few times before, when one knows that despite sheer terror, there is no turning back and one must creep forward as the stairs were the only way down (giving birth and walking the suspension bridges above the Taman Negera jungle in Malaysia come to mind).
Walked and walked and walked and finally there she is! The famous neo-gothic church: La Sagrada Familia.  Gaudi started working on the project in 1883 and it is said to be completed in about 2040. 
Front facade
Peter in front of the lower front facade
Me

Interior

Ceiling



Models for the column tops on the exterior. Gaudi based the shape on grasses and seeds in the region.

Rear facade
Peter
Me, waiting for our lift time to ascend the tower (one must catch a lift up and walk down the narrow stone stairs)--they will not allow one to climb up nor ride down.


Close up of some of the sculptural details.
Base of the column
View of Barcelona from up on the tower
Another view of Barcelona from La Sagrada Familia tower
The super narrow tower staircase (174 steps). Little did I know moments later the stone interior staircase wall would disappear and only a 2 foot high rounded stone ledge would be between me and the bottom floor of the church!
Peter, happy this is our last stop of the day before returning to the Hotel Princess Sophia for a rest. When Peter walked straight down the stairs, his shoulders rubbed on either side of the stone wall.
View of some of the exterior columns with seed-type inspirations on top

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