Our last day in Barcelona we were lucky to attend a futbol match between Barcelona and Athletica Madrid. Our seats were halfway up at the end of the field. Great views. As recommended when we purchased our tickets, we arrived half an hour early. It was a gorgeous day as we wove our way through the crowds to find our stadium entrance point. Camp Nou was nothing fancy, just plain old concrete.
Doug went to find our seats as I headed to fetch us each a beer. Make that a Fanta orange and water. No alcohol is served in the stadium. However, the fans seemed just fine ordering the available non-alcoholic beer. It seemed so ironic that you can get/have alcohol anywhere in Spain, or in southern Europe for that matter, but not at a major sporting event. Hmm, pretty much the opposite case in the states.
My dismay at not getting a beer was soon forgotten when I walked out to our seats and found we had a Barcelona flag! Yea! Flags were placed on every other seat. What fun!
The stadium has filled a bit more. In the end it was a packed house. Barcelona won! The crowds were a zoo afterward. Getting on the Metro to return to our flat meant waiting in a lengthy line. We opted to find a pizza and let the crowds thin. Still, it was like sardines on the Metro. My first time with people pushed on my back, front, sides. You got the picture. It’s all fun. Living like a local.
Earlier in the week we went on a tapas tour visiting three different taverns/restaurants and tasting the local fare including tripe and blood sausage. This was accompanied by social-cultural-historical discussions of the foods and wine. There were three other couples and our guide. Yup, we really did stay out past midnight!
We toured the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s biggest work. Everything Gaudi designed for the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) has significance. Gaudi was looking for funding and believed if people could see something finished they’d more likely contribute. Therefore, Gaudi finished the Nativity side in his lifetime.
The entrance Gaudi finished symbolized life with a depiction of the nativity. Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus are in the center at the top of the doors. It is difficult to see all the details in this picture. If you look closely you can see the wise men, shepherds, Angels and others who marked the birth of Jesus. This side is covered with ornate carvings depicting life, plants, flowers, fruits, animals and many leaves. Since this side is so old there is now repair work being done as the overall building construction continues.
The opposite side of the building represents death with the last days of Christ depicted through carvings. Gaudi designed this to be very stark and simple in contrast to the ‘life’ entrance.
At the right of the crucifixion is Jesus being laid in the tomb. And, if you know to look above these carvings, you will see Jesus ascending to heaven.
Inside Gaudi wanted people to feel they had entered a forest of large trees and to induce the meditative silence one feels in nature. As a result, the interior is quite modern and simple. Most of the light comes in through the stained glass windows. The colors in the windows all have significance and reflect different times of day. You don’t see any ornate paintings or golden icons. Notice the columns like tree trunks branching off as they reach to the ceiling. It truly was awe inspiring.
Here’s a close-up of the lighted umbrella-like feature hanging over the altar. As you can see, it’s a crucifixion.
Of course we also visited Parc Guell another of Gaudi’s works. This was intended to be a housing development including green space and community space. Gaudi and Eusibil Guell were ahead of their time in this plan, especially when you consider this was built between 1900-1914. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:
“Güell and Gaudí conceived this park, situated within a natural park. They imagined an organized grouping of high-quality homes, decked out with all the latest technological advancements to ensure maximum comfort, finished off with an artistic touch. They also envisioned a community strongly influenced by symbolism, since, in the common elements of the park, they were trying to synthesize many of the political and religious ideals shared by patron and architect: therefore there are noticeable concepts originating from political Catalanism – especially in the entrance stairway where the Catalonian countries are represented – and from Catholicism – the Monumento al Calvario, originally designed to be a chapel. The mythological elements are so important: apparently Güell and Gaudí’s conception of the park was also inspired by the Temple of Apollo of Delphi.”
And some pictures. It was a crowded day. I can’t imagine how it would be to come here during high season!