Thursday Photo Friday #15

December 11, 2008

in Architecture, Cheap Activities, Entertainment, Europe, Museums, Photos, Spain, Travel, Web Tips

Vicky Cristina BarcelonaTuesday is discount day at one of the largest English-language (i.e. not dubbed) cinemas in Berlin.  On tap this week was Woody Allen’s newest, Vicky Cristina Barcelona.  Though a sadder movie than I expected, what disappointed me most was the portrayal of one of those three title characters — can you guess which one?

The film is set in — surprise! – Barcelona, and while every review you’ll read will extol the gorgeous sweeping views of the enchanting city, it felt more like they spent a few days shooting at spots around town before retreating to other locations.  Would that Spain had been more influential in the plot.  As written, the film and its romantic intrigues could have easily been set in any other number of romantic, European, Mediterranean locales. 

La Sagrada Familia ceiling

One of the first things Vicky and Cristina do upon arriving in town is a pilgrimage to La Sagrada Familia, the masterwork-in-progress of architect Antoni Gaudi.  Vicky is pursuing a master’s in Catalan culture (without, I might add, much ability to speak Spanish), inspired by the works of Gaudi and the dulcet strains of the Spanish guitar.  If you’re not familiar with his work, Gaudi’s style was influenced by art nouveau and his whimsical architecture, like La Sagrada Familia, detail on door (Pontius Pilate)that of Hundertwasser, is usually fiercely loved or hated.  For lovers, it is easy to take in a great variety of his works in just a short visit to the city.

Making La Sagrada Familia unique is that it remains under construction, over 12 decades since breaking ground and eight decades after Gaudi’s accidental death; work continues despite setbacks from a civil war, two world wars, and the near-complete destruction of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, sculptural detailmodels and plans.  Workers hope to finish by 2026, the centennial of Gaudi’s passing, though with any construction project of this magnitude, it is unclear whether or not they will achieve this goal.  If you could ignore the modern equipment, it would be like stepping back a thousand years, when many cathedrals across Europe were built, each taking hundreds of years to complete.

The church, open at 9 a.m. daily, is located near the subway station bearing its name.  Admission fee:  10 euros adults, 8 euros students.  Included in the admission price is entrance to the church and two on-site museums.  The site has two excellent gift shops with a variety of reasonably-priced Gaudi gear and a wide selection of postcards.

La Sagrada Familia stained glass

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 minnemom 12.12.08 at 3:55 pm

I love that ceiling picture! Thanks for sharing your photos and story.

2 Kim@Galavanting 12.12.08 at 5:49 pm

Pretty photos — I can’t believe I’ve been all over Spain but never to Barcelona. I keep seeing photos of it lately and think I’m really missing out. Going to bump it higher on the list…

3 jamie 12.12.08 at 6:01 pm

Gorgeous pics. I too have missed Barcelona so far. I keep waiting for an opportunity to go without kids. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting…

4 Meg 12.12.08 at 6:36 pm

I missed a lot of Barcelona when I visited. I was a bad tourist for not visiting La Sagrada Familia, huh? But Gaudi’s stuff was spectacular.

I don’t think the movie missed to much of Barcelona in one sense. I found it more about neighborhoods and people than about tourist sites. I found it very similar to San Francisco, if San Francisco would get an Olympic upgrade. Plus I loved the shots in the museum/park on the hill.

5 Angela Nickerson 12.12.08 at 7:06 pm

My DH is an architect, and we are dying to go to Barcelona just to see Gaudi’s work. Thank you for my little mini break today!

6 Dominique 12.12.08 at 11:04 pm

Fabulous photos! These remind me that I should read the biography of Gaudi I picked up a while back…

7 Jennifer 12.14.08 at 9:52 pm

The view of the ceiling is absolutely beautiful! I will have to add ceilings to my list of things to take pictures of while out and about. I would never have even thought of that!

8 Debbie Dubrow 12.15.08 at 7:38 am

What great shots! I’ve visited the Sagrada Familia a few times over the years, and it’s fascinating to watch the site grow and change (and amazing to consider that it will probably be finished in our lifetimes)

9 Rick Kane 12.31.08 at 6:38 am

I love La Sagrada Familia- it’s easily one of the most amazing things I got to see on my last trip to Europe! If you like La Sagrada Familia, you should definitely check out the Gaudi Museum and park, also in Barcelona. I’ll be going back to Barcelona soon and I can’t wait to see the amazing architecture of Gaudi again!

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