Monday, November 25, 2013

Spain - Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

When I had my first offline meeting with this particular online friend whom I know from an internet forum back in April, I saw pictures of Sagrada Familia on my friend's cellphone and they made me very interested in traveling to Barcelona. Who would have thought that I would be in Barcelona so soon?

One thing for sure: I regretted not bringing a proper camera for this trip because I hate carrying heavy stuffs when I travel. What a terrible mistake.

You'd probably seen this scenery somewhere lurking on the Internet or Barcelona guide books and I am pretty sure that the pictures you found are much better than mine. Let me tell you this: no photos can encompass the atmosphere brilliantly created by Gaudi's touch.

When I entered Sagrada Familia, I knew that something was special about this place. It gives you the "Oh, God indeed lives in this place" kind of feeling. After all, Sagrada Familia's full name is Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia, which is translated to the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family.

The queue to enter Sagrada Familia was long, and from what I looked up on the Internet, it seemed that the line is almost always long, even during weekdays. We were there on a Thursday and I think we waited for at least 40 minutes. Despite what people say about the losses of waiting for too long in the queue, I would highly encourage you to enter Sagrada Familia, especially if you know that you won't be visiting Barcelona for the time being. 

You can buy the ticket at the front of the line, just before you enter Sagrada Familia. As usual, they have discounts for students. Make sure to exploit this benefit if you're a student ;)

We bought the ticket for the elevator as well because we somewhat learned from our previous visits that there might be something very exciting at the highest place of Gaudi's works. They have specific timings for the elevator and we ended up having to spend about 1.5 hours on the ground floor. But that's actually not very long, because there are just too many things to admire on the ground floor.

There was a museum close to the Sagrada Familia souvenir shop that tells you how Gaudi acquire his inspirations: the nature. The field of architecture is not my forte, but I was just amazed by Gaudi's ability to transform a shape from nature into seemingly very complicated patterns and structures.

He studied leaves, trees, roots, and even crystals.

The level of details of his works are simply too amazing. As my friend said when I posted my experience about Palau Guell: "It's Gaudi, don't ask why, just appreciate".

I think that is the best advice for me at this moment. Any attempts to understand what's going on in Gaudi's mind when he designed and planned all this would probably result in overheating of brain functions.

I wanted to show more pictures of the views from the top of the tower of Sagrada Familia, but it seems that the pictures were not uploaded properly and I already deleted the pictures from my phone because it was too overloaded. Such a pity. But I managed to get this: 

After the elevator ride, you still have to climb hundreds of stairs, but I think it's really worth the effort. And apparently, there are two elevators that you can take. One requires you to climb down the stairs on the way out, and one allows you to take an elevator down. We had to take the stairs down and I think we had no choice. When we bought the ticket, the staff told us to take the elevator located at the back.

And try to come slightly earlier than the time indicated on your ticket because the elevator only takes about 5-6 people, and there are definitely more than 6 people allocated to the same time allocation. Well, unless you're not really in a rush to visit as many Barcelona attractions as you can.

The way down is a little bit narrow, and if you're claustrophobic... it's not really the best option. I'm not sure if you can opt to take the elevator down because when we were there, there was no such option.

And make sure not to get too dizzy from the spiral of staircase. We had a little bit of "traffic jam" because a kid kept stopping because he wanted to look outside every window he found. In the end, we had to skip him and his parents.

It's really a shame that I lost all the photos I took from the tower. But I guess Google will solve all the problems ;)


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