Breaking up winter’s post-holiday dreariness with a trip to a design infused locale has become a seasonal ritual for me. This year my partner and I snuck away for 9 days to Barcelona. Two really important things happened to me during this trip: One, I broke up with United Airlines’ miles program and to quote Taylor Swift, we are never, never, ever, getting back together! Two, a dead architect brought me to tears.
Since this was my first trip to Spain, my senses were simply blown by a culture rich in beauty, detail, and inspiration. We were lucky to be able to stay in my friend’s apartment in the Gracia, a neighborhood with a distinct Catalonian feel. We indulged in a handful of touristy outings with our digital cameras snapping away, lounged over unbelievably delicious dinners, and even took a cooking class in an attempt to keep the epicurean dream alive upon our return to San Francisco.
After a particularly late night of Egyptian pizza (don’t ask) and too much Spanish wine, we overslept and had to cut out a sight or two from our last day. We raced from the Picasso Museum to the Sagrada Família where we were seriously bummed to see a line formed around the block. We begrudgingly took up our post at the back of the line at 2:59pm and at 3pm security guards stood directly behind us to officially close down the line. It seemed excessive until we saw how many people tried to sneak in behind us.
Sometimes procrastinating can pay off because once we entered the church we were rewarded with an almost eerie quiet and empty view. The moment I stepped into the Sagrada Família I cried, which I’m pretty sure I haven’t done since the final episode of Gossip Girl aired. I was immediately swept up in a palpable moment of serene beautiful and sudden peace. It just took my breath away.
A little history on the extraordinariness of the church of Sagrada Família: It began in 1882 with architect Antoni Gaudí at the helm. It became the centerpiece of his career and he continued to work on it until his death in 1926. After having devoted 43 years to the project and it was only 20% complete, Gaudí replied “My client is not in a hurry.” The Sagrada Família remains a work in progress with Gaudí’s concepts intact as various architects continue to build his vision.
Gaudí was a deeply religious man who found his inspiration in nature. Using the shapes and geometry of the natural world, he created an interior that is amazingly otherworldly. The patterns of honeycombs, seashells, and cypress cones can be seen throughout the church. Even the large support columns, themselves a feat of engineering, were created as an enveloped forest with a dense canopy above. For me, the Sagrada Família did the impossible. It evoked that jaw dropping awe and unnameable connection I have only experienced in nature.
We took a zillion photos so here are a few of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them!