Students attending the Universidad de Granada were given a three-day weekend this week, so my friends and I decided to take a trip to Barcelona! Coincidentally, in my Development of Spanish Culture course, we recently discussed the political state and the culture of Catalonia, and in my Spanish Contemporary Art course, we have been discussing Antonio Gaudi’s modernist architecture in Barcelona. This coincidence made for an even more exciting trip as I would be able to see what I saw on a screen, in person with the company of great friends.
After a quick 85 minute flight, we landed in Barcelona early Friday morning. Our plan for the day consisted of taking a taxi to the AirBnb, dropping off our belongings, and getting brunch before heading into the city to visit the tourist attractions. Our first destination was La Sagrada Familia, a large unfinished minor basilica that has been in the works since 1882. It was Gaudi’s main project that he focused on from 43 years of age until his death, when it was only about 20% complete. The Sagrada Familia has three massive façades: the Nativity façade to the East, the Passion façade to the West, and the Glory façade to the South, which is yet to be completed.
In addition, the Sagrada Familia has 18 spires, representing the Twelve Apostles, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists, and, the tallest of all, Jesus Christ. Eight spires have been built as of 2010, corresponding four apostles at the Nativity façade and four apostles at the Passion façade. We sought more of Antoni Gaudi’s crazy architecture, so we visited Casa Batlló and Casa Mila. Casa Batllo, however, was covered as it was closed for renovations. Casa Mila, on the other hand, was not, and we were able to see the undulating stone façade and the twisting wrought iron balconies.
Subsequently, we took the subway to Parc de la Ciutadella, a park located in the heart of the city that was constructed during the 19th century. The park has a small lake, a beautiful fountain and wide grass areas where people sat, relaxed, and enjoyed themselves. The park was massive, and it felt like we were away from the city, isolated from any busy roads, even though we were not. Afterwards, we went to La Boqueria, a large public market with an entrance from La Rambla. The Boqueria grand entrance leads to a world of food that throngs with both tourists and locals. My favorite of all were the fruit stalls throughout the market that sell freshly squeezed fruit and cut fruit in a cup. I purchased both, and it was a refreshing treat to say the least.
The next day, we visited Park Guell, a public park composed of gardens and architectonic located at the edge of the city. The park is massive, and we were simply walking along the path even though we had no clue where we were going. Fortunately, though, we ended up at the top where we got the best view of the city (at least we thought). We looked up, and, there, we saw people hiking up a mountain. We figured why not hike up the mountain ourselves and see what the view up there had to offer. That was a great decision, as we were able to see all of Barcelona, including the Sagrada Familia, and the coast.