Despite the morning’s grey skies, we hopped back on the double decker bus to continue our tour of Barcelona. We hopped off at Casa Milà, an apartment building designed by Gaudi in the early 1900’s.
While it’s curvaceous balconies and fanciful chimneys are the star attractions, we were intrigued by it’s inner workings….. it’s designed without load-bearing walls….allowing the apartment’s tenants to move walls at will…..and, since the apartments are built around interior courtyards, almost every room is filled with sunlight. Perhaps Gaudi wasn’t as mad as his designs would indicate.
We had a late afternoon reservation for entry to La Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family….. Gaudi’s still unfinished masterpiece), so we whiled away the time on our bus tour of the city. As we traveled along Barcelona’s busy avenues, the skies began to darken. Before too long, we felt a few raindrops. Unwilling to leave our lofty viewpoint, we optimistically hoped the rain would quickly and lightly pass. It didn’t. No problem…..the bus had a retractable cover. We waited for the driver to close it. He didn’t. It was broken. As the raindrops grew larger and more frequent, one by one, we adjourned downstairs to the dry (but viewless) bottom level.
As we neared La Sagrada Familia, the already heavy rains became torrential. The bus stopped and we ran…..across the street…..to the entrance…..to the audioguide kiosk…..and, finally, to the church. We were drenched and dripping as we entered this sacred place…..but the cold and the wet were no match for what awaited us.
I don’t know what I expected to find…..but this surpassed anything I had anticipated.
Surrounded by tall columns reaching to the heavens, I felt small…but not insigificant. Walking through this enchanted forest of white pillars, I was enveloped by an overpowering sense of peace.
As the rains subsided, I left the simplicity of the nave to view the grandeur of the facades.
The Navitity facade, designed by Gaudi, is an exuberant celebration of the birth of Jesus.
The Passion facade, designed by Josep Maria Subirachs, is a stark representation of Jesus’ death.
So beautiful in it’s simplicity, so creative in it’s symbolism, so independent in it’s construction. This church, so very different in it’s totality, took me by surprise.
“Artists do not need monuments erected for them because their works are their monuments”~ Antoni Gaudi