If you haven't already read Barcelona Part 1, here it is.
**disclaimer: I thought about making this into three parts but then I decided that I really didn't want to write another post. So instead it's just a really long Part 2. Enjoy!
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I know it seems like I am posting a lot of Barcelona pictures, but that's only because I am.
Barcelona is really photogenic.
Continuing our adventure, we hopped off the tour bus at La Sagrada Familia which was designed by Antoni Gaudi. His plans for this church were so ridiculously huge that the city officials told him it would never be completed in his lifetime and asked him where he would get the funds for such a large project. Gaudi replied that God would provide and see the building through to completion.
The church still isn't finished, but it has been in continual construction since 1882. Most of the money has been provided through donation and it should be completed in 2026 but who can really tell? Once finished, it will have a total of 18 spires and the newest ones will half again as tall as the ones you see in the pictures. As a church that has been under construction for over 100 years, it has also needed a lot of restoration. I find that kind of funny somehow--simultaneous restoration and new construction that is still a semblance of Gaudi's original plans.
We didn't go inside because we just didn't have time for the two or three hours that is recommended to fully experience the building and we didn't want to pay full admission for only a few minutes. I found another blog post that does show interior pictures here.
The height of the church is so unreal. It's just BIG. And so intricate. I don't think you could get bored looking at it if you tried.
Hopefully, someday we'll be able to go back and see it without all the cranes and netting everywhere.
With heads still full of churches, we headed off to Park Guell and I'll give you three chances to guess who designed it.
Are you starting to see a theme in Barcelona?
There was a grand view of Barcelona from Park Guell and I must say that I was very impressed with the whole thing. I haven't encountered very many free (presentable) parks in Europe. I'm experiencing an Italy flashback right now where we walked for a very long time in the hot sun to get to a park.. only to find out that it was 5 euro per person to enter. That was a great big disappointment but Park Guell was not! They even had policemen patrolling every so often to scare away the illegal vendors, rabble-rousers, litterers, etc. There was also a band or two playing which added nicely to the atmosphere. A didgeridoo made an appearance at one point. Have I mentioned the view?
After the Park, we stopped off at the Royal Palace to walk in the gardens (which weren't very impressive, I don't care what the audio guide says).
And then we took the funicular up Montjuic to see Montjuic Castle (which is free!). I would definitely recommend taking the funicular up the hill versus walking because 1.) you don't get hot and sweaty walking up and 2.) the views from the air are ridiculous.
You see that gigantic building in the middle of the photo? That's La Sagrada Familia. I realize now that it doesn't look quite as big in the photo as it did in person. But it was impossible to miss. It's huge.
We took the funicular down the hill, finished the last bit of our bus tour and walked down La Rambla which is a popular pedestrian street. The photo below is a street off the side of La Rambla. We bought ourselves a painting and headed back to the ship for some dinner where we met a nice French couple who warned us to be wary of pickpockets and thieves in Marseille. I taught the old gentleman how to pronounce thief. He taught me that the French do not like sticking out their tongues when they speak. Touché.
We loved you, Barcelona! We'll be back someday.