Antoni Gaudi's works can be seen throughout Barcelona. And Park Güell was the ideal place to go with kids to see some of Gaudi's work. (In fact, I bought this book as my souvenir of Barcelona.) Gaudi was commissioned by the city in the 1920s to create a Modernisme community integrated within a natural setting.
We didn't pay the extra charge to go into the "fee" part of the park. But enjoyed stolling around, stopping at a playground, and listening to various street performers.
After the Park, we stopped at this place for churros con chocolate. (Which I had still been wanting since Els Quatre Gats disappointed us.)
Notice the kids are sitting at the top of a LOT of stairs? This was the way we came up. We never would have made it, except sections of the hill have escalators. That kept our kids moving upward on the sections that didn't have escalators, because they just had to make it to the next escalator! Maybe it doesn't look that bad to you, but you actually are not even close to seeing the bottom of the hill in this photo. And there are homes on this street. I can't even imagine.
Our visit to Park Güell was the highlight of a day of frustration. In the morning we had gone to Sagrada Familia to get in line for tickets and were told the next available entry as at 6 pm! We left and went online to buy tickets for the next day, but that left us with time to fill. Several people around town, upon seeing our kids, told us we should visit Tibidabo. So, without doing any research on it, we decided to head there. (Mistake!) We rode the metro, and then an old fashioned street car up a very steep hill. Which dropped us in front of a funicular to an amusement park. Now, I'm not a total Grinch, but we didn't have an extra couple hundred dollars in the budget for this trip to go to Tibidabo. (Besides we just went to Tivoli Gardens less than 2 months ago.) So we had lunch at a bizarre restaurant/lounge at the top of this hill. (Teeny tiny red velvet couches and knee height tables- the kids liked the seating, Rob not so much. Rob liked the food, the kids, not so much.) And then we headed by foot to Park Güell. After the Park we thought we'd try hitting the Picasso museum for an hour or so. But when we arrived there we literally could not see the end of the line! It went on for blocks. There was no way we could wait that long. So we ended the day at a German restaurant near our apartment.
The next day we headed out with renewed hope that it would be a great day in Barcelona! After all, we were FINALLY going to see Sagrada Familia!SO, what's the big deal about this church? Antoni Gaudi designed Sagrada Familia in the early 1900s and began to build it. At the time of his death in 1924, it was only about 20 percent completed. He liked to quip, "My client is not in a hurry." And it is actually still not completed, and is estimated to be about 70 percent done now. The projected completion date is around 2030. Visitor entrance fees are being used to finance the project, so when you visit you are actually helping to build one of the grand cathedrals of Europe, which is pretty rad.
The church was consecrated by the Pope in 2010, and services are held there in the smaller chapels. After my standard, "this is a church, we use quiet voices and behave respectfully" lecture, we entered the sanctuary and were overwhelmed by the construction noises. It was a different sort of experience for sure. But it is sooooo beautiful inside.
And outside of course. The details are overwhelming, and I don't know how much time it would take to try and understand all of the elements Gaudi included. You can try wikipedia if you want to know way more about it than I will write here.
But back inside, the columns rise like trees and branch out at the top.
The stained glass is different than any I have seen before. And the sun was shining to give us an awesome view of it.
This is an up close look at one panel.
And a larger view of one wall.
When the light filters through the stained glass, it causes this subtle rainbow effect inside the church. Also, check out the spiral staircase in the back corner.
Back outside again, I tried to capture at least a few of the beautiful details. Here are the three wise men, and above them angels playing music at Christ's birth on the side called the Nativity Facade. See the bassoon?
Here is Toby on the side called the Passion Facade. Behind him you can see Judas betraying the Savior with a kiss, and a diagram of numbers. The numbers add up to 33 across, up and down, in groups of four, and diagonally. (The age Christ was when he died.) Our mathematician appreciated that.
This is a view of the Passion Facade from a distance.
And this on the Passion Facade is the denial of Peter. In the Bible, Christ told Peter he would deny him three times before "the cock crows." Peter couldn't believe he would do that, but then he did. (The rooster is just to the left and got cut off by the photo.)
Sagrada Familia was totally worth coming to Barcelona for. It was an unforgettable experience for our familia.
After that, we made our way back through the streets of Barcelona one last time and picked up some souvenirs.
One metro ride later, we were walking back to our apartment to pack up. How do you celebrate the end of an exhausting trip with tons of walking? By relaxing on the playground of course!