Thursday, 2nd May 2019
The Sagrada Familia is perhaps the more famous basilica, but Barcelona also has its own gothic cathedral: officially known as the Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Barcelona. Work started in 1298 and there are rows of secondary chapels within the buttresses as well as a cimborio – an octagonal lantern built over the crossing of a gothic cathedral.
The entry fee includes a lift to the roof for the panoramic views . . .
. . . and there is also a secluded cloister, with a pond which would have been a haven of peace and quiet were it not for the 13 white geese who are kept here, representing Saint Eulalia’s age when she was martyred. When we visited there seemed to be some rather loud and unsaintly goose behaviour going on.
We had pre-booked our tickets for the Sagrada Familia, but as this is obviously a very popular attraction, we were limited to tickets quite late in the afternoon.
You are advised to arrive 15 minutes before your allotted entry time to allow for the strict security checks. No liquids are allowed and bags and ruc sacs have to go through an airport security style scanner.
It was worth the wait and the queues.
Light streams in through beautiful stained glass windows in colours designed to maximise the effect of the early morning and late evening sun.
Tickets are available to go inside the cathedral or to visit the interior and also ascend by lift to the roof on either the Nativity Facade or the Passion Facade. The descent is on foot.
Our tickets were for the Nativity Facade and we went up to enjoy the views out across the city towards the sea.
We last visited the Sagrada Familia about 16 years ago and significant progress has been made since then. Thanks to modern technology we were able to scroll back through photos on Robert’s camera and identify some before and after shots. In the composites below, the before photos are on the right of each pair.
Sixteen years ago there was no stained glass and there was a digger inside the cathedral as works were underway on the flooring.
We hope to return to see this building completed, which is scheduled for 2022.
From here we strolled in the warmth of the early evening towards The London Bar, which boasts a modernist interior and has been open since 1910. It was apparently frequented in the past by such illustrious people as Dalí, Picasso and Hemingway.
It also provided us with a warm welcome and a refreshing drink.
Our Modernism Route guide book informed us that we could find out more about this and other historic hostelries in “Let’s go out” – a guide to modernist bars and restaurants.
For our next visit to this beautiful and vibrant city, we may need to invest in another guide book . . .