Our second full day in Barcelona and about time to hit the Sagrada Familia. Last time Pip and I were here it wasn’t open in any way, shape or form. Quite recently, I gather, the interior has been completed and for the very reasonable sum of 13€ you can enter and ogle. The queue was about 400m long and ranged around two corners before depositing us at the ticket office. Happily we were prepared with cash and I could only feel for those who, after queuing for so long would be faced with the little sign near the end that said, ‘NO VISA’ with a little picture of the VisaCard symbol. Tickets paid for, Gaudi app loaded on the phone and camera clicking we approached the stunning facade, fully prepared (we felt) for the wonders of what might be inside. Just inside the first doors to the vestibule was a crush of photo takers snapping away at everything from the doors themselves to the statues on the walls and tiles on the floor.
Inside the next doors (to the Cathedral) was another crush – this time of dumbstruck (or possibly awestruck – not sure what kind of struck) photographers with cameras hanging limply around their necks and heads craned upwards. We joined the stricken before moving through to join those who had passed through the various strucks and regained the use of their shutter fingers. In the same way as I cannot begin to imagine how our little camera could capture anything vaguely resembling the wonder of the interior, I think words will also fail to communicate anything of its… of its… see – lost already.
I shall re-group and try again. The place is spectacular, cavernous, delicate, illuminated, dark, majestic, simple, sparse and glorious. Having been fortunate enough to visit a number of magnificent cathedrals around and about – I’ve never had the kind of goosebumps this one imparted and judging by the reaction of the crowds within, neither have other folk. We spent about an hour and a half inside – even number young son was suitably struck, although as is his wont it was hunger struck by the end. They say the place won’t be completely finished till 2030 – it will be spectaculo-magnifico-hydramatico-awesomatious.
Now following that experience we could really only catch the Metro back to Placa Catalunya and buy some shit. We needed more appropriate garments, I had completely misread the mood and style of Barcelona and required a more casual look in a warm coat. Pip required some woolly leg garments and Eamon required anything he could talk us into buying for him, although I hasten to add he did part with some of his lucre for a Barcelona training jersey which came as a surprise to both Pip and I.
Sadly, I was afflicted by a blister or four and needed to make for home and a warm salty footbath while Pip and number young son diverted by way of the local supermercado round the corner to lay supplies for the long night at home ahead. They laid in a kg of fresh mussels for €1.30; some pork*; some frozen creamed spinach and a few other niceties for the breakfasts ahead. I cooked the mussels, which also required de-bearding, which I have never done and turned out a yummy bowl of steaming orange meat in shiny black shells. Pip roasted the pork* and provided a delicious dessert of torron flavored ice cream and mysterious Catalan cake.
Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and we will lay in a course to Parc Guell.
* the pork, which I admit did resemble pork of the kind we’re used to was in fact trotters which didn’t thrill me (not being a fan of gelatinous gristle). Pip, being a fan of gelatinous gristle was both surprised an delighted as much as Eamon was amused.