22 February 2010

barcelona: the churches i visited

The Churches

I journeyed to Barcelona with few expectations.  In fact, I was quite delighted that one girlfriend found the apartment, one booked the travel, another read the guide books, another (art teacher extraordinaire) could be my walking history book, three had traveled there before, one would ensure that we'd have enough provisions, another had iPhone apps . . . . this was a low stress affair on my travel planning meter.

Having lived in Italy for as long as I have, I have to confess, I am pretty much done with visiting churches. (Sigh.)  I seek them out in the heat of summer for their natural air conditioning and plentiful seating, and because, well, I like to light the candles and give an offering along with a small prayer.  It just feels right.  However, I rarely purposefully include them in travel itineraries for the sake of art or architecture; I could die a complete woman never seeing another fresco, and I like frescoes.   (Though I did drag Richard into the St. Louis Cathedral in NOLA -- again -- when we went there this summer, but that's different, right?)

I visited two distinctly different, yet equally amazing, churches over the weekend:  the gothic Cathedral of Santa Eulalia or La Seu Cathedral and Gaudí's still-unfinished masterpiece,  La Sagrada Família.  Wow. Double wow.  The gothic cathedral seems to be such a change from what I see in Italy, that, even in all of its glorious "gothicness," it was strangely refreshing.  And Gaudí, well, he just enters your soul and settles there a while, in a rather organic way -- that's all I can say about that.  Art. Energy. Life. Fun. Passion. Love. Faith.   I learned that the artist was a devoutly religious man.  I appreciate seeing Christian faith manifested and embraced so grandly, yet so differently, from the way I've grown accustomed. 

I offer you my best images of the churches; sorry, I did not take the time to resize them.


I'd say it was a wise choice to visit these two churches on the same day.  Very wise.  Thanks to my cruise directors, event planners.  Muchas gracias, chicas!  Sorry that I don't have much of an art history lesson for you -- I probably won't on the next post either.  I'm still learning myself.  

Know a good Gaudí biography to recommend?

Stay tuned for more on our trip. . . .


  1. barcelona was a place that was not on my radar at all, until we were looking for an inexpensive place to visit the christmas before last...and it has turned out to be one my favorite places! sagrada familia is definitely my favorite cathedral of all the ones we've visited (i'm beginning to feel the same way about churches). so incredibly amazing!

    sounds like you had a wonderful trip!!

  2. Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I hear you on Churches. When I was 17 my mom took me on a trip to Europe and by the end of the 10 weeks, all I wanted to do was sit in a cafe drinking hot coco and watch people. I had enough of churches and had felt like once you seen one you had seen them all. I would like to see the church though that Gaudi designed.

  4. I must go to Barcelona - I love your photos of the Sagrada Famiglia!

  5. Great photos! I'm not a really a fan of the Gothic, but I can see how you might find it refreshing after seeing so much Italian architecture.

    Karen (who loves to visit churches);)