Ola from Barcelona

Good evening!

First full day in Barcelona – done!

The weather isn’t too bad – it’s not exactly balmy outside, but it’s hanging between 10 – 15 – better than home :p Today I took care of some ‘housekeeping’, got myself my first haircut in a non-english speaking country, which didn’t go too badly – AND I didn’t do a buzz as per usual, but got a “real” haircut (with snippers and all). I figured I should keep something going up there to stay warm.

I also had to run to the mall to pickup another external hard drive as my current actual hard drive is filling up, and I didn’t trust the pictures to just be on one external drive… so now they live on two. While I’m sure nothing will happen to them, if I lost my 8000 or so pictures of this trip, I would not take it lightly.

The mall was actually quite cool – it’s an old bullfighting stadium which has been turned into a beautiful shopping centre. The outside remains the same structurally, and then inside has just been totally revamped. I was quite impressed.

I’ve gotten my bearings a bit – have a general idea of where I am, know how the subway works, all that good stuff. I also took some time today to see “the one thing” that I’m told you just have to see in Barcelona – on the front of all the tourist brochures and all that jazz – the Sagrada Familia… a church.

I may have mentioned before – I wasn’t too sure that a church could impress me anymore. After seeing some in Rome, in the Vatican City, etc… I wasn’t sure I’d care too much. But I was actually told about it by a friend I met in Lisbon, then I googled around, read a bunch of reviews, and finally asked reception – the general consensus was “go”. It was a little expensive (18 euro to get in, and go up the tower), and some reviews said going in wasn’t worth it, but reception seemed to think it was a good idea so I bit the bullet.

This wound up being a wow.

Background info: Designed by architect Antoni Gaudi (1852 – 1926), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and recently (2012) consecrated and proclaimed a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI. Construction commenced in 1882 with basically a limitless budget, and in case you didn’t notice, no deadline. The quote Gaudi gave on the long construction period? “My client is not in a hurry.” (God)

Construction is supposed to now be completed, hopefully fingers crossed, 100 years after Gaudi’s death – 2026. Anyway the outside is beautiful, such intricate detail… it was worth seeing. I went up the tower before going inside since it was a time based thing and that was pretty cool – great views of Barcelona, and then you get to walk down the some 300+ steps through these beautiful winding staircases, with stops along the way to take pictures.

I got to the bottom and was ready to take a quick look and duck out – stepped into the church and did that “wow” intake of breath. Stunning. Just stunning. The inside is amazing. It’s indescribable, by me at least. I’ll post Facebook pics tomorrow. Huge. Beautiful. Just stunning. I spent another 45 mins wandering around the inside of the church, learning a little more about it’s history, and taking pictures :p it was terrific.

To anyone who says don’t spend the money to get in – what are you smoking?

Totally worth it, and very, very worth the visit. If you go to Barcelona, make sure you add this to your to-do list!

I was quite thrilled to get another “wow” to add to my list. Tomorrow I’m planning on going up a mountain, so hopefully we’ll have another one to tack on too.

Other than that, I did some wandering, got a new SIM card (yes, yet another phone number!), and… yeah that was about it. So it was a good day, and now… I’m off to bed. I’m in a 6 person dorm this time around, which is reminding me why I didn’t particularly enjoy them last time, but it was the best I could find. Sooooooo…. yeah. Anyway, see ya tomorrow!