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Kelly J. Cooper

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Fear Not, Friends! [May. 13th, 2009|08:56 pm]
Kelly J. Cooper
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Fear not, my Internet friends. I went to La Familia Sagrada, masterpiece of architect Antoni Gaudi (25 June 1852–10 June 1926) today.


Not just "wow" but EXTRA WOW with bonus WOW sauce!

It cost 11 Euro to get in. I decided to skip the additional 4 Euro cost of the audio guide.

I took a gazillion pictures of the Subirachs' intense squared-off sculptures of the Passion Facade, where we entered. I disagree with his critics, I think his style has strange curves to it that compliments Gaudi's organic style in a sort of odd way.

Then, inside, we walked around the nave under a specific set of scaffolding to protect the fragile heads of visitors. Views weren't blocked, fortunately. And whoa. The interior is SO huge! Dust hanging in suspension - probably will take years for dust to fall from the roof to the floor. I took pictures of many of the windows - some clear, some empty, some filled with gorgeous stained glass. There are touches here and there of Gaudi's influence - an undulating ribbon of pseudo-roof that projects a couple of feet all the way around the edge of the building at roughly the height of a first-floor ceiling; the thumbprint impressions at the tops of the columns; a honeycomb of clustered windows. But it was hard to feel Gaudi's influence inside with all the the construction junk everywhere. Only the outermost edge of the interior is (mostly) free of construction.

The path lets you out at the Nativity Facade, the one that was partially completed in Gaudi's lifetime (work started in 1882; he was hired onto the job in 1884 and work continued (and continues still!) after his death in 1926). I loved the animals - turtles at the bases of some columns, a curious donkey looking at the newborn Jesus.

There's a small display of how Gaudi took inspiration from nature - the structure of the honeycombs of bees, the strength of tree trunks, the beauty of plants and fruits. Really interesting stuff.

I went back through and got on the queue for the elevator - we went up about 30 minutes later. There was another level to climb up, then no more upward stuff. I took more pics - there's a bit of construction equipment or netting or power cords or ropes in just about every shot. Cranes hover over the structure at different points. The famous "organic" sort of look that Gaudi was known for is here and there, but not as prevalent as expected. It's mostly centered around the four towers of the Nativity Facade. I think some of the organic look is viewing the incredibly densely decorated facades from a distance, which makes them look lumpy and alien. Up close, each bit is perfectly discrete and not at all surreal.

It was dramatic, but in a completely different way from the drama of the Notre Dame in Paris, for instance.

Then it was about a gazillion steps to go down, mostly shaded or completely in the dark. I don't like heights, so that was pretty tense for me. I wrapped my camera's cord around my wrist twice, and leaned it out various windows to get all sorts of different shots of ornamentation or interesting structural bits.

I was practically hyperventilating by the time I reached the bottom. Yikes.

Came out on the Nativity Facade, I think, or maybe another part - in any case, I took pictures of columns on the outside of the building that looked like tree trunks.

I then poked around under the church where there's a bunch of history of the design and building of the structure. I'm not sure if that was the crypt - I think I've seen pictures of the crypt, and it didn't look like that, but maybe that part isn't open right now. Or maybe I missed it? I don't know.

I went looking for the shop right at 8pm, when the place closes, and couldn't find it. When I asked a guard, I was told it was closed. Dangit. I might have to go back just for the shop - I wonder if I can get in without paying the 11 Euro again.

Dinner tonight was a reception for the conference the BF is attending. The Hotel AB Skipper catered it and HOLY CRAP, the food was amazing. It was ALL finger food, but I managed to stuff myself to the bursting point anyway.

There was some experimental stuff like the foam of potato and egg in a cup and spoons of tomato juice/cold soup in suspension with a bit of sardine on top. Dangerously delicious stuff like the foie gras on honey-soaked bread crisps and Serrano ham strips wrapped around squares of quince paste with a chunk of cheese on a long toothpick. There were NINE kinds of little sweets, plus "lollipops" - round cut-outs of pineapple, watermelon, and honey dew melon on a stick.

They also did the standard sliced Serrano ham on tomato bread and fried cheese balls. There were fried balls of risotto with a local mushroom; assortments of cheeses; shrimp wrapped with crispy threads and served on a stick with a chunk of pineapple; tiny burgers; crispy green things (that might have been seaweed dusted crackers of some sort); crispy yellowish things that looked like lotus root thinly sliced and deep fried; chunks of potato with paprika-spiced cream in their hollowed-out centers; and shrimp dumplings with water chestnuts in that translucent dough you see in dim sum a lot, pre-soaked in soy sauce.

Urp! I'm full. (Mentally AND physically.)

[User Picture]From: miss_chance
2009-05-13 09:05 pm (UTC)
Wow, I so envy you the Gaudi! OMG, would i **love** to see that! mmmm... and the food sounds amazing!

sounds like a great trip.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2009-05-14 06:47 pm (UTC)
It's been a huge amount of fun so far!
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