**While I was working on this post a terrorist drove a van into the crowd on Las Ramblas in Barcelona killing 16 and injuring many. I feel sick thinking about it.**
Looking back now I’m not sure how we did it but we somehow coaxed the girls to visit the original Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. It was an easy walk from La Sagrada Familia.
The Hospital was absolutely gorgeous architecturally and reminded me of “A Cure for Wellness” which I haven’t seen. Lol.
the cool basement provided refuge from the heat
Another underground tunnel.
Everywhere we turned there were gorgeous details to admire. Everything is so new in the United States and seems to be constructed with much less thought/design due to the pace of modern life.
There is a new Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau now but we didn’t visit that one as it’s a working hospital.
After wandering we took a cab over to Park Guell which sits atop Carmel Hill in Barcelona and was designed by Antoni Gaudi. Read more about its origins here.
NOTE: access to most of Park Guell is free but if you want to visit the Monumental Zone you need to buy tickets. We bought ours a day or two prior via the website.
Park Guell Monumental Zone tickets
You will want the tickets for sure!
This trip to Barcelona wasn’t my first. I had spent a few days there just after college when I was working in London. However, I only spent two nights and was close to penniless so I thought it would be good to go back a couple of decades later with fresh perspective and possibly a higher travel budget.
We booked only 2 nights in the apartment as we thought we might not want to be in cities for very long in the heat. The first morning, we ate breakfast at a cafe near our place. Then we set out walking to another famous Antoni Gaudi structure: La Basilica de la Sagrada Familia (Basilica of the Holy Family).
It was really hot out plus crowded! We are the idiots who didn’t reserve spot on the tour so of course it was sold out. TIP: make a reservation ahead of time if you want to go inside! (Btw: this link is funny- b/c if you click it and go to the webpage it says “Your tickets help us build the Basilica.” It has been under construction since 1882!)
A Brief History of the Basilica
- 1882 Construction began prompted by the Spiritual Association of Devotees of Saint Joseph. The first architect, Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano drew up its Neo-gothic design and commenced work on the crypt.
- 1883 – Lozano resigns and Antoni Gaudi takes over as architect.
- 1889 – Gaudi finishes crypt and commences work on apse. Proposes “new and grander design” including a large church.
- 1892 – Nativity facade is started as Gaudi believes it will continue to draw popular support (and therefore funding.)
- 1894 – Apse facade finished
- 1899 – Rosary portal finished.
- 1909 – Provisional school buildings built.
- 1911 – Pasion facade designed.
- 1914 – Expiatory Temple
- 1923 – Gaudi designed naves and roofs.
- 1925 – First bell town on Nativity facade finished.
- 1926 – Gaudi died in tram accident and was buried in the Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia.
- 1926 – Domenec Sugranes takes over until 1938.
- 1930 – Bell towers on the Nativity Facade completed.
- 1933 – Faith portal and central cypress tree completed.
- 1936 – During Spanish Civil War revolutionaries set fire to the crypt and burned down the school.
- 1939 – After the Spanish Civil War building resumed under architect Francesc de Paula Quintana i Vidal among others.
- 1954 – Work begins on foundations to support the Pasion facade.
- 1958 – Holy Family statues were added by Jaume Busquets.
- 1961 – Museum opens in the crypt.
- 1976 – 4 bell towers on the Pasion facade completed.
- 1986 – Josep Maria Subirachs created the statues and sculptures for the Passion facade.
- 2000 – Vaulting in the central nave and transepts was built & foundations of the Glory facade were started.
- 2001 – Central window of the Passion facade finished. Stained glass installed. Four columns of the crossing finished.
- 2002 – Wall of patriarchs and prophets completed by Josep Subirachs for top of porch on the Passion facade.
- 2005 – Ascension sculpture placed between towers of Passion facade.
- 2017- 70% of the work is complete.
- 2026 – All work should be complete.
[Timeline info taken from http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/history-of-the-temple/]
Top of the Passion facade
Nativity facade closer
Another angle of the Nativity Facade
A merging of architectural styles
Fruit topped spires
When the complaining got to be too much we walked across the street to the shady park and ate fresh fruit popsicles. I am bummed we didn’t get inside but we probably pushed the kids enough at this point. One could spend days looking at this basilica and never get bored.
After a short rest and a stop at Subway (where M had her regular 6″ tuna and Bea had plain turkey on bread) we continued walking towards another architectural marvel. (To be continued in next post.)
Click HERE for incredible photos of details.
The morning after losing the passports we packed up our stuff in a jiffy and took a cab to the US Embassy where we were soon engaged in a 4 hour effort to get replacements. G and the girls were told to take new passport pix at a photo booth by the entrance.
Bea had to re-take hers.
The folks in the embassy were so nice to us and commiserated over the 300+ euros we had to pay for 3 temporary passports. The first of several unexpected charges we would pay…
Once we got the passports we caught a train to Barcelona. The train ride is very nice – air conditioned and comfortable.
Train from Madrid to Barcelona
We arrived in Barcelona in late afternoon and went to the apartment.
The apartment was right off of Passeig de Gracia and within walking distance of the Sagrada Familia. After relaxing a bit we set out to explore, stopping first at a nearby tapas restaurant. It was only around 8:30PM so we were the only ones getting dinner since dinner is not usually eaten until around 10PM. Our stomaches were a bit upset from travel so the kids ordered spaghetti with tomato sauce. We soon learned NOT to order that. The overcooked spaghetti was smothered in something akin to (undiluted) Campbell’s tomato soup. I have no idea what I ordered other than a couple of glasses of good wine. After eating we strolled out into the night. It was around 10PM and everyone was out walking. We passed Catalan Art Nouveau’s architect Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Mila (aka La Pedrera) on the famous Passeig de Gracia.
Of course we ended up sitting outside having a drink. The kids tried to buy orange Fantas at the bar.
Around 11:30PM we headed home to bed.