And walk we did! Whether it be London, New York, or Cape Town, we've learned that the only way to see a city is to walk it.
Our first destination was the famous Sagrada Familia Basilica.
For those who don't know, this church was designed by the Barcelona architect Antoni Gaudi. He spent over 40 years working on the plans. Construction began in 1888...and continues today! In fact, they are hoping that it will be finished in 2026...which would be the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.
When we got to the site, we spent a few minutes just taking in the crowds of people, and the structure itself.
But we were on a mission. Remember I told you a week or so ago that my father had been to Spain in 1954? And that he had taken a lot of photos and we wanted to try to replicate them 63 years later? Well the Sagrada Familia was our first effort at this.
For some reason, my dad only took one single photo. In fact, there aren't any other photos of Barcelona at all...just this one photo. Perhaps he was only in town long enough to make a connection...we'll never know.
Sagrada Familia in 1954.
Of course it's now entirely different. Those four original spires were easy to spot though, so we went to the front of the church and tried to line up the photo. And here's what we got for that effort...
But it didn't take us long to realize that there was something wrong. I had the original pic on the iPhone and I kept comparing it to what we were looking at. Things didn't add up. Notice that the vertical columns are falling in the original photo, and yet are rising in my photo. Hmmm.
We walked around to the other side of the building. We can't really figure out which is the front and which is the rear. Anyhow, on the other side are also four spires, but they are newer, only built around 1975. So this didn't add up either.
We spent a lot of time thinking about this, and couldn't figure it out. It only came to us when we looked at some older photos found online when we got home yesterday evening.
The photo my dad took was actually taken from the back of the building where the new spires are now. But because none of the back of the building was completed in the original photo, it gives the appearance that you're looking at it head on, whereas it's actually from the back. So to replicate the photo from the same spot that my dad might have been standing would look something like this...
Same photo 63 years later.
But those spires in my photos are not the same spires as in my dad's. Those original spires are on the other side of the building, but can't be seen in my photo, even though it's taken from the same spot.
Despite being open to visitors, the church is still a major construction site. Of course you can see all of the cranes. They are building a 500 ft high steeple in the middle of the church.
Of course since Gaudi's death there have been five generations of different architects assigned to the project. The original plans were burned by anarchists in 1936, so they are just going by some rough drawings still in existence.
Now the big question is...do we go inside?
Well, we've been in a lot of magnificent churches. We've never paid to go in a church. Especially not for 15 euros ($21.50 CAD, $16.00 USD) per person.
Now, we realize that this is a little bit different because your donation actually goes towards finishing the construction of the building.
But we weren't about to drop forty bucks for a forty five minute walk around an unfinished church. Especially when we also would have had to stand in line and fight the crowds. No thanks. We both felt the same way, so we did not go inside. In fact, even if it was free, I would not have been inclined to stand in line and fight the crowds.
Crowds of tourists outside Sagrada Familia.
Besides, we had lots of other things to see and do for free. Maybe we'll go back in nine years and see it when it's finished!
We walked over to one of Gaudi's finished buildings...the Casa Batlló which was the restoration of a house in 1904.
While walking over there, we saw this magnificent church.
Shame that it gets no attention because everybody wants to see the other one.
Gaudi's Casa Batlló is temporarily decorated with thousands of white globes.
Must be a Christmas thing?
Another lineup to go inside.
We thought the building next door was interesting too.
The main pedestrian plaza downtown.
Several people had warned us to be careful with pickpockets and that there were a lot of examples on the internet related to muggings and other things to be careful of in Barcelona. But while we were cautious, we saw absolutely zero indication of any problems. We thought it seemed as safe as any large city. Totally unlike what we felt in Bogota, Colombia, the street crime capital of the world.
Hmmm. Okay then.
Interesting market building.
Near the waterfront.
The Christopher Columbus monument.
Built in 1888 for the Barcelona World's Fair.
On the waterfront boardwalk downtown Barcelona.
There are a lot of parakeets in Barcelona!
We walked over to Ciutadella Park, which was built for the 1888 World's Fair. For decades after that, Ciutadella Park was the only green space in Barcelona. The most famous thing in the park is a magnificent fountain partially designed by Gaudi, who was an unknown student of architecture at the time.
The kids loved playing with the bubbles.
The Arch de Triomf in Barcelona.
From there, we decided to walk back to our original train station at Clot-Araga about 3 kms (1.8 miles) away. We had probably done about 15 kms (9.3 miles).
We must be the world's cheapest tourists. We spent all day seeing the city and spent a total of 4.40 euros ($6.50 CAD, $4.75 USD). One euro per person each way on the train, and two bottles of drinking water. We had packed a lunch to bring with us. What a good day in Barcelona!
Very laid back city. Nobody seems in much of a rush, and the shops are mostly closed between 2-5pm. Could easily spend a longer time here.
We got back to Badalona and had to pick up some groceries. Any grocery store we've been in has free lockers to use, and also a free section to lock up your shopping buggy. Parking is at a premium here, so most people walk when they can.
Ruth, locking up our bags. The lower locks are for shopping buggies like the green one.
Today? More walking...there is a lot to see in Barcelona!
Collapsible measuring cups...great for the RV...