Come on down!

P1000418We seem to be getting up later every day.

It could be an illusion cast by the fact that I eat more ham at breakfast each day, and some things just can’t be rushed. We also took a dip in the pool this morning, partially because I just can’t seem to set our AC right, so we freeze or bake at night. The dip in the pool is great to cool down after a hot night. It’s also a great way to work off some of the ham, and work up an appetite for more ham. It’s like the circle of life (ham edition).

Some time close to noon we actually left the hotel with plans to visit Sagrada Familia, The great cathedral that was Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece. Apparently he only saw one tower completed before his death, but the rest is still following as much of his original plans as is possible. That’s 100 years or so of construction. About the same rate as the transit system in Seattle.

We hit the market again on our way around town. Mostly for the fresh juices in the morning, then we continued our exploration of the local small side streets. The heat was bad again today, so the smaller streets offered the shade we needed. Yulia found a nice silver shop and got some jewelry, I took a look at a few shirts and such, then we took far too long in an air conditioned sunglasses shop to not buy any sunglasses. We also found some very good expresso and pastries at a local cafe.

We got close to our allotted ticket time, and metro’d our way up to the cathedral. We couldn’t get in early, so we had to mill around the park until our time. There were more parrots in the trees, so we watched them a bit, then just hid in the shade. Finally it was our turn, and we went to the cathedral.

The majority of construction of the cathedral is actually quite new. So restoration is happening on one side, and cranes are constructing the other. The scale of the cathedral is hard to understand, as it is both massive in terms of total size, but minute in detail in Gaudi’s work. Every inch of his original towers are covered in symbols of life and religion. everything has meaning and you need to see it both far back and close up to take it all in. We had little audio guides explaining each section, both inside and outside. Everywhere, the shapes, colors, textures, everything – are meant to bright the cathedral in tune with nature. The stained glass windows Have warm colors on one side and cool colors on the other to mimic natural lighting. The columns are made like branching trees growing to support the ceiling.

The newer areas look different than Gaudi’s original plans, partly because many of those plans were lost. All the general scenes and designs are known, but the artists today didn’t want to mimic his style without the actual detail. so the scenes match the original design, but the figures are a more angular abstract version. I think it works well, and pays respect to Gaudi’s vision as best one could.

We had tickets to go up the original towers. You can only go up by elevator, but you come down by stairs. This makes some sense, as from our stair climbs in Paris, it’s the climb that wears you out. And with the rate of people moving through the cathedral, they want to keep everyone moving. Also pulling a fat tourist with a heart attack has to be a pain. Better to brick them in and build new stairs. From the top, there is as much view of the new construction as the city. This is all supposed to be complete within a few years. From the rate of work now I believe it.

Once we made our way back down we went to a nearby cafe to eat and enjoy more AC. It just wasn’t cooling off. Every day we promise to walk less, and every day we seem to hit a new step count record. Today we hit a stairs bonus as well. That calls for another Sangria or three.