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Barcelona Day 3 – churches

Catedral de Barcelona 1

Thursday was our “church day.”

sagrada familia

In the morning we toured La Sagrada Familia which is architect Antonio Gaudi’s most famous work. Gaudi began his life long project of the church at the age of 31 and continued to work on it for 43 years, until his accidental death in 1926.


The church is still under construction. There are currently four spires or towers. Once finished, there will be 18 towers. The hope is to complete the church in 2026, on the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.

birth faces east

Just as the sun rises in the east, representing birth and the joy of a new day, the east side of the church is the Nativity Façade. It is intricate, full of life and joy.

passion faces west

And as the sun sets in the west, the west side of the church is the Passion Façade. It is more stark in nature, as you might imagine since it tells the story of Jesus’ passion and death.


There are two elevators which take you partway up the towers for a great view of  the city: the Passion Facade elevator and the Nativity Facade elevator.

snail staircase

We went up the Nativity Facade elevator and then took a very narrow and tight spiraling staircase all the way down.

tree of life

One of the beautiful features on this side of the church is the Tree of Life. It is a cypress tree and represents everlasting life. The many doves in the tree represent the true believers who flock to Christ.


I loved listening to the audio program and learning about all the symbolism in the design of the church. And one of the most touching moments was when we were going out one of the doors, to listen to the next station of our audio program.

holy water

As we were walking out, a few of the construction workers who you see inside, outside, and all around the church, going about their work day were coming in the same door. One of the men made the sign of the cross as he crossed the threshold of the door. It really moved me to see how he was so conscious of where he was, not just “at work” but in a place of worship, a holy place. As a tourist, it is something that so many of us forget to keep in mind.

green and yellow stain glass windows

Another thing I really loved about the church was the use of light. Look at the stained glass windows above. About an hour after that photo was snapped, I noticed the light on the pillars opposite the window.

green yellow reflection

Beautiful, right!?!


And this a portion of the ceiling. The pillars branch off in different directions just as the branches from the trunks of trees. Seriously amazing.

gaudi school

Outside the church is a charming and adorable little school that Gaudi designed and had built for the worker’s children.


The charm and quaintness of this little building sits in stark contrast to the massive and overwhelming power of the church.

Catedral de Barcelona 2

Natalie caught up with us when we finished our tour. We then went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant called Negra Rosa. After lunch, we toured our second church of the day, the beautiful Cathedral de Barcelona.

Catedral de Barcelona organ

The cathedral is home to cloistered nuns and it contains 28 ornate and distinctive chapels dedicated to more saints than you can name. The chapels circle the entire inside perimeter of the church. The outside also featured a lush courtyard with a gift shop, a fish pond, fountains, additional statues of saints and martyrs and squawking geese.


For dinner we headed down to Port Vell and Barceloneta in search of paella. On our way, we strolled in and out of charming stores.

Caelum dessert

Plus we took a before-dinner-dessert break and enjoyed more sangria at a fun bar – just so we could use the bathroom.

food for 4

We finally found Can Maño. We’d been told that they served paella, but they did not. It is a tiny restaurant and had quite a few people waiting for tables, so we decided to give it a try anyhow. We feasted on roasted tomatoes, fried potatoes and green peppers, eggplant, artichoke, calamari and cuttlefish … plus more sangria.

On Friday, we packed up our things, boarded a plane and headed off to…

map of europe

Sorry for the teaser, you’ll have to come back to find out where we go for our next adventure!

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1 Ronnie Jaap { 03.15.14 at 11:38 AM }

Just beautiful. Must be amazing to see in person!

2 restaurant atenea { 03.31.14 at 3:11 AM }

Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing :))

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