I didn't think I would see the inside of the Sagrada Familia before I left Barcelona, but the art history teacher decided to take the group early Monday morning, before the crowds descended, so Brandon and I tagged along. I'm so glad I didn't leave without seeing it. It's unlike any church I have ever been in, and I feel like I went in more churches when Brandon taught in Italy than I can count. From everything I've read, Gaudi based his design on natural forms - trees, wax honeybee combs, snail shells, crystals, and other naturally mathematical shapes. But, when I first entered the building, my impression was that I had entered an alien vessel. And not just any space ship, but what must be the mother ship! Even the geometric sculptural guy (Christ?) standing on the balcony looks like something out of the 2001 Space Odyssey.
It's probably because I'm a science fiction fan, and I've watched too much Battlestar Galactica, but the columns looked like something out of this world. The sensation was enhanced by the deep rumblings of the ongoing construction that sounded just like the deep mechanical purring of a well oiled spaceship. Even the soft chanting music that was playing on several video displays couldn't mask the faint pulsing roar of the core reactor.
I realize that it's more likely that the creators of some of my favorite space adventure shows were inspired by Gaudi's work, than it is likely that Guadi was an alien, but who knows, really?
The walls even glowed green from the light pouring through the stained glass windows. The widow designs are purely abstract; there are no depictions of biblical scenes, like one would expect in a church.
The signage said that Gaudi intended for ceiling and columns to give the impression of standing in a forest. Maybe... but to me the columns looked less like tree trunks holding up a leafy canopy, and more like tendons stretched tight along the spine of an animal. And cylons could pop out of those strange bottle cap shaped escape pods any minute.
The columns had oval shaped glass and wire windows, with lights in them. Do these look like the trimmed branches of a tree? Or do they look like the tanks the humans floated in while powering the matrix with their brain energy? Whatever they are, this is a fantastic building, and I'm glad I got to see it before it blasts off for the final frontier.
How sweet, young love! Well, it was sweet the first dozen or so times I saw couples making out in public, but it wasn't long before it became such a common sight that we started a running joke about it. One of Brandon's drawing students was complaining that everywhere she sat to draw there were people sitting behind her kissing. She said it sounded like they were eating pasta. Ha! So for the rest of our trip we would spot people, as Brandon said "trying to eat each others face" and give the warning "pasta eaters - straight ahead" or wherever they happened to be. I don't know if it's the vacation-like atmosphere of Barcelona, the heat, or the all the exposed and sun tanned skin, but some people in this city just can't keep their lips to their selves. There seems to be no shame in public displays of affection. Actually, in general, most city natives are physically close in ways I'm not used to. They stand close when talking, they touch each other, and not just lovers, but even young men seem to be comfortable walking with their arms around each other, or sitting closer than boys I grew up around would have considered manly behavior. Fathers hold the hands of their big sons, even. I've seen a lot of love during my time here.
Today was our last day in Barcelona. Tonight we have a group dinner and chilled bottle of champagne to enjoy before we start the long trip home in the morning. Brandon has been here thirty days, and I have been here seventeen. At times it feels like even longer, but right now I can't believe it's over. Today I used the last ride on my fifty trip metro card. Fifty metro rides! No wonder I'm tired of the metro. Our last outing was to the National Art Museum of Catalonia. You really have to want to see some art to walk up all those steps!
We enjoyed the art, especially the Tapies section. But, I have been feeling like I'm tired of looking at things. I mean, we've been all over this city, and even outside the city, looking and looking at some fantastic stuff, but I've started getting excited when we have dirty dishes just so I have something to do with my hands. I think this means that this trip has totally exhausted any exploration desires I may have had, and I should be able to fully enjoy going back home to all my projects, my day to day chores, and even -gasp!- my job. Brandon says that lately he finds himself day dreaming about fixing his tractor tire, so I think he's had enough travel to last him awhile too.
It's been a blog-tastic voyage! I've tried travel journals before, but I have to admit that I enjoyed the blog more than the paper version. I really liked culling through my photos the day I took them, and now I have a record of what I saw, that is already matched with the photos. Plus, I like imagining that I am sharing our adventures as we have them (Hi Mom! See you soon!).