Spain ~ Sagrada Família

Hello peeps, let me continue with the story of my trip :) So we left France for Spain on Saturday, May 7th 2011. It marked a week since we started off on our journey. It was a bit like we were half way into our trip. At that point in time, there was a bit of sadness about leaving France but I wasn't actually in love much with France. I remembered telling Mau that the place in France that I loved the most after all that we've seen was Paris and that was regardless of how chaotic it is. Even Provence didn't make me fall much for it. We were going to Barcelona and I was excited about it because I will get to cross the number one thing in my life list. You see before my Italian trip 2 years ago, the number one and two thing in my life list were to go to Italy and have a trip alone. I don't know in what sequence they came but I was glad that I got to cross them both at the same time :) After that, it changed me a bit and with all the things that I googled and read, the number one thing that occupied that life list was to go to Barcelona and see Sagrada Família and I am thankful to God that I got to do that. I crossed that off my life list!!! I felt so thankful to God for the blessing and opportunity to do that. No matter how I try to describe how it felt like, I don't know if I can do it justice. It's the feeling that you are so thankful for being alive, for being there, for all the things that God gives you that get you there. I'm not one who wants to give life advices because I don't think that I'm highly successful in life or anything like that but I do urge people to have a goal in life or a life list. I know this sounds annoying, like the things your annoying bosses or people who interview you will talk to you about, but I'm speaking from my experience. I have goals in life, things I want to do in my life list, and the moment I got to do that, the feeling is amazing. Some people may think that my life list is meaningless and perhaps aimless and so not ambitious but they didn't feel what I felt everytime I managed to cross something off it and that's something that they couldn't take away from me :) So I do urge you guys to have something and try to fulfill them. I guarantee it, the moment you reach that goal, it's incredible, it's what being on top of a mountain feels like and since I was kinda on the high ground of the Montserrat mountain in Spain, I can tell you it feels amazing and incredible! It'll take your breath away :)

Wow, I'm like preaching there. So back to the story. We were in Marseille and to get to Spain we had to take the train, first to Montpellier and then to Figueres Vilafant and then to Barcelona. In Montpellier we got into the wrong compartment. The stupidity just baffled me!!! I don't know how else to explain or justify on how we couldn't find the right compartment. Anyway the lady conductor told us to get off at the next stop and we had around 9 minutes to run with our luggages to the correct compartment which was many metres away. I was devastated with things like this but Mau found it to be really funny and memorable. I really really don't like mistakes!!! It took me sometime to calm down from the mistake :( But anyway we arrived safely at Barcelona Sants train station. My first impression of Barcelona and the station was that of utter pleasant surprise. The station was really really nice and big, like an airport. It's modern and it's really cool, awesome cool I mean. I like Barcelona on the get go :) We decided to take the taxi to our hotel because we just didn't feel like dragging our luggages through the metro. Luckily our hotel which is basically at Plaça de Catalunya is pretty near and so it wasn't expensive. We checked in, I dropped my luggage and proceeded to go to Sagrada Família.

I was musing for sometime on which day I would go to Sagrada Família and in the end I decided to do it on the first day I arrived and I think it's apt that visiting it was the first thing I did when I arrived in Barcelona :) The whole trip did revolve around giving me the opportunity to cross this off my life list. Anyway I have heard the queue was going to be long and I have heard of people giving it a miss because they didn't want to queue but I was thinking that if I got there by 4 pm and had to stay in the queue for 2 hours, it would still be okay, because thanks to daylight saving time, the basilica was closing at 8 pm. That's how eager I am to see it :) So I took the metro and again I was pleasantly surprise because the metro train station was pretty nice. Yeah it's kinda dark and all but it was pretty clean and nice and there were big signs everywhere and you will not have difficulty finding your direction. The metro itself was nice and clean. Obviously not like Singapore standard but it was way better than Paris :P So I easily arrive at Sagrada Família and the queue was round the corner surrounding the compound. It was long but not as long as I expected it to be and I gave it 40 minutes before I'd get to enter the basilica but the queue actually moved really really fast that I think I got in within 20 minutes :)

I really can't describe what it felt like being there. It was cloudy and windy in Barcelona so I quickly got inside. I think the bad weather also caused the lifts to be not in used that day :( but it's okay. I hope I'll get to come back again, maybe when the church is finished. Hmmm ... I can put this in my life list :) Anyway, I got in and the high ceiling just took my breath away. The mosaics on the window was beautiful. The design of the columns, the ceiling, and the windows is awesome. Every single details of it is amazing. What made me so taken about this church was basically Antoni Gaudí and his dedication and commitment to God in building this church. He was so passionate about the church and you can see it in all the details. It's really inspiring and I am sure if you are an architect it will inspire you even more. I'm really really glad that they are finishing the church and it's great that way.

The outside of the church is also amazing as the inside. The front part where the Nativity Façade is, is so different with the back part where the Passion Façade is. The Nativity Façade has more nature elements in it and you are just in awe looking at all the shapes and all the little details, the animals and the angels. The Passion Façade has a more clean look. I love the expression of the statues. I think the artists did an amazing job. You can see the pictures here. Unfortunately, I don't think the pictures came out nice :( Anyway in the compound of the basilica you can also visit the small museum which gives you more explanation on the building of the basilica. Oh yeah, they made you queue to go into the gift shop :P Maybe they only do that when there are too many visitors (which I imagine is always). It was kinda funny for me but it did make a more pleasant experience browsing at the stuff :)

So that was my first day in Barcelona. After all the mistake with the train, I ended it feeling really happy and thankful to God for the opportunity to see Sagrada Família :) After that I got back to the hotel. In the Plaça de Catalunya metro station, I was pleasantly surprised seeing people dancing to some of the musicians who were busking there. It was such an impromptu thing. There's an old couple dancing sweetly and there were 2 young girls who didn't really follow the rhythm :P I loved it. It's definitely not something that happens in the shy Asia. I love how easy going and laid back people are. I have heard the song they played before as I am sure you too but I don't know what it's called and it's driving me crazy now trying to find out what song that is especially since I can only remember the melody :( Anyway I didn't watch it for long because I was still cautious about Barcelona and the pick-pockets stories. So I got out to go back to the hotel. I have to say that our hotel was really really in an amazing place but I didn't actually like it much when we first arrived :( The room was big and clean so it was a plus point but it is noisy as well. We arrived on a Saturday and as usual there's a football match on the weekend and some of the supporters were making so much noise at Plaça de Catalunya. It seriously drove me crazy and for some reason there's also too many noise from inside the hotel itself, maybe it was the lift. However, apparently when you are really really REALLY tired, you can sleep anyway. I did sleep and I had a good deep sleep so overall the hotel still does have its plus points :) Hmmm, I thought I was going to write about our trip to Montserrat as well here, but I guess not, maybe tomorrow. So I'm gonna stop here for now :)

:) eKa @ 6:43:00 PM •

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