Monday, March 20, 2023

[BARCELONA] On Today's Gaudí Menu

Spain, my dear, it’s been nine years since our last meeting! Since I was in a reminiscing mood prior to flying to Barcelona, I tried digging for a blog entry of Catalonia but I didn’t find anything other than a budget and itinerary post. This, for me, is strange because when I try to recall what I did in Barcelona nine years ago, there is actually a vivid string of audiovisual memories in my brain: from the donut I bought and ate at Las Ramblas all the way to my efforts met in vain trying to capture my face and the Sagrada Familia in one frame. Perhaps that’s why there was no blog entry, because the memories are so lucid anyway?

In any case, I didn’t return for Spain. In all honesty, this itinerary is more of an obligatory pitstop en route to Andorra which will be UN+ country number 105. But since we will be spending a day and two nights in Barcelona, why not get to know the city all over again, right? After all, nine years have passed since the last time. And so we turn to Gaudí, who is the patron saint of default tourist attractions in the city. I never got to see what Sagrada Familia looks like inside. Well, well, now is the time!

But I did not book early enough for the towers. Those tickets to either tower sell like hotcakes. If you want them, book days in advance! As for the church interior, there are plenty to go around, with tickets being sold online for time slots in fifteen minute intervals. It cost me EUR26 (~PHP 1,500) which is probably a good deal already considering the visual feast of architecture waiting for you inside. And since another Gaudí masterpiece is just down the road, I also bought a ticket for Casa Milà which was EUR1 cheaper at EUR25.

I guess what caught me by surprise was underestimating this church’s appeal to tourists. Jesus Christ. The line to get through the airport-type security screening before you finally get inside already eats up a lot of time. Yes, liquids are not allowed inside so I lost a water bottle or two there. Hey, I didn’t know, okay. No drinking inside the church! Prepare for dehydration, bitch. Once you get into the compound, how you split your time between the church and the towers or the museum underneath is all up to you.

Do they strictly follow the time slot of your ticket? I don’t know. I was ten minutes late but I still managed to get in. Anyway, if yesterday was leg day, Sagrada Familia Day is definitely neck day, because you will be looking up most of the time. Good luck to our stiff neck prone frenemies. You might need a neck brace for this adventure. I won’t even attempt to describe what you will see inside. It will be futile. Gaudí is Gaudí, and this surreal fascination of his makes you feel like you are in a fairy tale. “How surreal should this church be,” asked the Catholic Church. “YES,” Gaudí replied.

Yes, there will be a lot of tourists inside but the good news is since none of them can levitate or fly and most of your selfies will be pointing up towards the ceiling anyway, you basically have no competition. While I wanted to marvel a little bit longer at the sights I was seeing, I had another timed date with yet another Gaudí creation down the road, so I only stayed inside Sagrada Familia for less than an hour. A 20 minute stroll took me to Casa Milà which I found out to be right along one of Barcelona’s main shopping streets.

The building looks quirky on the outside but the rooftop has more in store. It felt like a sci-fi film set, to be honest. Since the sun cooperated, a lot of awesome photos were taken. There are exhibits in the building’s many floors but since I did not bother to take the free audio guide with me, I didn’t understand a thing. Based on the quotidian nature of the displays, though, perhaps it has something to do with the life of the architect?

Anyway, yet another Gaudí creation, Casa Batlló, is down the street from here, right in the middle of all the high end shops, glittering in all its weirdness like a surreal oasis in the middle of Barcelona’s capitalist hotspot. I think I love that building better. It looks like a cross between a building and a mythical reptile. It’s effing insane.

[BARCELONA] On Today's Gaudí Menu

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