Back to Day 8

Europe Cruise Day 9
Tuesday, September 14th
Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is not that far from Cartagena. Here is the map.

Day 9 Map

Barcelona is in the same time zone as well. No need for the time check here.

Scheduled arrival time is 8:00AM. The shore excursion I have booked, called Gaudi's Barcelona, is scheduled to leave at 8:15AM and last approximately 4 hours. As you can imagine from the title it has something to do with Gaudi the architect. Here is the excursions description.

For a general introduction to the history of Barcelona, your coach travels through the Barceloneta fishing quarter, up Colon Avenue, and past the Columbus monument. You will enter the upper Eixample area where the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) Church is located. Take photos of this marvellous structure, unique in both artistic and architectural form. Outside and inside, your guide will show you the church—the most famous of all Gaudí’s creations. The tour continues to Güell Park, just 15 minutes away. The park is a unique representation of Gaudí’s imagination and work. Return to the city along the Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona’s widest avenue, with many Modernist buildings designed by Gaudí and other important architects of the time. A stop will be made at La Pedrera, also known as Casa Milá. View from outside this masterpiece of Gaudí’s art. End your tour with an understanding of the special relationship between Gaudí, the architect, and the city.

Departure from Barcelona is scheduled for 5:00PM heading for Monte Carlo tomorrow.

How it actually happened!!!
(written October, 2011)

Today I will start with part of the blog entry for this day.

As seems the norm now the ship arrived at the scheduled time and the shore excursion, Gaudi’s Barcelona left at its scheduled time of 8:30AM. This excursion gives one a very brief overview of the city and concentrates on architect Gaudi’s best known buildings and Park Güell another of Gaudi’s better known landmarks here.

Here are some facts from Wikipedia about Gaudi. He was born in 1852 (100 years before me!). There is not much other detail of interest in his life and there is not much to say. All his education was in the area around Barcelona and he financed most of his education by being a droughts man for many of the architects and contractors in this area.

If you want to know more detail about Gaudi, here is a link to the Wikipedia page about him

On with the excursion.....

Street 1 Street 2
A street scene in Barcelona. Another scene.

The first of Gaudi's buildings the group saw was called Casa Batlló which we did not stop at and was on the other side of the coach from me which made getting any half decent pictures difficult but there are some and here they are.

Casa Batlo 1 Casa Batlo 2
You can see the problem I had to deal with to get a picture. Here is one
Casa Batlo 3 Casa Batlo (from Wikipedia)
Another slightly obstructed view. A less obstructed view from Wikipedia.

The excursions next stop was at what is probably Gaudi's best known building (next to the Sagrada Familia that is) and is known as Casa Milà or may be better known as La Pedrera. It was designed as a large house built around two large curved courtyards. It is built out of stone and brick with cast iron columns and steel beams. What you see in the pictures is the facade built of limestone except for the top which is covered in white tiles which supposedly evokes a snowy mountain. Here are some pictures.

Casa Mila 1

From across the street.

Casa Mila 2 Casa Mila 3
The front entrance. This is a building with small businesses in it now.
Casa Mila 4 Casa Mila 5
Looking down one side. Looking down the other side.

The way this excursion was set up was that we saw Gaudi's buildings almost in reverse order than the order in which they were constructed. Casa Batlló was built between 1904 and 1906. Casa Milà was built between 1906 and 1910. The next stop, Park Güell, was built between 1900 and 1914. Interestingly it appears that some parts of each of them were all being built at the same time. The last stop on the trip, the Sagrada Família, was started in 1883 and Gaudi's involvement in it ended when he died in 1926. It is still under construction today and not expected to be completed until 2026. But I get ahead of myself here. So back to Park Güell where the excursion is now at.

Park Güell was intended to be a 60 home subdivision using today's terminology. Only one of the 60 was ever sold. This park is considered to be Gaudi at his best. Here are many pictures showing this area.

Park Gruell 1 Park Gruell 3
My group near where we entered. A view of the city from here.
Park Guell 2 Park Guell 4
The only house ever built. Gaudi lived in it for a while. It is now the Gaudi museum which we did not get to see. This is the underside of a pedestrian bridge.

Park Geull Panorama 1

The pedestrian bridge.

Park Guell 5

Another view of the underside from a slightly different angle.

Park 6 Park 7
Part of the wall around the park. More of the wall approaching the main entrance.
Park 9 Park 8
One of the two buildings at the entrance.
This was probably an office.
The other building at the entrance.
Apparently this was to be a "porters lodge".
The four armed cross on the top of this building is one
of the most typical features that is seen in many of Gaudi's works.
Park 10 Park 12
When one passed through the main gate (which you will see shortly) one sees this. Some of the tiling along the walls by the stairs.
Park 11 Park 13
The Dragon Fountain between the lower two staircases. This is one of Gaudi's best known and most recognized emblems. The Salamander between the upper staircases. This is another of Gaudi's best known works.
Park 15 Park 14
The Salamander from the side. The Hypostyle Hall taken from just in front of the Salamander.
Park 16 Park 17
The main entrance gate from the front of the Hypostyle Hall. The inside of the hall.
This area was to have been used as a resident's market.
Park 18 Park 19
Some of the ceiling decorations. There are many Doric columns here.
Park 20 Park 21
This gives you some idea of the size of the hall. The back of the hall.
Park 22 Park 23
I believe this is under one of the walkways. Same place without the people and slightly different lighting.

On top of the Hypostyle Hall is a large plaza in the form of a Greek theatre surrounded by the famous undulating bench covered by broken ceramics (known as trencadis) which was created by Josep Maria Jujol. Apparently Gaudi had a nude man sit on these benches to make sure the shape of the seat and back were comfortable. I sat on one for a short time and it is amazingly comfortable considering what it is made out of. Here is this area.....

Park 24 Park 25
The undulating bench with the only house,
now the museum, in the background.
A closer view.
park 26 Park 27
An even closer view. Another close view of a different spot.
Park 28 Park 29
More undulations. The Westerdam docked in Barcelona Harbour from the park.
Park 30 Park 31
The entrance gate from the theatre area. A slightly different view to show the colours better.
Park 32 Park 33
More undulations. Some different coloured undulations.
Park 34 Park 35
A close up of some of the more detailed work. The last of the undulations.
Park 36 Park 37
The entire area that is enclosed by the bench. The entrance gate is in the middle with the Hypostyle Hall and the bench area to the right.

Park 38

The coach for this tour just before leaving the park.

After approximately 90 minutes at the park the excursion continued to the final stop of this excursion the Sagrada Família or in english, the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family. It is considered a Minor Basilica and was consecrated on November 7th, 2010 (approximately two months after I was there). It is 90 metres long and 60 metres wide (roughly 300 by 200 feet) and will be able to seat 9000 people. It will have 18 spires of varying heights with the highest expected to be 170 metres (560 feet) in height and be dedicated to Jesus Christ. The other 17 spires represent, in ascending order of height, the Twelve Apostles, the four Evangelists, and the Virgin Mary. A bit more detail will follow in the captions of the pictures.

SF 1 SF 2
The Nativity Facade which faces east was built between 1894 and 1930. Each of the four towers are dedicated to a Saint (Matthias the Apostle, Saint Barnabas, Jude the Apostle, and Simon the Zealot). Not necessarily in the order shown. The tops of the towers.
SF 9 SF 10
Some of the exterior between the Nativity Facade and the Glory Facade on the east side of the church. A close up of the top decoration. I believe that these represent fruits and grapes (especially the ones to the left).
SF 4 SF 5
This is where the Glory Facade will be.
It will be the main entrance.
Back to the Nativity Facade...
The three porticos here represent Hope, Faith and Charity.
SF 6 SF 7
A close up of some of the sculptures in the Nativity Facade. I think this is the one above the right door in the picture below. Another close up. I am not exactly sure where this one is but it may be above the far left door in the picture below left.
SF 8 SF 11
The lower section of the Nativity Facade. The Tree of Life rises above the door of Jesus in the portico of Charity.

From here the group entered through the Nativity Facade into the church. It is rather impressive inside but was hard to see well because of all the work that was going on preparing for the Pope's visit two months after this to consecrate at least part of the church. Here is what it was like inside.

SF 12 SF 13
There are not many stained glass windows.
Here but this is one of them.
Some of the column and ceiling structure. The columns start square at the bottom and gradually change into a circle at the top. Apparently it is a unique Gaudi design.
SF 14 SF 15
The ceiling of the nave. Straight up from where I was standing.
SF 16 SF 17
Some of the balconies. More of the ceiling.
SF 18 SF 19
Where the high altar is now but not when the picture was taken. The ceiling varies in height from 60 to 75 metres.
SF 20 SF 21
The ceiling looking from near the alter towards what will be the main entrance (the Glory Facade). Some more of the unusual design. It uses all kinds of different arches and geometric shapes to give it this look.
SF 22 SF 24
Some of the lower balconies. It uses things like hyperboloid vaults to achieve this look.
SF 23 SF 25
One of the outside walls and Gaudi's fancy columns. The columns are on a 7.5 metre grid system.
SF 26 SF 27
Another window. There were more than I thought. I think this one matches the one above on the other side of the nave. One of the symbols.

On the other side of the church is the Passion Facade. It is quite different than the Nativity Facade. It is dedicated to the Passion of Christ and is intended to portray the sins of man. Construction began in 1954 following directions left by Gaudi and the towers were completed in 1976. Apparently "Gaudi intended for this Facade to strike fear into the onlooker". The four towers here are dedicated to the apostles James, Thomas, Philip and Bartholomew. Here are some pictures.

Below is the top of the facade.
On the bridge between the towers of Saint Bartholomew and Saint Thomas
you can see a bronze figure (right in front of the crane tower) that
represents the Ascension of Jesus.

SF 28

Passion Panorama

The columns are designed to look like Sequoia tree trunks.
The sculptures may be divided into three levels.
The lowest level depicts scenes from Jesus' last night before the crucifixion.
The middle portrays the Calvary of Christ.
The third (top) level portrays the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ.

SF 29

The group of statues above the middle door in the pictures above.

SF 30

A view from a different angle.

After coming out of these doors we were rushed to another set of doors lower down and to the left of the pictures above which was the entrance to the museum. This was a bit rushed so there is not much detail available but here are a few pictures.

SF 31 SF 32
One of the models showing the construction of the church. Another one of the models showing the construction.
SF 33 SF 34
Some of the model makers at work. A drawing of how the church should look when completed. This is from the Nativity Facade side with the Glory Facade to the left.
SF 35 SF 38 Model
A wider view of the model in the top picture in this group above. This picture from Wikipedia shows Gaudi's model of what the church should look like when it is completed. This looks from the south or the Glory Facade side with Passion Facade on the left and the Nativity Facade on the right.

From the museum the group headed back towards the coach and then back to the ship. Here is one last picture of the church as we headed for the coach.

SF 36

One picture was taken on the way back to the ship. Here it is.

Street 3

After returning to the ship I took some pictures of the area around the ship. Here are some of those starting with a panorama.

Harbour Panorama 1

A four or five picture panorama showing the city taken from the ship. Most of the city is to the right.

From Ship 1 From Ship 2
This building is designed to look like
another famous building in Dubai.
A wider view of the same building.
From Ship 3 From Ship 4
The Sagrada Família is right in the centre with the cranes. Barcelona from the ship.

The excursion returned to the ship shortly after noon and the ship was not sailing until 5:00PM. The ship ended up being docked in an awkward location which made doing anything on ones own fairly difficult.

One thing that I did shortly after returning to the ship was to acquire another one of those pictures taken by the ships photographers. Here it is.

Ship in Barcelona

The pictures around the outside are of Barcelona (a fact which you likely realized from some of the pictures above). The picture of me in the centre was taken at the only formal dinner I attended on either of the two cruises. This occurred the previous evening after leaving Cartagena. I did not take a jacket with me on this trip so the black jacket I am wearing in this picture was a loner from the ship as they would not let me in the dinning room without a jacket.

I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the nice weather until the ship sailed at 5:05PM heading for the French Riveria and Monte Carlo tomorrow.

On to Day10!!!!

Page Created: August 2, 2010
After Trip Update Started: September 29, 2011
After Trip Update Completed: October 7, 2011
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 5:53 PM

Back to Day 8