One of the must visits for Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia, the life work of the infamous architect Antoni Gaudi. You have to book weeks/months in advance for tickets for this place otherwise you will be disappointed, as were some Americans who turned up on the day only to be told it was fully booked. Needless to say they were not happy.
We were happy however as we had booked. It always pays to do your research for these kind of things. Normally when we book somewhere we usually buy the Lonely Planet travel guide to go with the trip. It serves as a nice feature on our bookshelf, a reminder of all of the different places we have been lucky enough to visit. In addition to that I try and read as many reviews as I can online. Some you have to take with a (big) pinch of salt, but generally you get a good idea.
Not only did we book to go inside the Sagrada Familia but also up to one of the two towers for a birds eye view of the Barcelona skyline. We opted for the Nativity Tower which is the older section and we were not disappointed. Breathtaking views of a very pretty city.
Gaudi’s work is very unusual. It’s possibly a bit like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. Laura wasn’t generally keen on some of his other architecture in the city, she said it looked like someone had vomited over it! I laughed at first but the problem with something like Gaudi and his style is, is just because it is so different and everyone says you have to go and see it and almost enjoy it, doesn’t mean to say you should. Yes, I would absolutely advise anyone travelling to Barcelona to see the Sagrada Familia, but I probably wouldn’t bother with any of the other Gaudi places unless you were really into it.
The Sagrada Familia is quite a spectacle both inside and out. I felt it looked like one of those gingerbread houses you buy from Aldi where you can snap a tower off and bite into it. I probably wouldn’t, it’s taken years to construct this place and even now they are not sure when it will be finished. Maybe 2026 – 100 years after Gaudi’s death (he started working on it when he was 31!)
Inside it is wonderful. The way it has been designed to reflect the seasons and the colours of the stained glass windows of blue, green, orange and red look beautiful regardless of the time of day. I suspect first thing in the morning when the sun rises, and in the evening when it sets are particularly special. An audio guide is included in the tour and contains lots of information. I use to be against audio guides, why I am not sure. Maybe you had to pay extra for them? But they are great at blocking out other sounds as well as getting information I can sometimes be too lazy to read. The best audio guide ever was Alcatraz. Everyone has one as standard and the atmosphere it creates because there is no talking is brilliant.