Barcelona — Tuesday May 16, 2017

I’m sitting in the hostel’s cafeteria waiting for breakfast to be served. The place is a mess. Apparently there was some late-night drinking going on. From that state of my roommates this morning, they must have been part of it. The poor woman who is getting breakfast ready will have to clean it up.

I promised myself that this trip I would not visit the Church of the Sacred Family, but yesterday evening, after spending hour writing, I decided to go for a walk, and the church was within walking distance. Construction began in 1882, and as you can see by the cranes in the picture, it isn’t finished yet, nor will it be finished in my lifetime. The church has the grandeur of a cathedral, but a cathedral has to be the seat of a bishop, and that honor is claimed by a different Barcelona church. However, Pope Benedict has named it a basilica.

Perhaps everyone knows that the principal designer of the church was the great Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. Construction actually began under another architect who resigned from the project. Gaudi joined the architectural team a year after construction began and later became the head architect. The present design of the church is his.

Just like the grand churches of old, the Sacred Family is covered with statues and intricate designs. The intricate detail work explains in part why it takes centuries to construct such a church. When the Sacred Family is completed, if it is completed, I think it will be the last grand church to be constructed. We no longer begin projects that take centuries to complete.

Below is a shot of some of the more recent work. You can tell the more recent construction from the old, because the old construction on the right has darkened under the influence of Barcelona’s smog.

Today I take the train to Zaragoza. My train doesn’t leave until noon, but I have to check out of this place by 10:30.