I’ve heard about European Cathedrals all my life. Though I’ve only been in Europe a week, I can’t imagine I will ever see a cathedral more impressive than Sagrada Familia.
When I was sitting in the sanctuary of Sagrada Familia, contemplating what I would write on the blog, I was reminded of the scene from Contact where Ellie, a scientist who upon glimpsing the beauty of the universe exclaims “They should have sent a poet.” I don’t have the vocabulary or eloquence to attempt to describe its beauty or intricacy. Pictures will have to suffice — though I encourage you to seek out professional photographs to truly do it justice.
I am more in awe of the magnitude of time and dedication it has taken to achieve this. I watched the Trump Tower go from hole in the ground to the seventh tallest building in the world during my first five years in Chicago. Construction on Sagrada Familia began in 1882, and is not scheduled to be complete until 2026 – the centennial of it’s architect’s death. Being there felt like being present for the construction of a future Wonder of the World, as if we had seen the scaffolding on the Sphinx 4,500 years ago. Sagrada Familia still only stands 60% complete. The eight spires that dominate the Barcelona skyline are only half as tall as the final spire will one day be.
We are trying to avoid acting like tourists, and were reluctant to wait in line and pay the entrance fee for the biggest tourist trap in Barcelona – but it’s the best $20 we’ve spent so far. If you make it to the Sagrada Familia, pay the extra $4 to take the lift up to the top. The views from the towers are incredible, and the walk down the narrow, winding staircase is the best adrenaline rush I’ve had on this trip yet.