Saturday, June 16, 2012

I ain’t never went to no Barcelona

Some people actually think that all residents of Georgia speak this way. I forgive them. (Full disclosure: Some people in Georgia actually do speak this way. I forgive them too.)

This post is dedicated to Brian (a Brit who lives in Catalonia and blogs in both Catalan and English) and also to Katherine (the famous New Zealand artist who paints, among other things, godwits and grapes). But I hope the rest of you enjoy it as well.

Let us begin.

If you think this building looks funny from the outside:

(published under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)

You should see it from the inside:

(published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.)

It’s a church. Yes, it is. It’s the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, Catalonia, and the second photo is of the crossing and dome of the nave, looking up from the floor.

According to Wikipedia, “The catalan basilica of La Sagrada Família (The Holy Family) is THE global icon of Barcelona. After more than a century building it, in 2011 the interior was finished and consecrated by the pope Benedict XVI. It’s an incredible structure, fruit of the unique mind of Antoni Gaudí. The ceilings look like a spaceship, and the nave and columns, like a palm tree forest. Work began in 1882 and should be completed in 2026, like the medieval cathedrals of old.”

Besides having an extraneous comma after the word columns, the preceding paragraph contains a serious factual error in the final sentence. Not a single one of the medieval cathedrals of old was begun in 1882 or is expected to be completed in 2026.
I do know what the writer was trying to say, but he or she didn’t say it.

Here are more incredible photographs of La Sagrada Familia and scenes of Barcelona from Silverback’s trip there last summer, including an impressive video clip he made himself (7:34).

And here are some more of Gaudi’s buildings.

Gaudi’s grades at university were average and he even failed courses occasionally. When handing him his degree in 1878, Elies Rogent, director of Barcelona Architecture School, said: “We have given this academic title either to a fool or a genius. Time will show.”

The English word gaudy has absolutely nothing to do with architect Antoni Gaudi (1852 - 1926). If you don't believe me, will set you straight.

This entire post was created without using, until now, the word Spain.


  1. Yet another great and enlightening post!

  2. I did my thesis on Gaudi, I'm wild about his buildings. Luckily I managed to get to Barcelona with hubby shortly after we met and I have seen them all. They are quite beautiful. The Sagrada Familia looks scary as hell to me for some reason. It disturbs me, but I like it all the same. So individual. I recommend all to visit and see them, and Barcelona is a very beautiful city as well.

  3. I wonder if I am still allowed to comment within your highly-esteemed and much revered corner of the blogosphere? Please forgive me for suggesting that America should consider adopting a beaver flag. I was extremely drunk at the time having been plied with excess bottles of "Wild Turkey" from behind the social club bar. I am proud to inform you that Brian is in fact a Yorkshireman and was drawn to Catalonia by that thing called love. He was also being pursued by the Inland Revenue for tax evasion so he'll feel very much at home in Barcelona.

  4. Thank you, Emma!

    All Consuming, I agree with your assessment of La Sagrada Familia. Scary, disturbing, and mesmerising.

    Yorkshire Pudding, that should teach you not to make comments on blogs whilst extremely drunk. I forgive you, too. But just who was doing the plying, may I ask?

    Brian, Yorkshireman, duly noted.

  5. Hi, Thanks for the dedication! I still have the original Yorkshire DNA running through my veins, or wherever we keep DNA, but I have now officially lived (a very appropriate word in this case) more time here in Catalonia than in Barnsley.
    Was taken up to see the Gaudi buildings on my first year out here (having never heard of him before; sorry, art knowledge = zero), and loved it all. It's amazing, I have no idea how most of his buildings stay up or what he was taking while he designed them. The Park Guell is wonderful too. When , if, I ever get time to blog a bit more regularly I may put some photos on that we took last year.
    The Sagrada Familia church, when I first saw it back in 89, they said it would never be finished, too complicated and expensive. Luckily computer techonolgy has been able to recreate and understand the wierd plans of Gaudi's imagination, and the Vatican isn't short of a bob or two (bob = money in UK = shilling, i.e. 5p, or 12p depending. Confused?).
    Anyway, to cut a long story short, if you ever visit, let me know and I may be able to offer you a guided tour - for a sackful or €uros (for your knowledge 1$ = 4000000000000000 €uros at present).

  6. If I hadn't known better, I would have said the exterior was Disneyland or a Las Vegas hotel!

  7. Back again, forgot to congratulate you on the (s)painless lack of Spanish references in your text! You may become an honorary citizen of the upcoming independent nation of Catalonia for that :)

  8. You Methodists in Georgia done gone and built some funny looking churches. I guess that's your business, but I wouldn't try to pretend they're in Spain in order to avoid being criticized for them because after all, you built them, so why make Spaniards take the rap?

  9. "Please forgive me for suggesting that America should consider adopting a beaver flag."

    We done that already, at least the ones of us what live in Oregon:

  10. Curiouser and curiouser, as somebody once said...

  11. Thats a very beautiful building :)

  12. Thank you for the dedication of this post. I was under the impression I had left a comment on here. But obviously I did not.


"the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America"

Today is July the twoth second. One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams of Massachusetts, who later became our ...