Travel: Sagrada Famila

So, I tend to think that I am traveling during the off-season of the tourism industry, but today was not the case. When we arrived at the Sagrada Familia the line wrapped all the way around the cathedral, thankfully, in my preemptive research, we had already purchased tickets online that allowed us selective entry within the assigned time-slot; no waiting for us!

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The Cathedral is Gaudí‘s brainchild, and has been in construction for over a century. Construction of the structure commenced in 1882, and Gaudi officially took the design of the project in 1883, transforming the conventional structure into his vision, something that cohesively incorporated gothic roots and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. It recently reached surpassed the halfway point of construction primarily due to financial setbacks that had resulted from the interruption of the Spanish Civil War.


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Nativity Facade

Passion Facade

Passion Facade







It was absolutely breathtaking to behold. Gaudi has a penchant for embracing the natural forms he sees in nature, such as the way a tree branches or the facets of a crystallized gem. In the modern architecture world, we call this biomimicry, utilizing observations from nature and emulating the structure or processes to build a thought-provoking and innovative structure.

You can see it in his design of the interior columns.

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You can see it in how he effectively uses natural lighting in the interior.

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It was also quite amazing as a structural engineer to understand that he utilized the concept of form-finding in one of his earlier designs, the Colonia Guell. This is particularly fascinating because it involves finding the equilibrium shape of a structure given applied loads. It is an example of simplified non-linear analysis in actions wherefore the structure tends to get stiffer, and stronger, as it is subject to more deformation, the opposite of what one would typically think.

Okay, moving on from my enginerd moment. : P

Next, we spent a leisurely walk admiring the architectural discord that resulted from having different architects design houses that are co-located side by side on the Illa de la Discordia. It is particularly vital since it is noted for being prime examples of Barcelona’s most important Modernista architects, Lluís Domènech i MontanerAntoni GaudíJosep Puig i Cadafalch and Enric Sagnier

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The image is a little jarring, yet its catches the viewer’s eye and allows one to study the uniquely disparate styles of each individual.

Our final act of the day was to swing by the Palau Musica after traipsing through the streets of the Gothic Quarter. We opted not to tour the interior earlier in the week because the cost tradeoff wasn’t quite worth it considering that the Sagrada Familia was the same entry price, but had more significant visionary value. It does seem gorgeous though, so if you are in the area and have time, you should try to catch a performance at least.

The Sagrada Familia has been a consistent controversy within the borders of Spain, what are your thoughts on it? Is it over-the-top and an unnecessary investment? Or is it an icon of Gaudi and a symbolic representation of the Catholic Faith?


Travel: Picasso’s Guernica

After being incredibly moved by observing the clear faith humans can maintain despite their hardships, we decided to enjoy the rest of our afternoon taking a leisurely stroll through the Parque del Buen Retiro, it is quite reminiscent of New York City’s Central Park.

Here are some highlights:

Palacio de Cristal

Palacio de Cristal

Monument to King Alfonso XII

Monument to King Alfonso XII

El Angel Caído

El Angel Caído

The highlight of our night included dropping by the Rena Sofia Museum. It was particularly economical because it happened to be free entry night. 😛 Our primary motivation was to bear witness to Pablo Picasso‘s infamous Guernica. The republican government commissioned Picasso for this piece to express the struggles of the the spanish during the  Spanish Civil War at the Paris International Exposition (1937), despite the official theme. It was meant to be used as a venue for propaganda to illustrate the nation’s suffering.


Guernica (1937)

For months he struggled with inspiration for his canvas, then, on April 26, 1937, the town of Guernica was bombed. This was a direct order from Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, and the German Condor Legion‘s warplanes served the hit. Hitler was lending support to the Nationalist’s during this period, and the Civil War provided a venue for the nazi’s to test their new weaponry.

At the time of the bombing, the primary population consisted of women and children, as the men were away fighting. If you gaze at it in thought, it is easier to see the expressions of pain and protest. depicted on the faces of the bull, the horse, and the woman. The black, gray, and white colors were deliberately selected to reflect the somber mood of the event while simultaneously expressing chaos. A broken sword lies on the bottom, symbolizing defeat.

I also enjoyed discovering some other painters’ that I had touched on before, but hadn’t had a chance to further explore their work.

A World (1937)

Santos Torroella – A World (1937)

Violin and Guitar (1913)

Juan Gris – Violin and Guitar (1913)








I’m not an art expert by any means, I am merely an aficionado that enjoys how a single picture or panting can express deep-seated emotion without any words. What are your thoughts on art? Who is your favorite artist? What is your favorite style?