It was the briefest of visits to one of the more engaging of cities. From May 30 to June 5 I strolled, commuted, sat and wrote my way through every spare moment afforded to me by this opportunity to explore what I could of Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia, Spain.
As a member of the APC Executive Board, even though I am listed as an alternative (kept in reserve should there be a resignation or otherwise of any of the eight primary elected), I have been fortuitous to have been invited to participate in every meeting since this new Board was founded in 2005.
Stepping out for my first evening beyond the perimeter of the meeting, a small crew of us from the APC, took off for a double line ride on the Metro, taking the L3 from Maria Cristina and changing at Paral-lel for the L2, to get to one of the most remarkable achievements of the early 20th century.
As I leapt from the underground I heard Karen Banks, just ahead of me, gasp! I turned quickly and faced Antoni Gaudi’s Temple De La Sagrada Familia! I could barely mutter an expletive… I nearly fainted.
This dense thug of rock, mad with furious detail, thrusting out onto the world as if a meteorite had at that instant crashed to the Earth, and at the point of impact, held immediately suspended… and you could almost hear it… it sang to me, from deep within its precisely honed stone and its hyperboloid structures.
She rises from the ground and falls from the sky simultaneously,
a billion siren screams strong
held at a distance
by the sweetness of cinnamon and amber resin,
perceptible to perhaps this human alone,
at this moment…
I, that am…
mercilessly challenged by this beast
of beauty and horror across all senses relentless.
Not unlike any street in Fontana, where I had spent my final evening in Barcelona, but some where within the vicinity of Avinguda de Gaudi, Sagrada Familia, from the pavement table of the Granja Cefeteria Catalunya I would ask: …will Gaudi’s Cathedral ever become a place of worship or will it remain an unfinished masterpiece and reliable income earner for the city?
The Temple De La Sagrada Familia continues to inspire many to gape in awe and others to photograph it relentlessly. One can only hope it gives rise to greatness, that we would, at the very least, become more aware of the legacies left to us and that which we too will leave future generations.
I believe the Catalans are very proud of their cultural heritage. One can see it in the care and discipline of the architecture that followed Gaudi, particularly that of the countless apartment blocks that make up the bulk of city’s respectable, low-eyeline skyline. The Temple De La Sagrada Familia, designed to not exceed the height of the tallest mountain in the region, is one of the very few structures that rise well above the city leaving plenty of room for sunlight and sweeping views of the sky. One’s peripheral vision is exercised in Barcelona across both its carefully considered buildings and their confident inhabitants.
I was particularly keen to find the right angle from which to photograph the dramatic Passion facade. Despite all the photos being taken by the hundreds of tourists around me, I wanted to photograph how I saw this work, to highlight the robustness of this structure, the daring and will power of a single vision – a vision that stalks the present architects who have at their disposal terribly efficient technologies whereas Gaudi continued to build the Temple De La Sagrada Familia from his head until his untimely death.