Armchair traveler, Sagrada Familia, 2005 and 2015

Sagrada Familia, Nativity Facade, 2015

Travel! When will we be able to travel comfortably again? 2020 was going to be a time for new experiences, new places. We planned a spring vacation to Madrid and Toledo and a July river boat holiday from Paris to Avignon; all cancelled thanks to Covid 19. So, here I sit thinking about past trips and hoping about the future.

I am looking at photos of places we enjoyed and experiences we had. With that in mind, “travel” with us to one of the world’s most extraordinary destinations. What I chose is a place that is like none anywhere; an experience that, if you have the opportunity, you should enjoy; a place that is one of my favorites. The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia (Basilica of the Holy Family) in Barcelona.

Our first visit to this magnificent cathedral, a one-day stop in Barcelona, was in 1992 during our first trip to the Med. It was then, as it is now, an ongoing project. Unfortunately, I have no photos to share from that visit. 

Construction began on March 19, 1882 under the guidance of architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. When he resigned in 1883 Antoni Gaudi assumed responsibility for the job. He continued until 1926 when he died from injuries suffered after being struck by a trolley.

Nothing we have seen, nor I expect we will ever see, compares to the unusual and wondrous design of this unique structure. Gaudi was not just exceptional. he was truly outstanding and nothing says Gaudi like the Sagrada Famila. It is a gothic cathedral and you will never see anything like it, nothing ever!

The crowds that are routine today were non-existent in 1992. We were able to pay our admission and walk right in. We passed through the Nativity Facade, which was built between 1894 and 1930. It faces the rising sun and symbolizes the birth of Christ.

Nativity Facade, 2005
Detail, Nativity Facade, 2005

Upon entering the sanctuary we found it open to the clouds above. As I recall, only a small chapel existed for Mass. I looked around and marveled at the work of Antonio Gaudi and wondered if I would ever see it completed. I still wonder. Total completion, inside and out, is anticipated by 2032.

We returned in 2005 to find great strides toward completion of the interior. Materials were strewn about everywhere. Pillars rose toward the sky and the still to be finished ceiling. Work was going on all around us. Have a look.

Sagrada Familia was magical then and continues to be today. There is something moving, inspirational, and motivating about a visit to this wonderful place. Every time we visit we see something new and unusual.

Gothic is about soaring and light. Sagrada Familia is about light; light of blues and greens and reds. Light floods in. The stained glass is extraordinary.

And, the ceiling reaches to the skies above, soaring, soaring. Light occupies every inch of space, even in the ceilings.

The stained glass is lovely and is every where.

The sanctuary is equally extraordinary. The crucifix, floating above the alter, inspires unbelievable spirituality.

These photos only scratch the surface of one of the most extraordinary places in the world. Go and enjoy it when you get the chance.

For details go to .


Leave a Reply