By Kelly Greacen a summer intern with Barcelona SAE
For my last day in Barcelona, I decided to do some more sightseeing and shopping. I started off at Sagrada Familia, the famous cathedral by Gaudi. It was breathtaking, and unlike any cathedral I had ever seen. While my favorite cathedrals are the gothic cathedrals, I gained a new appreciation for modern architecture (in Gaudi’s capable hands) when I saw Sagrada Familia.
I had to wait in a long line to get in. I’ve heard that there’s always a line, but I decided to take my chances. In was long on a weekday; I don’t even want to imagine what Saturdays are like. The wait was well worth it, however. The inside of the cathedral was a vast, high-ceilinged expanse of light and white marble. The ceiling was so high it seemed like a second sky. Light streamed in through multi-colored stained glass windows. Everything was incredibly ornate, but also light and airy and serene. I wanted to take the elevator up to the Passion Towers, but when I found out that you have to pay extra I decided that I could do without the view. I went to the ground floor instead, which contains a sort of Sagrada Familia museum, with models of his planned cathedrals and this cool upside-down hanging model, which contained a mold of the cathedral in blank space. It seems ill-fitting that a man as prophetically brilliant as Gaudi should die by being hit by a train on his way to work.
After Sagrada Familia, I took the metro down to my favorite part of the city: the Gothic district. I love this area because it has great little shops tucked away in the narrow cobblestone streets, alongside small, authentic tapas bars and pastry shops. The narrow streets and alleys wind maze-like behind the Gothic Cathedral. Walking down a secluded passageway, tucked between two high buildings with ornate street lamps and cobblestones, you feel as it you’ve walked into Europe circa 1400 or so.
Maybe it’s because it was my last day, but I seriously got my shop on last night. Good timing, though: the giant sale, it turns out, has actually started and isn’t just some cruel jape meant to break my heart. Other shoppers were eager for discounts, too. Mango was mobbed, with people trying on clothes over their own in the middle of the store, and everybody running to claim the good pieces before someone else buys them. I bought some jewelry from the little shops in the Gothic District, and took advantage of the sales as well.
I will miss this city terribly. For those of you still in Barcelona or just arriving, have a blast and enjoy the sale!