We started the day with a trip to the Sagrada Familia, a church designed by Gaudi. It might sound a bit odd to come out of the mouth of a trainee Vicar but I'm generally not that keen on visiting churches. I tend to find them a bit oppressive and the architecture makes me feel squashed rather then liberating in the big Gothic buildings full of dominating statues. I wasn't expecting too much from the Sagrada Familia but had been told I absolutely must go inside of it, and man alive, was I in for a surprise.
I can confidently say that this is one of the only church buildings I have ever been into that has knocked me for six. I wonder if it is the combination of the passions in Gaudi's life which are somewhat replicated in mine – a love of nature, a love of the Bible and a desire to see the church re-magined for a new generation – but it connected with me deeply.
|I loved the use of coloured light in the church in the stained glass. All the colours of the rainbow.|
For the first time I felt that my faith had been replicated right there in a work of architecture and it was quite overwhelming. Gaudi was commissioned to build the Church when he was 32 so it all seemed to come together somehow. The thirties, a new decade, many new hopes and this extraordinary place testifying to the power of a vision and a good dose of tenacity!
|Matthew's gospel carved into the doors|
We then went on to slightly less holy pursuits of shopping along the Passieg de Gracia. As a long time devotee of Mango I was thrilled to go to the flagship store and even more thrilled to visit the place where Mango clothes go for one last hurrah before the end, the outlet store! Oh. My. Goodness. This place is wall to wall with loveliness, Mango's finest, in perfect condition but at a fraction of the price. Only the teeny tiny hand luggage restrictions of Easy Jet stopped me from going truly mental and I managed to emerge, a paragon of restraint, with just a neon yellow skirt and a red dress.
We finished the evening with dinner on top of the bullring followed by the amazing fountains and light show at Placa d'Espana. The light show was spectacular and the soundtrack was eerily like someone had broken into my Spotify playlist. It was amazing to jump about, get sprayed by water and have a good old sing along. Honestly, how cool is this city?!
And now, sob, my last night here is upon me. We're heading off to the beach for a few days know because, well, why wouldn't we? Then we are off to Madrid to feast ourselves silly and possibly do something cultural in between. I have loved it here. I felt comfortable from the moment I arrived and I have had some genuine milestones in my working and personal life. Who would have thought such a short trip planned somewhat on a speculative whim would turn out to be so special.
But now I'm signing off to dip my toes in the Med! See you in a week or so!