SPAIN (so far!)

I’ve just fully realized how young America is. We’re just a baby country compared to Spain (and every other country I’m going to visit this summer..) which is filled with history on every corner and architecture that blows my mind. Yesterday I explored the streets of Barcelona with a few friends…the theme of the day was Gaudi for sure. Gaudi designed such elaborate and magnificent buildings in this city. One of the most remarkable being the Sigrada Familia. This church is yet to be finished (he was killed by a tram before he could finish the work) but still people crowd the streets just to get a glimpse and line up to get inside. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Each bit of detail symbolized something. We decided to split an audio tour between the four of us and learn more about it…I feel like when we were looking at it, it looked beautiful and really awesome but learned about the meaning of everything really gave light to the idea Gaudi had in making this.

The outside resembles one of those sand castles you would make as a kid – dripping the sand out of your hand and letting it slowly build into this drip-castle…get what I’m saying? Well that’s what it looked like but the drips of sand were sculptures that blew my mind. The inside is supposed to resemble a forest. The beams are tall and thick like trees and tops of them branch into more beams that spray into the ceiling. The ceiling looks like a canopy of palm leaves. The stained glass reflects the most perfect amount of light to compliment the sun rays shooting through the windows. Gaudi intended for this to be the ultimate place to meditate with God and he felt that nature was the way to bring that through to people. He sure did. This place is filled with spiral staircases, colors, detail, and history. Every little bit of it. Its location is even significant – its the exact distance from the beach to the Sigrada Familia as it is to the mountains. There is two turtle sculptures that may go unnoticed to some but show the relationship with the church to the mountain (land tortoise) and sea (sea turtle). They symbolize permanence. During the Spanish Civil War most of the original plans for the Sigrada were burned along with many of the pieces inside. For nearly four centuries they have been building it and will continue to…even after Gaudi’s death. I really can not imagine what it will be like when it is finished… people are lined up to see it UNFINISHED, the result will be so unbelievable.

Last night we explored the beach area of Port Olympico which was really fun… we ate paella and danced like it was our own country. I met some lovely girls from London too! We got back to the ship around 4am…which isn’t that late here…and passed out in hopes of getting some rest before another adventurous day. Today, I visited the Montserrat with Josh and Dan. This place is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life…so far. We took a train from Barcelona to a town an hour away, then got on a gondola that dragged us up into the sky where this monastery was built. These mountains are unlike any mountains I have seen before. The stand like bowling pins or people or fingers….look it up on google images, its hard to describe. Anyways, we check out the church and all that jazz then went exploring. We decided to stray a bit off the path and find a trail to the top. We ended up jumping a fence and finding a sweet little path to an amazing overlook. I’ve never been on a mountain this high, I could see for miles and miles. It was so incredible! I wish I could post pictures on here so I could show you! Hopefully tomorrow I will have some time to go to an internet cafe and upload some!

I need to get my siesta in before tonight (Spain is playing in the world cup and this is apparently going to be really wild in town) so, adios mis amigos!

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