One of my great joys of touring Europe was visiting churches and cathedrals, not just for the beautiful architecture but also the spiritual experience. My favorite was La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.
It’s funny right now to think of being in such a public space with so many people, but I don’t remember it feeling crowded at all. I remember it feeling so peaceful with all the light and colors and forms of nature. As a Catholic, I was very moved; this church helped me feel the presence of God.
I think of morning as being a quiet time, though I am not a morning person at all. Taking an early morning walk down Grafton Street in Dublin was such a contrast to visiting the day before during shopping hours.
It’s a small detail in this photo, but you can see the Pride flags waving proudly above the Liffey in Dublin, Ireland. It was the weekend of the Pride festival when we visited, and the country had recently approved gay marriage via referendum. In addition, while we were there we heard the news that the U.S. Supreme Court had also guaranteed the right of same-sex couples to marry with their landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. It felt like a significant moment, like a look into a brighter future.
A visit to the Sagrada Família in Barcelona also requires a look into the future. The masterwork of architect Antoni Gaudí, the church was begun in 1882 and is scheduled to be finished in 2026. It was amazing even under construction, so I look forward to returning to see the completed building in the future.
Sagrada Família Basilica in Barcelona, Spain is a wonder of Modernisme architecture. Although I think of Gaudí’s style as being very rounded and natural, he also uses angles incredibly well. In the Passion façade, he uses stark angles to show the harsh bleakness of Christ’s passion and death.
In the interior, he uses organic angles on the tree-like pillars to give a sense of opening above. And outside, he includes many peaks that point heavenward.
Gaudí’s designs for the Sagrada Família church in Barcelona, Spain incorporate themes of nature in many ways. The columns look like trees, so that it feels like you are standing in a forest while in the church’s nave. (They also remind me of celery stalks a bit.) It gives you the same feeling of peace as if you were really surrounded by trees, with the light filtering down to the forest floor.
My cameras and phones have never been really good enough to get good macro shots, so here are some close-ups of architecture: Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona, Spain; the capital of a Corinthian-style column in Venice; a bench wall by the sea in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
And just for fun, I was playing with my phone today, so here is a close-up of my cat Juhani.