The Forever New Church

Important Book tickets for Sagrada Familia online. Book tickets for Sagrada Familia online. Book tickets for Sagrada Familia online. ––Important things need to be reiterated three times.

Looking at Sagrada Familia for the first time on Tuesday.
Looking at the Sagrada Familia for the first time on Tuesday.

Last Tuesday, we went on a three-hour bus tour to see the city. During the tour, we stopped by the Sagrada Familia, the one thing that everyone has to know about Barcelona and stared at this massive building from the outside. After that one stare, all of us had been thinking about going inside this spectacular church that has been under construction for the past 133 years.

Before I came here, I read on Rick Steves’ site that booking tickets for the Sagrada Familia online saves all the hassles, so I urged Alexa and Frankie to book tickets with me and go in. As it turns out, this is by far the best traveling tip I’ve ever taken.

As soon as we came back from our tour, we booked the tickets on the church’s official website. The website listed entering time by 15 mins intervals (for example, you can choose to get in at 3:15, or the next available time slot is 3:30). If you are interested in going up to one of the towers, you will need to decide an entering time for that, too. A student ticket for going inside the church plus a visit to one of the two towers costs €17.50. If you want an audio guide, that’s an additional €3.50. Regular tickets are just slightly more expensive than the student ones.

With our printed tickets, we headed back to the Sagrada Familia the next day. The little piece of printout worked like magic. We skipped the long line that snaked around four street blocks and went right to the front. The total entering time was more or less 10 seconds. Otherwise, waiting in line to get in would just be a pain in the butt.

Capturing the whole of Sagrada Familia was like an impossible task.
Capturing the whole of Sagrada Familia was like an impossible task.

I may not qualify as a world traveler, but I’ve been to a few places. Unlike the majority of the places I’ve visited, Barcelona delivers: all its tourist attractions live up to their hypes, including this one. I’ve seen pictures of the Sagrada Familia all over the internet, both of the outside and the inside. I googled the sh*t of them before I came here.

Yet, nothing quite resembles standing by this massive structure and admiring it from a close distance. It’s unexpectedly grand, so much so that I lost my descriptive abilities and couldn’t (still can’t) put what I saw and how I felt into words.

If there’s one thing about the Sagrada Familia that’s drastically different from my expectation, it would be the scale of the construction that’s been carried out on the church up until today. I have always known that the Sagrada Familia is not finished, but hearing the construction noise humming by my ears and seeing the cranes moving nonstop redefines my idea of “an ongoing process,” a 133-year-long “ongoing process.”

On one side of the church, there’s the apse and ambulatory, the earliest completed portion of the church, done before Gaudí’s participation in the architectural design. And on the opposite end of the basilica, architects today are still working on engraving Lord’s Prayer onto a bronze gate.

A display in the Sagrada Familia of what the finished gate will look like.
A display in the Sagrada Familia of what the finished gate will look like.

Before coming to the Sagrada Familia, I thought this is just another piece of Gaudí’s work, an old church with some history. After walking around the church and learning more about it, I came to realize that although it still is very much Gaudí’s work –– the major structure of the church carried out many of the famous architect’s unique characteristics and ideals in architecture planning, the Sagrada Familia is not, and simply could not be one man’s work. Everyday, newer generations of architects and craftsmen put their time, effort and new ideas into the construction of this important religious institution. In the basement of this church, we saw craftsman working behind glass windows on columns and decorative art works. There was also newer technologies displayed to do what Gaudí did a hundred years ago, but instead of doing them by hand, they now use heavy machines and computers.

The Sagrada Familia is growing bigger and fuller in front of the eyes of all its admirers. Its tentative completion date is in 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death. By then, I will be 33 years old. Maybe I will come back then, and maybe again some time later. I look forward to seeing something different of this grand piece of art every time I am here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s