I got a chance to see Sagrada Familia today.
Once again, Metro is my preferred way of transportation. Transfer to different lines on Metro, where available, is free. Based on my experience so far, I like the subway system here. The trains are all punctual and fast. There is a display at each station telling you when the next train will come, with great accuracy. The display is relatively big and has at least 3 rows, plenty room for train direction and next train’s arrival time, so the text is not crawling on a single row of display, like Chicago’s EL. You can see an example here. The quality of this shot is not very good, it’s kinda blurry:
Within the car, there is a display right above the door that shows exactly what the next stop is and the direction the train is travelling. Again, I liked this method. See picture below:
At Metro Espanya station, which is the closet station to my hotel, I bought a bottle of water. The store owner also gave me a sample of this:
I don’t know the English or Spanish name for it, but I know what it is. In Chinese, at least in my dialect, I call it 皮肚 or 油花子. When I was little, we usually buy pork that has pig’s skin and a few inches of meat below it, most of which is fat. We then fry that in a covered wok, so the fat does not splash everywhere. When it is done, the fat would be collected and saved as cooking oil, kind of like the practice of using butter or margarine to pan fry stuff in the West. The residue, which is really fried pig skin, will be saved for snack or used to cook soup. I’ve also seen similar things in Mexico City.
Anyway, I got to Sagrada Familia in no time. Before I got inside, I strolled around so I can take better pictures of it. And I saw 2 persons playing table-tennis on this cement ping-pong table:
That brought back memories, because outdoor cement ping-pong table in school ground was very common when I grown up. It was cheap to set it up and the pad and ball were cheap to get. We usually didn’t have a net though. We would just put a row of bricks in the middle. The competition can be heated and we all played with gusto. I remember there was a big ping-pong rivalry between my two elder brothers.
Back to Sagrada Familia. It was very impressive. Construction started in the 1880s and it is still not done to this day, having been interrupted by wars, poor finance, and other reasons. That’s why you will see cranes and scaffolding stuff in pictures, because construction is on-going.
From outside, it has a funky look, but the sculptures, bell towers, and various biblical scenes were done with great attention to detail and precision:
Antoni Gaudi, the renowned Catalan architect and apparently devout Catholic, models a lot of his design on his observation in nature. Once inside, the tree structure of columns are apparent:
There are stairs where you can climb to as high as 75 meters.
I didn’t go all the way, because after around 250 stairs, there was a slow line going up. But I was glad that I climbed, because the view was very nice and I got to take a few more pictures.
Anyway, Sagrada Familia is a must-see if you ever come to Barcelona.
Before I forgot, smoking is allowed in majority of restaurants and bars, and many customers do smoke. For vegetarians, your choice of food can be limited.