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Friday, 28 March 2014

Day 4 | La Sagrada Familia

DAY 4: 27 September, SPAIN

So, I've been putting off this post for the longest time, and I think it's time to get it over and done with. Part of why this took so long is because I don't want to revisit some bad memories that happened on this particular day, but mostly because I am obviously a very lazy person.

The day started early, with the agenda being covering allllll the Gaudi buildings, including the Sagrada Familia, which is a huge, awesome building and requires x amount of time to appreciate, x being however long it takes for you to finished walking through the building and become one with the architecture. I'd planned to visit the SF last because I was sure that all the other small buildings would greatly pale in comparison to it and obviously, I did not want to waste good money on buildings that I'd feel underwhelmed in, so I headed out alone to the La Pedrera (Casa Mila) first.

I won't pretend I wasn't slightly disappointed by the exterior because of all the built up expectations from the other Gaudi buildings, but this was the most understated one of them. So I entered the building into the atrium, and I was instantly engulfed in the building. Unfortunately it was too huge and difficult to take a picture of D: this is the best I could do.

Gaudi's buildings are always fascinating and beautiful, especially with their plastered facades and brilliant colours. You have no idea how easy it is to be completely and deeply enthralled in the architecture, even if you don't study it. The building's tectonics are not immediately apparent, being more like an enormous habitable sculpture where the floors become the walls and become the ceiling and okay I sound a bit crazy now.

This was a residential building where the owners of the building stay on the bottom floors with about 20 rooms on the upper floors so the interior while nice was nothing really astounding. What was mind-blowing was the beautiful roof scape with amazingly sculpted chimneys. Could not believe my eyes when i emerged onto the roof after climbing a ton of stairs.

So I, and all the other tourists perambulated the roof scape for a good half an hour and took 2475678465925 pictures that on hindsight are very similar. It was such a good space, though, and the weather was amazing looking at these photos makes me feel somewhat emotional.

AMAZING MODELS *hearts in eyes*
Beautiful colours, scarcely edited.
Sitting on a Gaudi chair *cue angel choir singing*

After I was done ogling the building, I had to extricate myself and continue with my itinerary. After a brief stop for lunch I made my way to Sagrada Familia by metro.

And this is where my heartbreaking tale begins. I'd brought out my Prada wallet that day, with all the Sing dollars I had because I didn't want to leave it in the hostel. Unfortunately my bag that day did not have a zip. I guess you know what's coming. I swear it was only for a moment that I swung my bag behind and it was GONE.

The funny thing is, I felt it being lifted out of my bag, so I SWUNG around and grabbed onto the nearest person to me who presumably acted like she was stunned (she turned out to be the perpetrator after all, I found this out after the police followed me back to the crime scene and asked for witnesses. Apparently the locals do not rat on each other because loyalty. WHERE ARE YOUR MORALS D:<?) and claimed innocence while I yelled GIVE ME BACK MY WALLET in her face. The bitch was all like NONONO NOT ME it was a tall guy – and I, in the heat of the moment, ran back to the ticket gates and shouted at a tall guy – ANY tall guy – in fact, I think I shouted at the tallest guy I could see. He was visibly confused but came out to help anyway.

At this point I was positively hysterical and was wailing like a banshee in the middle of the Sagrada Familia metro station alone. The guy who I accused of stealing was nice about it though, and brought me to the metro security. Of course, they couldn't speak English and I was going crazy yelling at them to get my wallet back for me (of course I knew it was gone but that didn't stop me from shouting anyway). The nerve of them to steal in front of a church. A huge, HUGE church no less.

They tried to direct me to the nearest police station to make a report, and were telling me to turn left here, turn right there on a tattered map, to which I responded with a rather indignant YOU WANT ME TO WALK THERE? As hard as I try to shut these memories out, they are still extremely vivid in my mind. From time to time I remember this scene and involuntarily cringe at how embarrassing I was, but I think when it comes down to it ,not many people can say that they got fetched to the police station in a police car (which was sent to bring me there because of how batshit insane I was behaving).

Thankfully I had the good sense to take out my debit card and cash to put in another wallet, the cards in my stolen wallet hadn't been activated, and I also had cash strategically spread out in the various pockets of my bag so I could still survive the following days in Spain and Portugal. But still, my prada wallet :( To add insult to injury I found out that I wasn't covered by insurance and therefore could not claim anything from this unfortunate mishap. It was quite a huge loss though, all that cash. Thanking about it makes me ache – which is why I have been resisting properly writing about this since time immemorial but now that it is finally OUT THERE, I have achieved catharsis and closure. Tadaaaaa

After that ordeal, I returned to Sagrada Familia with a heavy heart having told my parents about the loss. But the day had to go on and I was not about to let 3 insolent senoritas ruin my day. I would prevail!!!!

Sculpture looking morose and all, probably commiserating with me.
When I first saw a picture of this I couldn't make sense of it. Like whaaaaat that's a ceiling? CRAY.
The way the light streams in is just absolutely sublime. One becomes one with the architecture.
Gorgeous stained glass windows combined with the staggeringly complex but sensible structure of the church makes for awesome architecture. I like how in most of my pictures the people in them are just milling around awestruck and staring at the ceiling, completely captivated.
Climbed up a hideously long and narrow flight of spiral stairs to get to the bell tower where a birds eye view of this astounding building awaited.
O.O the intricacy!

It was a tiny bridge that couldn't hold many people, so we had to quickly have our fill of the scenery and awesomeness before descending. 

Won't pretend my pictures came even close to a fraction of presenting how insanely wonderful this building is but I try, I try.

After reluctantly leaving this place, the next destination was of course, to complete the archistudent pilgrimmage, the Barcelona Pavilion. It was a wonderful coincidence that the guard on duty happened to be off, I don't know, probably peeing or skiving somewhere, so we snuck in without paying the entrance fee. Not that it was a large sum but I'd just been pickpocketed I needed all the savings I could get. It was just as well, because after seeing the SF, the Barcelona pavilion was just... a very nicely constructed building in comparison. It feels dirty, almost blasphemous to even think of being unimpressed by the Barcelona Pavilion but it is what it is and can you really blame me?  After what I'd just seen?

The walk there was enjoyable though, because the urban planning of Barcelona is <3 Or at least the touristy, developed areas that I'd been to.

This was a magical fountain (no, seriously, it's called The Magic Fountain of Montjuic) that lit up and night and did amazing fountainy things that I did not have the good sense to take a photo of (I thought I would have) because it was very, very cold and I was exhausted from my traumatic experience.

Here, obligatory photo.

By this point I had basically covered all the stops that I'd set out to and was feeling rather pleased with myself. But obvious when one is on semi-self funded holiday, one aims to stretch one's dollar amirite
Discovered this after a while of walking around the area:

DO YOU SEE THAT? FESTES. GASTRONOMIQUES! I have to admit that I was imagining streets flanked with people offering food samples and the smell of roasted meat filling the air, with the possibility of me filling my stomach with free food ala Singapore Expo Food Fair style. But no. It was an atas food fair with people selling stuff like olive oil and pastries that are so expensive it had better be infused with gold. Didn't stop me from going in, though I waited till after 7pm to enter because... it was cheaper. See what I mean about stretching my dollar?

Explored the area while killing time before going in and came across this area with lots of colourful graffiti. Urgh such a beautiful country. I'm really starting to wonder if the grass is really greener on the other side. 

Anyhoo. The place where the food fair was held is called Poble Espanyol which means Spanish people in Catalan. I'm not sure how that makes sense, but it doesn't matter what it's called when it's this beautiful. Honestly after realising that I was not going to get any free food out of it, my attention turned to the buildings instead. It's supposedly an open-air museum but I'd no idea what I was supposed to see/ be focusing on so I guess I just had to appreciate it my own way – which is often sitting down with some snacks in hand.

  Would you just look at that beautiful brickwork.

And we ended the day by splurging on some cute pastries at a delightful little bakery. Certainly a day I'll never forget for a long, long time. I'm not sure whether I consider this a good or a bad day, because there certainly were moments where I thought hey, I could get used to this. But I suppose that's not important, and as far as memories go, here's one for the road.

x hwen

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