|Two buildings just outside Park Gruell designed by the great artist Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain.|
First week of spring break. Check. I cannot believe that I spent the last few days in the wonderful cities of Barcelona, Seville, and Fatima! Two countries in one week is do-able, yet exhausting. Upon arrival in Barcelona, the city was having a transportation strike and the city center was rioting. Our taxi driver takes us to our hostel using an alternative route, in order to bypass all of the chaos. The following day as we walk through Barcelona, the views are breathtaking and the sun is shining. However, as we walk we notice that several shop windows and ATMs have been busted in and shattered. Fortunately, we arrived in Spain towards the tail end of all that excitement, and were able to enjoy the color and life of the city the following afternoon.
|One of the many glass windows that were shattered in Barcelona, due to the riots and strikes.|
- La Sagrada Familia: This is Barcelona's biggest attraction. It was designed by Gaudi over 100 years ago, and even after his death, it is still unfinished, and construction continues. The church is not expected to be completed until 2026. The outside of this church is extremely intricate, and the inside is flooded with vivid colors streaming in through the stained glass windows.
- Casa Mila
- Casa Batllo
- and last but not least... Park Guell!! This was my favorite spot in Barcelona. It is a large park with lots of unexpected elements. It hosts the world's largest park bench which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. This park emulates surrealism and is a taste of paradise to be sure.
|Tile mosaic on the world's largest park bench, designed by Gaudi.|
|Outside of the Sagrada Familia|
|Mary's Fiat!!! Sculpted right on the outside of the Sagrada Familia!!!|
|The ceiling inside the Sagrada Familia|
|While at Lauren's host family's house, Meghan and I were privileged to try on the dresses they wear for the Ferreira festival.|
One of the main reasons for going to Spain during our first week of break, was in order to be there for Palm Sunday, when Semana Santa began. From Palm Sunday to Easter, several processions take place throughout the city. Each parish has two large and very heavy scenes that they carry through the city from their parish, to the Cathedral, and then back to their parish again. One scene depicts a scene from an event during Christ's passion, and the second scene is one of our mother, Mary, with a realistic grief-stricken face. The figures are so heavy that about 100 men are underneath each scene in order to carry it. This is a penitential practice, and the pasos pilgrimage is about 8 hours each. One parish took 2 hours simply to make it out of their church (It starts with penitents, then a scene from the passion, then more penitents, and then a scene of Mother Mary, and then more penitents.) It is a slow, reflective walk. It is not meant to be rushed. Several of the penitents walk through the city barefoot, as they hold tall candles, with hot wax dripping onto their hands as they proceed. When the scenes from the passion approach closer and closer, you begin to hear loud music and pounding drums coming from the band that accomponies the penitents. Every scene hits you in a significant way, even after waiting several hours to see it arrive. Semana Santa was a beautiful prelude to a Triduum spent in Rome.
|A Pasa holding our loving and selfless Mama Mary!|
|One of the many pasos (processions) on Palm Sunday during Semana Santa in Seville, Spain.|
|These ladies were so moved by the Semana Santa pasa they were watching. Several hankies were being used to wipe their tearful eyes.|