Bye-bye, Barcelona

So this is the last of my Barcelona batch. Gotta end it with night shots of Sagrada Famila, the one spot that got me so into Barcelona in the first place. Ever since college, I might add.

So adiós for now, Barcelona. You are still at the top of my list of cities I want to move to. Hopefully someday in the future, when all is well at your part of the world, we’ll bump into each other again.

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The City of Girona

Welcome to the lovely, medieval city of Girona, the capital of the northeastern Catalan province of Girona and a region historically inhabited by Iberians, my ancestors.

Surrounding the old town of the city is an ancient, Roman wall that once protected the area, recently reconstructed in some parts. In another part of the old town is the Girona Cathedral (the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona), restored in 1015 and redesigned around the renaissance era. Next to the Onyar river are houses reconstructed to resemble houses by the Arno river in  Florence, Italy (I like the Italian ones better. More authentic. Peh).

Though it is a very picturesque town with a lot to offer, it is more famous being one of the locations filmed for scenes in Game of Thrones, episode 10 from season 6. Look it up because I won’t. I haven’t seen it. Don’t kill me.

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Inside Barcelona Cathedral

One of the many things I love about gothic cathedrals is that while they’re incredibly extravagant on the outside, on the inside, they tend to be more on the simpler side. Understated, yet still grand and overwhelming in terms of size and structure,  very much unlike the neoclassical/baroque styles of the basilicas and cathedrals in Rome. You know, those crazy ornate ones that uses different colored-marbles and stones along with paintings, mosaics and gold leaf. Just like Notre Dame, this one is all just gray and stone. Simple, quiet, almost peaceful.

Oh, and then they have geese outside in what I can only describe as the “patio” area. I have no idea what they would call patio area in a cathedral, but whatever it is, they got geese. How cool is that?

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Barcelona Cathedral

As much as I love natural structures and sights, I am equally amazed by man-made wonders. Like, how in the world can the humble minds of humanity create something so ridiculously elaborate and detailed? I’ve always had a fascination with architectures, specifically gothic cathedrals ever since I came across a book about the modern, gothic-inspired Sagrada Familia when I used to work in the university library. That was the main event of the whole trip, until this spot came along.

I stumbled upon the Barcelona Cathedral, not completely by accident. It was one of those places that I saw in a map while planning my trip. It happened to be in the Gothic Quarters, close to the Picasso museum and next to the mini Dali museum so I figured maybe when I have the time, I’ll stop by it. Well, little did I know how close everything was to La Rambla. The Gothic Quarters was RIGHT there on one side of La Rambla. Seriously, my hotel was part of the Gothic Quarters. Pretty exciting when I discovered that.

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia or the Barcelona Cathedral for short, was constructed sometime around the 13th to 15th century. It actually wasn’t that grand then as you can see below.

The Gothic façade wasn’t added until late 19th century around 1880’s by Josep Oriol Mestres and August Font i Carreras. These two men are my heroes.

When I did finally came across the cathedral on my way to the Picasso museum, I was in awe. These are the type of structures I’ve always looked up and dreamed of seeing when I was just a very curious college kid. It’s even more awesome when I came across it unexpectedly. So purty. I even managed to get on top and get a shot of Sagrada Familia. But that’s for another post.

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Elgin Cathedral

Still in the Highlands, we drove southwards to the town of Elgin to where we visited the ruins of the Elgin Cathedral, aka “the Lantern of the North.” Built in the 13th century, the cathedral had survived fires and wars, before falling into ruin and disrepair in the mid 16th century. Preservation began in the early 19th century, after nearly four hundred years of neglect.

Today, the site is now pretty much a burial ground. The Chapter house is the only structure still intact as it was often used as a meeting spot.

Interesting place. I bought a couple of cashmere yarns next door. I should start knitting again.


Notre Dame

Let me tell ya. After going through a buncha cathedrals and basilicas in Italy and then discovering Notre Dame, I came to the following conclusion: I love Gothic churches.

I admit, I wasn’t as overly impressed with the exterior of Notre Dame as most people were, but the interior was what got me. It was not as gaudy as the Baroque styles of Italy, but it was just as intricate. Even puzzling. As cliché as it sounds, there was something dark about it, not in a sinister manner, but more in a secretive and melancholy way. It strangely made me feel at home.

Not that I would move in there or anything. Quasimodo already called dibs.