We started a little later today - our plan was to travel to Montserrat in the mountain area of Barcelona and then tour the various city sites. Another ambitious undertaking, I might add! We had breakfast at the hotel, and Armando picked us up at 9:30. It took about an hour to get to Montserrat, an old monastery high on the mountain. The views were spectacular, of course, but what we didn't expect was a wonderful art museum.
The Basilica itself was quite large and wonderfully ornate. The monks were holding a High Mass when we arrived. We had only allowed an hour to visit Montserrat, so we regretfully departed for the museum, which holds various artworks of major Spanish artists. The ones that I was the most impressed with were two paintings by Pablo Picasso called "The Old Fisherman" and "Altar Boy" painted in 1895 and 1896 when Picasso was just 14 and 15 years old. Simply amazing to see the talent he had at such a young age.
There was also a hotel at the site, so we decided that if we ever return to Barcelona, we would stay for a couple of days at Montserrat so we could properly tour all of the attractions there.
Down the mountain we went to begin our tour of the Gaudi buildings. For those of you who are not familiar with that name, Antonio Gaudi was one of the creators of the Moderniste style of architecture in the late 1900's. Our first stop was the still unfinished Sagrada Familia. Gaudi began the project in 1883 but died after working on it for 43 years! Various architects have tried to finish it in the years that folowed. They now anticipate that it will be completed in 2020! And, there are no guarantees about that. Some people consider it a masterpiece - some consider it a monstrosity, but everyone admires the determination that Gaudi had to finish the project. And he was truly ahead of his time!
Very cathedral-like in appearance with its many spires, the detail on the building is mind-boggling. Every statue and decoration is significant in meaning to the entire concept of the building. I only hope the finished product is what Gaudi would have wanted.
I am going to save Park Guell for tomorrow because it deserves its own post. But, in the meantime, here some of the other Moderniste buildings we saw (not all Gaudi).