Tuesday is discount day at one of the largest English-language (i.e. not dubbed) cinemas in Berlin. On tap this week was Woody Allen’s newest, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Though a sadder movie than I expected, what disappointed me most was the portrayal of one of those three title characters — can you guess which one?
The film is set in — surprise! — Barcelona, and while every review you’ll read will extol the gorgeous sweeping views of the enchanting city, it felt more like they spent a few days shooting at spots around town before retreating to other locations. Would that Spain had been more influential in the plot. As written, the film and its romantic intrigues could have easily been set in any other number of romantic, European, Mediterranean locales.
One of the first things Vicky and Cristina do upon arriving in town is a pilgrimage to La Sagrada Familia, the masterwork-in-progress of architect Antoni Gaudi. Vicky is pursuing a master’s in Catalan culture (without, I might add, much ability to speak Spanish), inspired by the works of Gaudi and the dulcet strains of the Spanish guitar. If you’re not familiar with his work, Gaudi’s style was influenced by art nouveau and his whimsical architecture, like that of Hundertwasser, is usually fiercely loved or hated. For lovers, it is easy to take in a great variety of his works in just a short visit to the city.
Making La Sagrada Familia unique is that it remains under construction, over 12 decades since breaking ground and eight decades after Gaudi’s accidental death; work continues despite setbacks from a civil war, two world wars, and the near-complete destruction of Gaudi’s models and plans. Workers hope to finish by 2026, the centennial of Gaudi’s passing, though with any construction project of this magnitude, it is unclear whether or not they will achieve this goal. If you could ignore the modern equipment, it would be like stepping back a thousand years, when many cathedrals across Europe were built, each taking hundreds of years to complete.
The church, open at 9 a.m. daily, is located near the subway station bearing its name. Admission fee: 10 euros adults, 8 euros students. Included in the admission price is entrance to the church and two on-site museums. The site has two excellent gift shops with a variety of reasonably-priced Gaudi gear and a wide selection of postcards.
- Follow the rest of the Photo Friday crew here.
- Read about my nine-day, 150-euro (strictly G-rated) Spanish adventure in Baring my Budget: Madrid and Barcelona
- EuroCheapo explores cheap, tacky and Gaudi Barcelona souvenirs