Some passing comment I read somewhere today made me think of the places I’ve traveled. Frankly, that’s not a lot. I love traveling. I love the idea of discovering a place that has its own life, its own rhythms, all apart from anything in my world. A place that doesn’t know and doesn’t care about what’s happening Minneapolis, or even Minnesota, or even better yet, back in the States.
Living on a border state, I don’t count my afternoon in Thunder Bay as international travel. The first place I ever visited was Barcelona. I. Love. Barcelona. It’s a vibrant, warm city, full of life and energy. It’s the home of Picasso. It’s a second home to Dalí. And it’s undeniably the home to Antoni Gaudí, a surrealist architect whose buildings are all over the place. And his master creation isn’t even done yet, even though he’s been dead for 83 years.
La Sagrada Familia is a church whose construction began in 1882. Work has continued year round, since then. They think they’ll be done in about another 25 years.
It’s a crazy building to visit, especially because it’s a working, construction site. Workers are there, placing stones, tiles, building scaffolding. Meanwhile hundred of people go through it each day, marveling at the work.
The structure is crazy mix of styles, with gargoyles, angels, biblical figures and animals carved in to the exterior. The highlight of the visit is toward the top of those spires. You go up a tiny elevator (or, if you’re under 30 you can walk up the steps) and you end up in a small room, about 18 stories up. The windows are open – there’s no glass or anything. Then you walk across an open bridge to the other spire.
And by “open bridge” I mean, it’s a narrow, stone walkway, with about 4 foot high walls on either side, and uncovered. 18 stories or so up. Then you go up or down a narrow spiral stairway in the other spire, also with open windows both to the outside and to the internal core of the spire. It’s a bit….claustrophobic in there.
This explains why the Chinese lady had a panic attack. Blocking the traffic, when she sat down and didn’t move. Freaking out. Behind her were the Japanese couple and some Canadians. On this side of her, were the Germans and then us. On the bridge.
Did I mention it was open?
Some of the coolest areas are within the church itself. A huge cavernous space with enormous windows, mostly stained glass, and some areas that are still without a roof. This picture, of the light spilling through, is one of my favorite from our visit there.
Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed by any given project I’m working on – whether it’s producing a show, acting, directing, or anything else where I’m faced with challenges, especially if I question myself – I think back to Antoni Gaudí and realize my challenges aren’t so tough. And sticking to my vision is what defines me.
Of course, I hope I live to see all my projects to fruition.