First Day in Salamanca, Spain

My impromptu tour guide of the Sagrada Familia Crypt

My impromptu tour guide of the Sagrada Familia Crypt

First day in Salamanca, Spain and Barcelona

November 21, 2010

Barcelona was amazing!  I really love that city!  I am SO glad that I made it there this year!  The people were amazing too!

On my last full day in Barcelona I finally managed to get down to the crypt of the Sagrada Familia.  This is the space below the main altar… the first place built and actually started by a different architect.  Antonio Gaudi only came onto the project in its second year, when the space had already been excavated and building begun.  As a result, the crypt, which holds the body of Gaudi… is not fully Gaudi.  He needed to work with what was already there.   The crypt is also home to the neighborhood’s Catholic congregation.  As such, there is no entry fee associated with entrance, but the opening hours are very limited. 

I got to the crypt about a half an hour before a Mass and began to look around.  There was a small group of locals waiting for mass to begin.  One of them was a delightful Spanish great-grandmotherly type.  She immediately “adopted” me and took me on an impromptu tour of HER church.  She did not want me to miss a SINGLE detail of Gaudi’s work!  What a JOY!  This woman did not speak a word of English… she may have been speaking Catalan… but she pointed out details that I never would have noticed on my own.  We sat separately during mass, but afterward she found me again and showed me even more details!  There is an effort underway to elevate Gaudi to Sainthood in the Catholic Church… I’m pretty sure this woman was one of his ardent supporters!

And speaking of amazing Spanish great-grandmothers.  The little great-grandmother artist that I “discovered” selling her artwork on the Ramblas came through with a painting in “my” colors!  I LOVE it!  If I understood her originally (and no, she didn’t speak any English EITHER!), she calls the subject matter “Neptune creating the Mediterranean Sea”.   Okay… it is a NAKED “Neptune”! LOL!  It’s ART!  And I just LOVE it! 

I had met a woman from California one morning in Starbucks… Marianna… and we spent a couple of days touring together.  It was really nice to have a companion for a few days… we had a great time! 

I’m in Salamanca now.  This is a beautiful old city which houses a VERY old University.  I spent much of today… even though it is cold and rainy… wandering the streets of the oldest section of town.  Great architecture in the Plateresque style… which I have googled and am beginning to understand a little… highly detailed work!  And beautiful!  I hope the weather will be a little kinder tomorrow.

In the meantime… Life’s a TRIP!


You can see a slideshow of my Barcelona photos (with captions) at