Robin's Adventures

Morocco, Spain, & Portugal
A Picturesque Adventure

Sagrada Familia Exterior Details

Gaudi's plan includes 18 spires, one for each of the twelve apostles and the remaining spires to represent the Virgin Mary, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Jesus. In addition, there are plans for three different facades dealing with the birth of Jesus, the crucifixion of Jesus, and the glory of God.

The nativity facade is very ornate and detailed, while the passion facade is more austere, although no less symbolic in nature. The glory facade, which is intended to be the largest and most comprehensive, just began construction in 2002.

Some of the work Gaudi began on the church was damaged during the Spanish Civil War, which took place between 1936 and 1939, and Japanese artist Etsuro Sotoo made repairs. A close look reveals Japanese features on the faces of his statues. Sotoo also created the 23-foot-tall bronze doors, based on Gaudi's design, which are covered with leaves, flowers, and insects.

Sagrada Familia Interior

In keeping with Gaudi's love of nature as a source of inspiration for his designs, the columns inside the church were made to look like trees in a forest with the light constantly changing as it filtered through the stained-glass windows.

An organ with 1,492 pipes was installed in 2010, but given the massive size and the acoustics of the church there are plans to add additional organs. These organs, which will bring the total number of pipes to 8,000, will have the ability to be played separately or as a single unit from the main organ console.

Buried in the crypt are Jose Maria Bocabella, the man who first conceived the idea of Sagrada Familia and purchased the land for its construction, and Antoni Gaudi, the architect who designed the church.

Cathedral of Barcelona

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, or the Barcelona Cathedral, which was constructed primarily in the 14th century, serves as the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona.

The Gothic style of the church is noteworthy because the roof sports an impressive array of gargoyles. In addition, there is a private cloister which is the home of 13 white geese in honor of Saint Eulalia who was said to be thirteen years old when she was martyred.

La Boqueria

La Boqueria, which is the largest food market in Barcelona, has existed in the same location in some form since 1217. There is a large variety of fresh and prepared foods and many of the market stalls have been in the same family for several generations.

Steve decided to try some of the jamon iberico ham. This ham comes from large black hogs that are free range with a diet that consists mostly of acorns. After the pig is slaughtered, the legs are set in salt for a few weeks and then hung to cure for two to four years. During this time, the fats break down, the meat begins to dry, and chemical changes occur that make the ham very flavorful. Thin slices of ham are cut directly off the leg (with the hoof still attached). Steve said the taste was amazing.

More La Boqueria

We enjoyed wandering through the food stalls and seeing the wonderful assortment of fresh and prepared items. We couldn't help but notice how very different this market was from the marketplaces we had seen in Morocco.

Wind Surf

The rest of our visit to Spain took place aboard the cruise ship Wind Surf. The ship, which is 614 feet long and sports five masts, can achieve speeds up to 17 mph.

Our Stateroom

We stayed in a beautiful bridge suite which had a sitting room and a large walk-in closet.


Mallorca is the largest of several islands off the Mediterranean coast of Spain. The city has some quaint cobblestone streets with colorful buildings that have beautiful window box balconies. In the old Jewish quarter, there are markers along the street, but not much else remains from a time when Jews lived in the city.

In the city hall there were four gigantes, or giant figures which are used for parades and festivals. The two on the right, Tofol and Francinaina, have an interesting history. These characters were first made by artist La Roqueta de Palma in 1904 and were used in festivals until 1936.

Tofol and Francinaina were causalities of the Spanish Civil War at that time and were lost during a visit to Barcelona. The couple was recreated during the 1940s and stood outside the town hall during important festivals. Unfortunately, during a heavy wind this couple was blown over and vandalized. The current pair were created during the 1960s and, along with two musicians that were created during the 1980s, stand in the foyer of the town hall.

Beautiful Old Churches

As we wandered through the city we saw many beautiful old churches. The church of Monti Sion, which was built on top of what was once the main synagogue of Mallorca, was constructed in 1561. The front entrance of the church was an intricately carved doorway with statues of some Jesuit saints and the coat of arms of the church's founder.

The church of Santa Eulalia, which is named after the patron saint of Barcelona, was built in the 13th century. During the period when Mallorca was an independent kingdom, this church was used for the coronation of the nation's kings.

Palma Cathedral

The Palma Cathedral came about because the King of Aragon made a vow to God during a wild storm at sea as he was coming to Mallorca to battle with and expel the Moors from the island. Because the king was successful in his quest, he kept his vow and the construction of the church began in 1229. The cathedral, which was not actually finished until 400 years later, is very large (75,000 square feet) and quite impressive.