Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa Maria del Mar

Hearing the Prague Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform German composer G.F. Handel's Messiah in the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona last weekend was magical. The place was packed with people - everyone dressed to the nines - who had come to hear a Christmas oratorio in the grandiose Gothic church....

 All I could think about was my Pops and how he always blasted that same music (and the a.c.) in his sedan as we drove through the Texas hill country to my grandparents house for Christmas.  

The acoustics were a bit muffled in the massive, high-ceilinged Basilica, but sound quality aside, the Santa Maria del Mar is now one of my favorite places in Barcelona.

Tucked away in the seaside corner of Ciutat Vella (the Old City), to reach the Basilica you must pass through dimly lit, rambling alleyways, dodging herds of people all the while. But upon entering, you are suddenly surrounded by amber light, space expands in all directions, time pauses. You have the sense that you've been shrunk, like Alice in Wonderland, passing into another world.

The tallest of these columns is over 100 feet high.

It's not only me that's been struck by the expansive interior of the building: Santa Maria del Mar is known to have inspired Antoni Gaudi and the arching, tree-like pillars of his architectural masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia.

We haven't actually been inside the Sagrada Familia yet, but when we go we'll report back.


  1. In case you haven't been to the Palau Musica Catalana, you MUST go. Amazing stained glass ceiling best appreciated during daylight hours. And that's only one of the exquisite features. We went twice in the week we were there. Loved the image of you riding in the car with your dad, blasting the Messiah.


  2. I love the blog. Feliz Navidad to you, Ted and your families. I just saw a concert on TV by Pink (Alecia Beth Moore). In addition to having great looks, stage presence and a wonderful malleable voice, she does aerial acrobats on stage with a ribbon/rope. All of which is to say, she reminded me of you.

    Jim Ramsey

  3. I like your new blog entry-- plus I am especially happy not to see the little guy squatting every time I open up Spanish Booots-- which is pretty often!

    Love you.

  4. I thought we only blasted John Denver and the Muppets on our car trips.