Imposing view of the Nativity façade

The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is the most well-known work of the celebrated Spanish architect, Gaudi. Although first designed by Francisco del Villar in 1882, this tenure only lasted two years and it was Gaudi who brought the dream of ‘building a monumental temple to the Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family) to fruition. Gaudi was only 33 (1883) when he was commissioned to take the work from the crypt stage to the end product. Gaudi’s wish was to design and construct the ideal Christian temple, dedicated to the Holy Family.

Gaudi’s great skill was in thinking three-dimensionally. He visualised his creations and then created models before committing them to plans. The three models of the Sagrada Familia were destroyed by fire in 1938 during anti-Church riots but painstakingly put together again after the War. They exist to-day and are still used yb the architects who are completing the building – another 30 years to go, they estimate!

Antoni Gaudi died on 10 June 1926 totally immersed and obsessed with the project that he even lived within the construction area. He died after being run over by a tram on his way to daily Confession. The passers by did not recognise him, taking him to be a tramp due to his dishevelled appearance. It was only eventually when he was taken to a hospital that he was recognised but then it was too late. In total, eight architects have overseen the construction. The Churh is financed entiroely by private donations and entrance fees.

A close up of the Nativity Façade – note that Gaudi used the inspiration of nature in the form of trees as pillars

Colourful baskets of fruit serves to symbolise the richness of family life

Atmospheric street off the Avenuda Diagonal, Barçelona

Strolling through a market in Barçelona

Right next door to the Middleton’s village of Bucklebury in Berkshire is Pangbourne. The local ub is fully into the vibe.

Two rather endearing images from our London stroll. Pics you won’t see on TV!

A rather youthful (and small) member of the Household Cavalry is sandwiched between two visiting American toursits

Even Queen Victoria's pond is getting the vacuuming treatment

Here’s a snap from London Town. Yesterday we decided to do the ‘Wedding thing’ and took the train from Pangbourne after a short trip past the Middleton’s house in Bucklebury, stood alongside the paparazzi, visited their local Pub,saw the Butcher’s shop (he’s going to the Wedding) and then started at Westminster, did Parliament Street (Whitehall), Trafalgar Square, The Mall, t James’ Park and then back to the Horse Guards Parade.

The flavour………

The Old Boot Inn in Stanford Dingley - a favourite of Wills and Kate

The Bladebone Butchery in Bucklebury - shopping haunt of the Middletons

Chez Middleton

Some of the paps outside the Middleton residence

TV studios being set up outside Westminster Abbey

The Royal Standard flies proudly from the tower at Westminster Abbey

TV2 from Norway interview one of the paparazzi outside Clarence House

Happy Campers outside the Abbey

The Mall gets ready fro the procession

Part of the 64 TV studio set up around the Queen Victoria statue outside Buckingham Palace

Nabbed in a cafe in Coullioure

Cable car tower over the Barçelona harbour

Our disappointment with paella has been well covered. However, when it comes to Tapas in Barçelona, don’t tarry and go to a restaurant. Go straight to the indoor Market off Las Rambla. We sidled up to the counter to be greeted by a disdainful Antonio. All attitude and cool. It was only after watching him at work that we recovered our respect and realised that in this case, first impressions were not lasting.

Antonio and his two mates served and cooked and poured at a rapid rate. As usual, the pictures tell the story:

Antonio in full cry

Calamari!

Mushrooms etc

The most delicious ham you'll ever taste

Those mushrooms prior to the grill

Display of crabs and razor clams

Prawns and cockles display

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