In 1883, the brilliant Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudí agreed to take on the Sagrada Familia project, succeeding Francisco de Paula. Gaudí worked on it until his accidental death in 1926. He made fundamental changes to the initial Neo-gothic design by conserving the original layout and imprinting his own personal distinctive El Modernisme style on the building. He finished only the chapel of San José, the crypt and the door of El Nacimiento and left plans for the future construction. Work still continues today according to Gaudi’s vision, which is mainly funded by visitor donations.
The church has a basilical ground plan and five naves, the central one rising to a height of 45 m and the side ones to 29 m. The central nave and side naves are supported by a system of columns which is completely new in the history of architecture. In the eyes of the observer, the interior looks like a forest of trees with beautiful alignments, of which we can see the trunk, the branches and a cluster of leaves. In this forest of columns, the light filtered through the windows will give a bucolic appearance and give a feeling of undergrowth. Source: Sagrada Familia
With 77 climbs, the Tourmalet is the most frequently visited pass on the Tour de France but it is also, at 2,115 metres high, one of the race summits with the 4th highest stage finish in 1974 (victory by Jean-Pierre Danguillaume) and in 2010 (Andy Schleck). Well known by shepherds, pilgrims or merchants, the pass means “bad detour” and it earned a bit of fame in 1675 when King Louis XIV’s mistress Madame de Maintenon went up it in a Sedan chair. The road between Luz and Bareges being flooded, the marquise and the Duke of Maine, the king’s son, were forced to travel across the mountain. Madame de Maintenon was the one who called the spa town where she spent the summer Bareges as it was called Bourg des Bains at the time. The road was widened under Napoleon III and became the Thermal Road in 1864. The Tour de France finally made the Tourmalet’s reputation. Climbed for the first time in 1910, it crowned Octave Lapize and then all the legends of the sport. From Ste Marie de Campan, the climb is 16.3-kms long with a percentage of 7.2 pc. At the top, a plaque pays homage to former Tour director Jacques Goddet. It was joined in 2010 by a plaque to honour Octave Lapize. Source: letour
The Ruta del Cares in Spain is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Parque Nacional Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe). It links the village of Caín in León with the Asturian town of Poncebos. The trail follows the 1.5 km deep Cares Gorge (Garganta del Cares) which divides the (central) Urrieles and (western) Picos de Cornión massifs high above the river Cares Divine. Some of the water in the Cares river is diverted through a canal for hydroelectric power generation at Camarmeña. The access path cut into the wall of the limestone gorge in the early 1900s for canal maintenance provides a spectacular walk.
Finisterre (Fisterra in Galician) was both the end of the known world until Columbus altered things and the final destination of many of the pilgrims who made the journey to Santiago in past centuries. There are various explanations as to how this continuation came about (one such is that is was based on a pre-Christian route to the pagan temple of Ara Solis in Finisterre, erected to honour the sun) but is it also known that a pilgrim infrastructure existed with hospitals. The route starts from the Cathedral in Santiago and leads in a fairly straight line through the mountains via Negreira, Cée and Corcubión to the port of Finisterre and then on to the lighthouse (89km). It is possible to walk this in three (long, tiring) days but four are preferred, with an extra day for the (recommended) extension to Muxía. Source: The Confraternity of Saint James
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
Jewelry & Gifts
Casa do Canizo Tiles
Jaana’s Tan Lines at Fisterra
The Roman-Catholic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain is the reputed burial place of Saint James the Greater, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. Saint James was beheaded in Jerusalem by King Herod Agrippa I in 44 AD. In the tradition that apostles were buried where they preached, it is said that Saint James’ remains were returned miraculously by sea in an unattended boat to the coast of northwest Iberia and brought inland to be buried at Santiago. In the 9th century, his tomb was ‘discovered’ in a small shrine at the current site and so he was adopted as the patron saint of the Christian Galician and Asturian kingdoms of northern Spain who were attempting to reconquer the Muslim dominated Iberian Peninsula.
The fame of the tomb of St James, protector of Christendom against the menace of Islam, quickly spread across western Europe and it became a place of pilgrimage, comparable with Jerusalem and Rome. By the beginning of the 10th century pilgrims were coming to Spain on the French routes from Tours, Limoges, and Le Puy, and facilities for their bodily and spiritual welfare began to be endowed along what gradually became recognized as the formal pilgrimage route, whilst in Compostela itself a magnificent new basilica was built to house the relics of the apostle, along with other installations – churches, chapels, hospices, and hospitals. Source: UNESCO
Today, tens of thousands of pilgrims set out each year from their front doorstep, or popular starting points across Europe, and follow scallop shells on foot, bicycle or donkey to the tomb of Saint James at Santiago de Compostela. The scallop shell, which can be found washed up on the shores of Galicia, has long been the symbol of the Camino de Santiago due to the metaphorical relationship of the grooves in the shell with the various routes pilgrims travels across Europe to eventually arrive at the same destination. Interestingly, not all pilgrims are Christians – many complete the journey for personal reasons, all of which is covered in the brilliant film “The Way”.