My Wild Day at La Sagrada Familia (The Church of the Holy Family)

If you're not familiar with La Sagrada Familia, then you're wrong. Just kidding, but you're seriously missing out. La Sagrada Familia is widely regarded as one of the largest (when it's finished) and most beautiful churches in the world. That's right, the world.

Unfortunately, as I just pointed out, it's not finished yet. However, a 60-minute documentary informed me it will be in about 13 years or so, give or take a few more architectural issues in interpreting brilliant architect Antoni Gaudí's designs.

While I'm not trying to give you a complete history lesson here, even though I could because I love history but realize that a lot of my readers give zero shits, allow me to give you some background. You see, Antoni Gaudí was a/the most brilliant architect in Barcelona (also debatably in Spain and the entire world) and was a genius whose style was at least a century before his time.

He was obsessed with nature and had a deep Biblical connection to the world around him. La Sagrada Familia, the famous church you've probably seen in photos when googling Barcelona, is his masterpiece, even though he knew there was no chance it would be finished in his lifetime.

Still more tragic, his life was cut short when he was hit while crossing the street. He was dressed simply because he only cared about the church in the final years of his life. Thus, he was mistaken for a homeless man and the driver that hit him left him on the side of the road to die. He was later found and recognized as the brilliant architect, taken to a hospital for the poor and died there a few days later.

There's a shit-ton more I could tell you about the church and Gaudí but you guys aren't here for that. You're here to find out what inevitably went down when I was visiting said church. Of course something had to happen, it's just my luck that I happened to be in the right place at the right time in this instance. But, let's break things up with our first photo of the iconic outside of the church for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about:

This is called the "Birthing Facade" and depicts the birth of Jesus. The facade on the other side, which you might think looks similar because of the towers, actually depicts Jesus' crucifixion and death. Gaudí only lived to see part of this facade completed. The other facade is much newer. Photo by Max Siskind.

This is called the "Birthing Facade" and depicts the birth of Jesus. The facade on the other side, which you might think looks similar because of the towers, actually depicts Jesus' crucifixion and death. Gaudí only lived to see part of this facade completed. The other facade is much newer. Photo by Max Siskind.

I had my audio tour headset in and dangling around my neck along with my Nikon D3200 to snap every single angle I could see. I was basically strangling myself because all the straps and cords were completely tangled. But remember, I did this all for you guys, so it's basically your fault. By association, you almost strangled me. Thanks. 

Also, I looked like the biggest dork/tourist ever. None of my newly acquired abroad friends wanted to be seen with me. And that's ok guys, I forgive you. I'm just kidding, they all looked exactly like I did, minus the bulky camera.

As it turns out though, I still took some dope-ass photos that I would love to share with you. The problem is, I took over 300. Sorry, I'm not sorry. Lucky for you, I was able to narrow it down a little bit to give you guys an accurate impression of one of, if not the, most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life so far. Let's break this up with one more photo before I tell you the crazy story of my day:

One of the first photos I took of the inside of the church. Gaudí wanted the main columns to resemble trees to make worshipers feel like they were praying in a forest. That's where he believed man was closest to God. Photo by Max Siskind.

One of the first photos I took of the inside of the church. Gaudí wanted the main columns to resemble trees to make worshipers feel like they were praying in a forest. That's where he believed man was closest to God. Photo by Max Siskind.

Ok, so now that you've got a little taste of what I saw, let me tell you what really happened that awakened the journalist within me. You see, as I was walking around the interior of the church, completely awestruck and in a daze, something nuts went down.

A man, shirtless, jumped the velvet ropes surrounding the main seating area of the church, where people sit to pray and reflect. The man proceeded to sprint up the aisle and he jumped onto the main alter of the church.

That's right, the same place where Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and declared the church a basilica back in 2010. The man then got into his best "paint-me-like-one-of-your-french-models" pose on top of the alter.

The man was then immediately tackled by security and police, covered up and escorted out. I snapped a few photos of the aftermath that I'll share with you, but they're blurry because they were yelling at people with cameras and I didn't want to end up in a Spanish prison, so enjoy:

The man being tackled and apprehended. Photo by Max Siskind.

The man being tackled and apprehended. Photo by Max Siskind.

The man being carried out by police and security. Photo by Max Siskind.

The man being carried out by police and security. Photo by Max Siskind.

They took the man to this area by the "Death Facade" entrance to the church and roped off the area like so. Photo by Max Siskind.

They took the man to this area by the "Death Facade" entrance to the church and roped off the area like so. Photo by Max Siskind.

They told everyone to leave that area, so I went back inside the church, went around the side and there was a door with some windows. I looked through and snapped this shot. Shortly after, they placed a bunch of black tarps around that area and added more security around that area and the whole building. Photo by Max Siskind.

They told everyone to leave that area, so I went back inside the church, went around the side and there was a door with some windows. I looked through and snapped this shot. Shortly after, they placed a bunch of black tarps around that area and added more security around that area and the whole building. Photo by Max Siskind.

Shortly after that incident, life in the church returned to normal. I slipped back into my awestruck mode, snapped about 100 more photos and then we proceeded onto our tower tour. If you're coming to Barcelona and want to see La Sagrada Familia, I extremely recommend you go into one of the towers, it is one of the best parts.

Proof that going up the towers is the bomb.com. You can see all the way to the mountains...

Proof that going up the towers is the bomb.com. You can see all the way to the mountains...

...and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Photos by Max Siskind.

...and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Photos by Max Siskind.

While the spiral staircase down is a bitch and a half, the elevator up is nice, you get to see those awesome views I just showed you and it only adds about 2 euros or so to your visit. Which, by the way, is very reasonably priced.

If you say you're a student on the La Sagarada Familia website, it should run you about 20 euros for the audio tour, entrance to the main church and a visit up one of the towers. Not too shabby if you ask me.

I'm glad I could share this with all of you and I hope it inspires you to see this incredible work of art/architecture. While I'm not Christian, I still apprecited how the church tells the story of the Bible in each and every ornamental detail.

Even though a lot of Gaudí's original molds that he left as a guide to future generations were destroyed in the Spanish Civil War, I like to think that the current architects and designers are fulfilling his legacy in the way that he wanted most.

Let's finish things up with a slideshow of more of the good photos that I have from my visit a little over a week ago. If you want to see more, make sure you click the "Contact" tab, send me a shout on Twitter or Instagram, or email me at studyabeard@gmail.com. I'll be sure to get back to you as soon as I can.