Walking West – Salir

The end is the beginningSantiago de Compostela to Madrid to Barcelona to Atlanta to Austin to San Antonio


One rainy, last walk by the Cathedral.
Santiago Train Station

Madrid Train Station
My only good pic of Sagrada Familia, almost impossible to photograph.
The Marina

Santiago de Compostela – I remained in Santiago for 3 days. It was time well spent catching up with friends arriving on Saturday and Sunday. It is a joyful place!

On Monday morning it was time to start making my way back to San Antonio, so I walked across rainy Santiago to the train station. The first leg of my trip home was from Santiago to Madrid via train.

Madrid – High-speed Rail is my favorite mode of travel. NOTE TO USA: LET’S STEP UP OUR HIGH-SPEED RAIL GAME! My experience and opinion of Madrid was based on my view out the window of the train or taxi. Need to further explore!

Barcelona – My flight was scheduled to leave El Prat on Wednesday, so I had a few hours Monday night and all day Tuesday to see all Barcelona had to offer. I decided on Sagrada Familia, Barceloneta Beach, and a couple of good meals. Foodies might recoil, but both of my evening meals were gourmet burgers 🤷‍♂️. Monday night was at Anauco Hamburgueseria and Tuesday’s burger was at Bocca di Bonifacio. Both were delicious and I have no regrets about my culinary choices.

La Sagrada Familia – I’ll come right out and say it, Sagrada Familia is a mess – busy, different styles, full of surprises, still in progress, and maybe never finished.

I loved it.

And if anything, it is a better symbol of a life of faith than the fantastic cathedrals of the Camino. The Gothic architecture of Burgos and León seem orderly and harsh and a little intimidating, which religion can often be. The Romanesque/Gothic/Baroque style of Santiago is a little different, but still has the orderly religious vibe.

Not so with Sagrada Familia, it seems to have been originally planned, then allowed to evolve into whatever.

“I want a big tower here.”

“Let’s put some spires here, and few more over there.”

“We shouldn’t have built that part…but let’s leave it, it’s a part of it now.”

“We need this here, it doesn’t fit, but we need it.”

Sagrada Familia is a mixed bag – it’s big and beautiful and worth exploring. And that’s what I like about it and that’s why I believe it’s a better faith symbol than the rest.

It’s also just right there in the middle of everything, no courtyards, no plazas, no buffer zones to separate it from the “world.” On two sides, there are parks across the street and the parks are filled with people gawking at the building. On one side, it is a normal block – apartments, cafes, and souvenir shops right across the street. And on the strangest side, a row of American fast food restaurants – McDonald’s, Five Guys, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC – imagine sitting in the shadows of this mysterious building eating a Chicken McNugget, a mysterious food product.

La Sagrada Familia seems to be for the common man.



Barceloneta Beach, to the west.
Barceloneta Beach, to the east.

2 thoughts on “Walking West – Salir

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