Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar

It is not very often that I read a book first and then visit the city, where the story has taken place. But that was the case with Barcelona. More than the city, I wanted to see the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar – having loved the “Cathedral of the Sea” by Ildefonso Falcones. The most touching parts of the novel revolve around this basilica during the time it was being constructed. During the first visit, I was only able to see it from outside, since the basilica was going to close to prepare for Christmas Eve service. Fair – but I was disappointed. With so much to see in the city, I felt pretty sure I wouldn’t make it back again. I walked around the periphery and carried on…

The western facade of the basilica of Santa Maria del Mar will greet you as you come to the Plaça de Santa Maria. The narrow streets made it difficult to capture the full front facade in a frame - at least with my camera. (Dec. 2014)

The western facade of the basilica of Santa Maria del Mar will greet you as you come to the Plaça de Santa Maria. The narrow streets made it difficult to capture the full front facade in a frame – at least with my camera. (Dec. 2014)

On the last evening, while guiding a couple and their child, I myself followed a different route back to the hotel, not knowing it would bring me to the basilica – now open. Don’t ask me why I would bother to guide others in a city, where I myself am a stranger… But they just seemed so lost and I had a map. Call it chance, luck, miracle, karma – I was overjoyed. I sat inside the basilica for a while in silence – thanking wordlessly the couple who sent me on this path. And then wandered around with flashes from the story of Arnau Estanyol in my head.

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6 replies »

  1. beautiful story and images, thanks for including your inspiration, I am going to add the book to my list! I have enjoyed my time here in Spain visiting all the different Cathedrals, Basilicas and Cloisters, but our time here is done. I will look forward to your blog even more as it is all I will see of Spain for a while. take care.

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