The jump from Rwanda to Barcelona was a shocking reminder of the economic gulf between a central African developing country and a mature European nation with centuries of history reflective in great monuments, developed infrastructure, Gothic cathedrals.
The great cathedrals of Europe were born from the desire to bring heaven to earth in the form of magnificent stone edifices that would rise from the earth and rise hundreds of feet, defying gravity by the curving arches and great vaulted ceilings. Once the structural engineering problems were resolved, over 200 cathedrals sprang up across Europe over the course of a century.
Archetypal of Barcelona’s reputation as a center of design is the Sagrada Familia, which is a basilica, not a cathedral. This project continues over 130 years after it was begun, and is expected to take another 25 years to complete. It was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, born in 1852 and who died by being struck by a streetcar in 1926.
The NatGeo tour ended in Barcelona, but we took another couple of days to visit northern Spain (Aviles and Leon) to view architecture and to experience the culinary delights of Asturia.
Having now successfully re-integrated into the routine of life and work in Wisconsin, the Expedition begins to take on a dream-like quality, where recollecting the aspects of the many cultures and places seem more like a fantasy than real. And yet the impressions are indelible and will be with us for a lifetime. Thank you for following this travel log and I wish everyone were able to experience many of the sights and places that are now so valued.