Posts Tagged ‘40 things to do before you’re 40’

40 things to do before you’re 40 - Number 28!

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

28. See the Sagrada Familia before it’s finished

Have you ever started a work project, school or University assignment that just seemed to take forever to complete? Well… this one trumps all!

Described as the Bible written in stone, built by ‘God’s architect’ Antoni Gaudi, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain is an important monument in the religious community and is an incredibly amazing architectural masterpiece. As the most visited monument in Spain and the third most valuable monument in Europe, the Sagrada Familia is not only an incredible architectural masterpiece but is a vital part of Spain’s tourism, attracting around 2.8 millions visitors each year.

It’s fair to say that it’s one impressive landmark… and it’s not even complete!

Paid for entirely by public donations, combined with the intricacy of the detail and features, plus a Civil War, it’s no wonder it’s taken over 100 years to build! Construction officially began in 1882 and the acclaimed Gaudi dedicated over 40 years of his life to the structure, which was only a quarter complete at the time of his unfortunate death.

Gaudi was an architect said to be well ahead of his time, introducing a new style of design that had not been seen before. Many of Gaudi’s most famous works can also be found in Barcelona, including the heritage listed Casa Batlló and the Park Güell.

Photo courtesy of

The Church, declared a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2010, has three façades: Nativity, Passion and Glory, each having strong Christian themes.

Nativity: The only façade to be completed by Gaudi, it represents a celebration of the birth of Jesus and is also referred to as the façade of Joy, Life and Christmas.

Passion: As the name suggests, this façade is designed by Gaudi to represent the passion of Jesus, his last days, death, and sacrifice. Facing the west, this part of the Church receives the last sunlight, creating an eerie effect that is well worth watching if given the opportunity.

Glory: Signifying the creation and glory of man, his origins, his problems, the roads he must take and his purpose. Still under construction, this will be the main entrance to the Church when completed.

During the 1936 Spanish Civil War many of Gaudi’s plans and models were destroyed or damaged leaving a difficult job for current architects to piece together information from photographs of the plans. Consequently, there is criticism that the modern construction is of a style dissimilar to Gaudi’s vision. Nevertheless, work continues and the President of the Sagrada Família Trust, Joan Rigol, has announced that the landmark may be entirely complete by 2026, almost 150 years after work began on the site in 1882 and a century after Gaudi’s death.

If you’re one for memorable life experiences, there’s no question that Sagrada Familia should be on your own personal travel list. To go down in history as one of the greatest architectural works, combined with the story behind it’s development and construction, it’s an experience that you will look back on in awe and amazement and be delighted to say, “I’ve been there!”.

Topdeck Top Tip: For visitors to Sagrada Familia, don’t just stop at entering the Church. If given the time, make your way to the incredible tombs below where Gaudi is buried. You can then make your way to the top to enjoy incredible views over Barcelona!

Sagrada Familiar video journey: An incredible video taking you on a journey outside and inside the Sagrada Familia

Virtual Tour: Go on a virtual tour throughout many parts of the Church and get a taste of it’s awesomeness!

40 things to do before you’re 40 - Number 2!

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

2. Visit the Pyramids of Giza

The year is 1310 AD. Italian poet Dante has just completed The Divine Comedy. The University of Cambridge recently turned 100 years old. The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris is nearly finished, showcasing cutting-edge European architecture. But it’s not the tallest building in the world – not even close. So what is?

The Great Pyramid of Giza

For well over 3500 years the 146m high tomb of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu held that title. It’s worth repeating – three thousand five hundred years! Think about it! Popes resign more frequently than that. It’s nearly as long as it feels like to sit through a Twilight movie.

This near-mythical structure is a bonafide jaw-dropper – of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the world, it is the only one which remains.

It sits on the Giza Plateau, adjacent to the Pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure and neighbouring Sphinx, while Cairo’s urban sprawl looms nearby creating a striking juxtaposition of ancient and modern Egypt.

The Pyramids are so vast that you can only discern their huge individual blocks up close – but even modern scholars have struggled to comprehend how the ancient Egyptians managed to build them given the technology at their disposal.

Theories and myths add a rich layer of intrigue to the Pyramids – did Napoleon Bonaparte have a vision of destiny in the King’s Chamber? Are they a reflection of the astronomical Belt of Orion? Were they built by aliens to cover a subterranean city of lizard creatures who will one day rise to become our reptilian overlords? Who knows…

What we do know is that the Great Pyramid and its illustrious siblings are among the most incredible sights in the world. Visit them, gaze at their majesty… and be sure get a photo of yourself ‘walking like an Egyptian’!

Topdeck Top Tip: To get the perfect photo of you kissing the Sphinx or placing a finger on top of a Pyramid, make sure you stay still and get your photographer to move until you’re lined up properly. It’s much easier!

Have you seen the Pyramids of Giza?
Share your favourite Pyramids of Giza or Egypt memories with us!