Thursday, November 11, 2010


Yesterday's Wordless (almost!) Wednesday post referred to our 2009 family vacation to Europe. We bravely took an 11-month old child with us. Despite getting blasted on websites like for our irresponsible parenting and lack of concern for other travelers' happiness (thank you, jerks), we never considered leaving her home. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience we could not pass up. For us, leaving our baby girl at home was not an option.
While in Barcelona, we visited the enormous, creative, and absolutely amazing Sagrada Familia cathedral. This cathedral has been under construction since the late 1800s!

Anyone could stare at this building for hours and still miss some of the details. Words, sculpture depicting bible stories, symbolic icons, and elegant (sometimes gaudy) embellishments adorn the entire structure.
Always a sucker for a fabulous view, my husband convinced us to take the elevator up to the top. I did not want to go.

Eventually I caved, knowing he desperately wanted some photos from the top. So the whole family (11 of us) waited in line, paid our Euros, stored the stroller in their special area, and boarded the elevator. The small, dark, slightly frightening elevator.

I began to wonder what the heck we were thinking.

As we ascended 215+ feet, the elevator operator informed us that the only way down was via stairs. Stairs?!?! With an 11-month old baby? I asked him if he could make an exception because of the baby.

He said no.

I began to sweat nervously.

As we exited the elevator, we were greeted with... darkness. And concrete. And the most narrow corridors I have ever seen.

Sure we got a few moments of sunny views:

but for the most part, we wound through dizzying, dark narrow spiral stairs. Often we met people coming the other way (crazies, obviously), and had to squish aside or find a wider area so they could pass. I could not fathom how this tourist attraction could be so unsafe - can you imagine the lawsuit waiting to happen?

So there we were, stuck hundreds of feet in the air, in a very dark, narrow, and scary concrete section of a spooky cathedral. My husband was carrying Amelia, at the same time trying to see in the dark and keep proper footing.

I was shaking. I was nearly crying. I couldn't believe that I let this situation happen with my precious baby girl. After many minutes of down, down, down with no new light or elbow room to be seen, I was close to a panic attack. I implored Steve to be slow and steady, and left him in the dust. I had to get out of that building - fast!

Finally, I began to see light. The stairs began to widen. And I came upon a metal door.

I was out!

I took a minute to breathe and gain my composure, then whipped out the camera and waited by the door:

Can you see the joy on their faces?!?!

We were all SO GLAD to be out of that horrible experience! Next time, I think I'll hang out in the gift shop while my dear husband gets his photos.

By the way, this is how excited Amelia was about the whole adventure:

Apparently, she fell asleep before getting even halfway down!
(If you happen to visit sometime, I ldid read - after our horrifying experience - that the front elevator at Sagrada Familia goes up and down for visitors. We thought we were being savvy by going around back to the shorter line. Oooooops.)


Jumping back on board with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop this week. Today I chose prompt #1:  Describe a moment when you ignored your intuition. What happened.


Domestic Goddess Mommy said...Best Blogger Tips

That sounds terribly scary. I see joy and relief on their faces! Yes, when it comes to your baby, listen to your intuition! I chose the same prompt.

iseeyoulookingatme said...Best Blogger Tips

I understand your fright. I would have been terrified by horrible falling images, and my poor girl HURT! Next time, SHOP. It will be more gratifying. Great picture of joy though!

CrazyLittleB_tch said...Best Blogger Tips

Pretty, sleepy baby! She didn't even realize your stress level was through the roof.
Oh, to be young and stress free.

Liz said...Best Blogger Tips

The only way I could possibly imagine this scenario to be even worse would be if she was screaming her head off for your descent!

How nerve-wracking!

Jackie said...Best Blogger Tips

That's scary!!!

I remember when me, my sister and aunt visited St. Peter's Basilica and had to climb up to the dome. That was a LONG way up, and there was no elevator! It was HOT, and really crowded in the stairway. My sister kept complaining about how hot she was, but we kept going thinking we were almost there. Once we reached the top and were outside, my sister fainted. Nothing worse than being told the only way down was by those stairs again.

Morgan B. said...Best Blogger Tips

Lol! The looks on your faces! You did such a great job at describing how claustrophobic the staircase was. It actually made me sick to my stomach. It a good way. I guess. :) Thanks for linking up!

Galit Breen said...Best Blogger Tips

So scary, so brave, and so adventurous!

I adore the photos that you shared, too!

Mommy Shorts said...Best Blogger Tips

I have been in those creepy stairs— I can't believe you braved them carrying an 11mo! And kudos for taking your kid on the trip. We left ours at home because we thought she'd make it hard for us to have fun— not because we gave a crap about other travelers!

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