Wednesday, April 20, 2011


A phobia is defined as " a persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous."

Well, you can reassure us all you want that scaffolding is not dangerous, but Santa Ana and I both avoid it like the plague, even if it means taking the long way around to get where we're going.  So I guess you could say we suffer from scaffoldiphobia (or should that be scaffoldaphobia?).  But our fear isn't entirely unreasonable, and I'll tell you why.

It all started with La Sagrada Familia, which is actually a giant construction site, and it has lots of scaffolding on it.  Yes, that's right, it's still not finished, and it won't be until sometime around 2020.  But it's not the scaffolding on the church that scared us, it was the construction site across the street that did.  A block of flats was being restored and the whole side of the building was covered in scaffolding, but we hardly noticed it next to the majesty of the cathedral.  And, as we stood in line for tickets to get into the basilica, the contruction workers went about their business.  Just another day Barcelona, right?


We were standing in line, minding our own business; Santa Ana was taking photos of one of the facades of the church, and I was getting bumped in the leg with the bag of the girl behind me, who was having a very lively conversation in Russian with the guy next to her.  Suddenly we heard a loud noise, and we turned to see a whole section of the scaffolding collapse and come crashing down to the sidewalk.  One of the workers jumped out of the way just in the nick of time to avoid falling along with the structure, and a huge cloud of dust arose from the rubble.

I didn't take photos right away, first out of shock, and then I wanted to make sure nobody was injured, because it just seemed to be too macabre to photograph something like that.  Guess I'd make a horrible reporter.  But after a few minutes it was clear no one was hurt, and I got these two shots. 

I read later that a couple of the workers were trapped on top of the structure, and they had to be rescued by the fire department, but I guess we missed that while we were inside the church.  It's really lucky that no one happened to be passing underneath at the time, especially considering the number of people in the area, since it was just across the street from La Sagrada Familia.  I've walked underneath scaffolding more times than I can count, but the thought never occurred to me that I might be squashed like a bug if it collapsed.

After that, Santa Ana and I avoided every scaffold we saw (and it turns out that Barcelona is full of them).  Well, except the ones in La Sagrada Familia.  We figured the security measures would probably be better and that it was unlikely that there would be any accidents there, although you never can be too sure of what might happen.  Just last Tuesday some weirdo started a fire inside the church, and everyone inside had to be evacuated.  So, like I said, you never know.

Anyway, we did get to see La Sagrada Familia, nothing fell on us, no one set us on fire, and I must say, it was spectacular.  My photos don't really do it justice, but here are a few.

Passion Facade

Close up of Passion Facade

Close up of Passion Facade

Nativity Facade

Inside the Central Nave

Spiral Staircase

For some reason this made me think of the Great A'Tuin of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series
But the great turtle wasn't the only animal we saw, there were plenty of other critters everywhere we looked:



And by the time our visit was over, we'd almost entirely forgotten the scaffolding incident. But the firemen and the police that were still outside reminded us that ladders aren't the only thing we shouldn't walk under.

We sure won't be trying our luck by passing underneath a scaffold any time soon.


  1. Ahhh.may.zing!!! Photos! Tis on my bucket list to visit Spain. :o)

    Wow... so glad no one was hurt!

  2. In BCN I once had one of those metal bars slam down, like an arrow, point first, into the sidewalk just ahead of me. It glanced off the shoulder of the another man...I avoid the scaffolding here too....

    On another note, I didn't know the central nave was open now! I may have to go 10th visit or something, but I haven't been this year anyway.

    Crazy arsonist, what a nut job.

  3. Thanks for the stunning photographs. Hopefully, I'll be able to see La Sagrada Familia one day in person.

  4. I had the exact same thought when I saw the turtle photo! I'm glad to know I am not alone in my book geekiness. :)

  5. I am a new guy! I like here!

  6. UnSoccerMom: I hope you do get the chance someday, it is absolutely photos really don't do it justice.

    oreneta: That was the first time I've ever seen anything go wrong with scaffolding in the nearly twenty years I've been here, and we have a lot of it around here as well, so I'd never given it much thought. But now I'll be avoiding it. And La Sagrada Familia, I just loved it, so much that I'm going back next week with the whole family. :)

    Asha: Glad you liked it, it was the best I could get out of Catgirl's point-and-shoot. And I hope you do get to go someday. :)

    Wanda: Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. :)

    Bud: That was just the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw it, I'm a total Terry Pratchett nut. :D

  7. Glad you're safe. Who would eff my mind with weird photos if something did?! But yeah, you wouldn't last a day as a reporter. These things get to youtube before you can say, "OMG!" :))

    Fabulous photos of the church, though. Love the lip-locking statues. Are you sure you were in a church called La SAGRADA Familia? Haha!

  8. Wow. That is the most amazing church I've ever seen! Just amazing. Quite beautiful, and I LOVE the snails!

    "For some reason this made me think of the Great A'Tuin of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series "

    Of course it did! LOL!

    But there you go. Clearly scaffolding IS dangerous so it can't be a phobia that you both have, merely a good sense of self-preservation. ;)

  9. Nice posting am in the field. I happy to say this you are good to update your blog keep it up. All the best for your all project in success manner…