Plenty of Gaudi art & a bit of futbol

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Day 3: Barcelona

After a late night last night we awoke as early as we could (which was far from the 5:30 that I would normally be waking and his 6am), had our breakfast which consisted of oatmeal packets that we brought from home and some Oats and Honey granola bars in the cafeteria. More to schlepp, yes, but definitely helps us to keep the cost down of some things for awhile and makes the trip more economical…especially when you just have to spend 7Euro to jump around in a bubble for 7 minutes, right? We finished breakfast and hopped the metro out to the Camp Nou futbol stadium where the Barcelona futbol club plays. You should have seen the look on Mathew’s face when he saw it up close for the first time; like a little kid in the candy store or one who looks up and sees Mickey Mouse for the first time at Disneyworld. We took the full tour of this stadium which for those who are not huge soccer fans, I think that the Real Madrid one was better. That may be because the museum was included in the stadium tour of that one and this one they were separate. The stadium was huge; could hold over 100,000 people at a time and for a girl who’s used to maybe a baseball stadium every few years…well, that’s just ridiculously big! We toured the stadium; the lower part, the middle, the upper, the press box, the press room, the small chapel inside; the tunnel where the players walk out and the pitch itself fully equipped with the little man on the big giant lawn mower that makes Erin’s push mower look, well…let’s just say super little. You thought Rob thought your lawn took a long time…this one would take you months just for a once around and a trim! Then onto the museum which held, like the Real Madrid one, jerseys, trophies and information on the history of the creator of the team, the players and the stadium itself, not to mention a collection of antique “foosball“ tables. Before we left we asked one of the workers “como se dice mes que un club en ingles?” which for the non-Spanish speakers means how do you say the logo of the club in English…we soon found out it meant “more than just a club” which we both felt had great meaning & significance to a club who gave their soul shirt-front sponsorship and advertising rights to UNICEF! We ended, as we said the other day, as all good tours do in the gift shop and kept ourselves busy in there for quite awhile leaving with a pair of playing shorts and a magnet and millions of pictures and memories.
After the stadium, we took the Metro to La Sagrada Familia, the church constructed and designed by Gaudi himself that has been left unfinished and is presently in repair. To me it looks just like a kids sand castle when you take the water and make turretts on the top but it is completely amazing to see in person with all the intricate sculpting and craftsmanship on the outside. That definitely took longer than even the most detailed sand castle on the beach! Mathew went inside to take some photos as I relaxed in the park across the street and inevitably fell asleep for a few winks…and of course when my husband found me he was compelled to take a photo…again! We finished our visit to Gaudi’s creation there and jumped on the metro to Park Guell otherwise known as Gaudi Park. We climbed more steps than the day we went to the Ten Thousand Buddhas in Hong Kong and took outside escalators similar to those in Hong Kong (although Mathew took the stairs on principle many times and was racking up steps on his pedometer like there was no tomorrow) and finally arrived at the top. (who said you couldn’t hike in flip flops!) We hiked through the park for awhile and took some photots of great views of the sculptures in the park and the skyline of Barcelona and then headed to the part of the park that is considered the house of Gaudi and the museum. This was packed with people; and a part of which finally reminded me that I had been there over 10 years ago when I graduated from Brandeis (but our trip was complete with rain and we didn’t make it to most of the park) and the area was filled with flashbulbs and tourists. We trolled through the art and sculptures for awhile in awe of the beauty and the hours of hard work that they entailed and decided that since we had basically had our oatmeal and two spare bars on the train (that were not part of the Higgin’s first aid pack but made an appearance anyway) our tummies were rumbling and we needed some sustenance.
At this point it was after 5:30pm (our parents wouldn’t be so proud of our nutrition today, but we did get a lot accomplished and one Contiki type day in 3 isn’t bad; well at least for us it’s not) so we headed back to the Placa Catalunya and Las Ramblas for dinner. We journeyed through the throngs of tourists and street performers; many of whom were the same as yesterday and watched our pockets as Las Ramblas is known for people with sticky fingers and finally ended up at Pita House for dinner. After a bucket of beer for the boy {Mat note: like those found at the Haufbrauhaus beer hall in Munich, Germany) and a bucket of iced tea for the girl; a few delicious tapas and paella round dos (unfortunately not as good as yesterdays-but carbs well deserved after a day of over 30,000 steps and dinner that took place at 7pm) we were just knackered! We hit the market again for some fruit salad for dinner (two small ones for 1.50 Euro-a bargain at any price); some sweets to keep up happy and made our way back to the hotel for the night…via a tobacco shop which is the only place it seems one can purchase post card stamps for their friends oversees.
Tomorrow…LA PLAYA!

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