Sunday, April 20, 2014

Adventures of a Soccer mom: Barcelona Day 1 - crazy long and crazy busy!

As I write this it is 3:29 am EST or 9:29 am Barcelona time.  It's Easter morning.  Happy Easter! 

Day 1 in Barcelona was a crazy long, crazy busy day. 

It began with our arrival at the Barcelona airport just a few minutes late, despite our nearly hour late departure from PHL.  Most of us on precious little sleep and several of the kids on no sleep. They were flying on pure adrenaline and excitement.  We made our way through customs, fetched our luggage, and met our guide.  The kids were absolutely thrilled to find a luxury coach bus with "Celtic FC Bolts"  on it.  They were traveling in style on their own private bus!  They quickly assembled in the back of the bus while the parents chose the front. 

We had about a half hour bus ride to our hotel.  It took several hours for us all to check in.  We stowed our luggage in the coach's room since his was the only one ready and we took a walk around the block.  This could be dangerous.  There is a pastry shop every 3rd store front!  All displaying their treats for Easter.  We found a toasted ham and cheese sammich for the boy and a chocolate muffin.  We hung out in the hotel lobby.  The boys were entertained since there was a foosball table!  Finally, about 1:20 pm local time we were able to get into our hotel room.  We had 10 minutes before we had to be re-assembled for our afternoon tour.

Lo and behold, another private bus complete with our own personal tour guide.  These boys have no idea how lucky they are!  We had our own 'hop on hop off' style tour of the city.  It was a great way to get oriented.  The city is absolutely beautiful and incredibly clean, at least the areas we saw.  Even ordinary buildings have amazing architecture. 

The highlight of the trip for the parents was La Sagrada Familia.  An absolutely stunning work of architecture, still in process.  We only saw the outside.  The line to get inside was probably close to a 2 hour wait.  We also stopped at Montjuc for a spectacular view of the city and the Olympic stadium, where there was a rugby match going on.  Let me tell you, these people take their sports very seriously.  Nearly every spectator was decked out, and I mean head to toe, in support of their team. 

The highlight of the trip for the boys was Futbol Mania.  As one might expect from the name, it was a ginormous store dedicated to soccer all over the world.  The boys were over the top.  Disneyland for soccer!  We walked out many euros poorer with 3 official soccer jerseys, two complete with the names/number of their favorite player. 

We then headed back to our hotel and immediately had dinner.  We were starving!  We were served pasta and bread and bottled water which was devoured.  We thought that was it (and were sad, because it wasn't enough for these hungry boys, let alone their hungry parents) but then we also got second dinner!  Chicken and fries.  Followed by an amazing strawberry and vanilla ice cream dessert.  Dinner was overall, average, but it was quick and easy and we were so hungry, I don't think anyone cared! 

As soon as dinner was done, we walked a mile or two to the Camp Nou Mini Stadium to watch the Barcelona B team play Girona.  It was like going to a Revs game except these guys played futbol!  The stadium was barely 1/3 full but the spirit was strong.  Flags waving, drums pounding, fans chanting and cheering.  Animated players.  The boys who were able to stay awake had a blast.  A few were dozing on and off and few outright passed out they were so exhausted.  The parents were having a hard time staying awake, too.  It was a gorgeous evening, albeit a bit cool and breezy.   After the game we walked back to our hotel.  It was about 9 pm.  Small boy was asleep 2 min after his head hit the pillow.  I was not far behind him. 

The hotel is OK.  Our room is nice by European standards.  Small but neat.  The floor could stand to be washed.  The beds are not comfortable but we were so tired we didn't care.  We are on the second floor.  It was loud and noisy until about 1 am so sleep was on and off for me.

Thank heavens breakfast wasn't until 10 am this morning.  We woke, reluctantly, at 8 am.  The shower is not working so we took tub baths.  Not the worst thing in the world, honestly.  We are now dressed and ready for day 2!  A walking tour of Las Ramblas and we're seeing Barca play tonight!!!! 

Easter in Barcelona! 

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