Saturday, March 10, 2012
This morning we started our day with a tour of Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona. We were able to walk through the museum, read about the history of the club and get a closer look inside the team’s operations. We had access to the dressing room (or locker room as we call it at home) and the media room. We saw all of the trophies won by the club including the World Cup trophy from South Africa in 2010. A fun fact we learned was that all of Spain’s 8 goals in the World Cup tournament were scored by players from FC Barcelona. Of course we ended up in the gift shop and then boarded the bus to head into the city.
Once in the city, the bus left us in front of the Hard Rock Cafe and we all split up into smaller groups to walk around and sightsee. A few of us took the metro system back to the Sagrada Familia for a chance to tour the inside. The cathedral was even more stunning than when we saw it from the outside. The team strolled up and down Las Ramblas and stopped at the fresh market for a look into where the locals might buy their produce, meats and fish. There were some interesting options to say the least. The street vendors and local shops were very happy to see all the tourists ready to spend money!
At 7:00pm we met back in front of the Hard Rock Cafe and headed to the Olympic Port for a team dinner. At 10:00pm we were all stuffed from the food and sleepy from a long day of touring the city, we boarded the bus and headed back to the hotel.
Tonight’s match was a well fought battle between our team and the prestigious, Espanyol. We played in Mataro and had a big crowd of the local club teams watching us. The children were cheering “Go Simmons” and the manager of Espanyol was very gracious towards our team. We had three officials from the Spanish Federation controlling the match. The opponent had 2 players that were very fast and play for the Catalan semi-professional team. Kerianne Acheson served a nice ball across the field from left to right that found Carolyn Berndt waiting inside the penalty area. Berndt stayed composed and scored a great goal to get us on the board. While we dropped the match to Espanyol, it was surely an experience that our team will never forget.
After the match, the locals cooked us an “authentic barbecue” and served us a buffet style dinner right at the field.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
This morning we headed to the vineyard of Codorniu, where cava was first produced. Cava is the Spanish word for champagne that came about when France started suing everyone that was producing the beverage and calling it by the French name. Cava is produced by the same methods as in France. We toured the cellars and saw how they first made cava in 1782. It was all a manual process back then and they produced it bottle by bottle. Nowadays the machinery and technology allows them to work with 840 bottles per pallet. they produce 50 million bottles a season! We rode an electric car through the cellar and tasted two types of cava. one was made with chardonnay and the other with pinot noir.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Tonight we headed to Barcelona to watch the FC Barcelona take on Bayer Leverkusen. This was a quarterfinal match in the UEFA Champions League and possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity as our seats were 5 rows from the pitch!
We headed north of Lloret to a coastal town known as Tossa de Mar. The bus winded its way up another hill where we then walked through the shops and eventually landed at the beach below a castle and a lighthouse. The views were breathtaking and the team used the scenery for MANY photo opportunities. I think we may have a few aspiring models/photographers in the group.