April 03 2012
Flight to Espana and 1st Day Activities
Our trip to Spain began on Saturday March 31, 2012 with our extremely long flight that was approximately 9 hours non stop from the Atlanta Airport right into Barcelona. The flight itself was gruelling and consisted of terrible candid photos, close quarters and even closer seating, and awkward sleeping positions as we all tried to get some sort of sleep before arriving, which of course, we did not. We arrived in Barcelona around 2 o clock in the morning Georgia time, and 8 o clock in the morning in Spain on Sunday the 1st of April. We gathered all of our luggage and exchanged our money with the help of our charming tour guide, Donnie and met up with our bus driver to head towards the Olympic Stadium! It took us about 40 minutes to get from the airport to the Stadium and when we got there we had about 15 minutes to walk around and take pictures of the stadium. I enjoyed reflecting on the history of the Olympic Stadium and taking pictures and making new memories regarding past history. We took a couple of cool pictures and all loaded back on the bus to go to a park that had a lovely overview of the city, including the docks for cruise ships in the bay. At this park, there was this " real life" statue man that we took a couple of pictures with and we took a picture as a group that overlooked the city. There was also an actual statue of people holding hands that we took a picture with and we hiked up a huge hill to get back to our bus and headed to the next stop, the Camp Nou Stadium, where the Barcelona club sports teams play. These sports teams include field hockey, futbol (soccer), basketball, and rugby, but most importantly for us, the futbol team :]. We had the chance to go into the museam at the stadium and saw all of the trophies that have been won by these sports teams in the past as well as the futbol field, where all of the magic happens ;]. We sat in the stadium seats for a little while, trying not to fall asleep, and reflected on the amaxing games that have been played there as well as the once in a lifetime game that we have the opportunity to see on Tuesday. We have been given the wonderful opportunity of watching the Barcelona club team play FC Milan and we are all so stoked to be going to this game!
After our reflection/nap time, we were slightly rushed out of the stadium because everything closes early on Sundays, as in around 2 o clock in the afternoon. We hurried along back onto the bus and went to find somewhere to eat for lunch. Afterwards, we all passed out on the bus, tour guide included, as we drove about an hour to get to our hotel. We all checked in and had some free time to explore until dinner, and so my group, consisting of Mendi, Kaylan, and myself (Turner), went over to the beach that our hotel overlooks. This beach was unlike any other that I have ever been to because the water was extremely clear, the cliffs around the edges of the beach were absolutely beautiful, and then sand was like thick broken rocks rather than sand, which was different from any other sand I have encountered. We soaked up some rays, people watched, and snapped some photos on the beach as we waited around for dinner to be served. At dinner, there were more awkward candid photos, lots of laughing, and tears shed, happy ones, as we all cut up with one another. Donnie, the tour guide, sat at our table and kept us laughing with his reactions and comments on our jokes and cutting up. As we all finished up dinner, we had a little more free time to explore and so groups of four and five went out to survey the small city in which our hotel resides, which brings us to present time, and my blogging :].
Tomorrow we will be going to visit a winery and playing in our first soccer match again the La Roca women's team, and we are all excited and nervous to see the outcome. However, someone else will have to fill you in on the day's events tomorrow.
Turner Davis, #19
Cava en Espana
Today began bright and early. We all were dressed nicely and enjoyed our first breakfast in Spain. The buffet included a variety of pasties and breads, fried eggs, bacon, and sausage. Some people mistakenly bit into what they thought were going to be French toast, but to their surprise it was fish sticks. Yeah, a strange breakfast item. Then we headed off to the bodega. It was a long bus trip and obviously jet lag had hit us all hard, because every time we got on the bus we slept. I almost fell out of my seat at one time from drifting off. The closer we got to the vineyards the landscape slowly changed. Fields of grape vines began popping up until they could be seen for miles. Finally we reached the bodega were Montse (I think that's how you spell it). She spoke Spanish and Donnie translated for us. We learned about how Montse and her two brothers began the business of making cava five years ago. Cava isn't a wine, nor a champagne, but a sparkling wine. The labor intensive process of grape picking begins in August and lasts until late September. They transport the grapes to a friend's bodega where they smash the grapes and then let them ferment into wine. They then bring it back to their bodega when they place it in a giant metal bin and combine yeast and sugar with it. She then explained to us the entire process (which I won't go into complete detail about, because I could write for days about it). I just loved how you could see how truly passionate she was about her work and how they literally put their heart and soul into making each bottle of cava. Then the good part came where we got to actually taste the cava. We began with a sweeter wine, Amor. She taught us how to properly smell a wine so that we can experience how the different aromas can stimulate different emotions within an individual. Then we got to taste it and she showed us how to breathe in through our mouths while the wine was there. This allowed our palates to really experience each and every taste the cava had to offer. Then we got to taste a second cava, Gran Reserva which was my favorite.
Next we went on another long bus ride to Monserrat, which mean serrated mountain. It is called this because of how jagged it looks. Thankfully we survived the scary bus ride up the side of the mountain. We reached the monastery which was absolutely breath taking, from the views to the architecture. We were able to snap some really amazing photos today. The church we got to go into was grandiose. The high arching ceiling combined with the old gothic type design was beyond words. We even got to touch the black virgin because she is considered very sacred among the people of Spain.
Finally we played our first soccer game against La Roca women's club. Things got a little hostile. I almost knocked this girl out when we both went up to head a ball. We definitely didn't play like we know how to, and I'm just going to leave it at that. Once everything was said and done though, we were able to snap a few pictures with the other team and even laugh a little with them, despite the language barrier.
As this trip progresses, Spain is beginning to have its own little place in my heart. The people, culture, and environment are so unique. The language is beautiful, and now I have the ambition to learn it. Tomorrow will be our first free day and in Spain, and I cannot wait to enjoy it on the beach and shopping.
Cava! Cava! Cava!
Today was incredibly captivating. I've never ever flown on a plane or let's be honest, I've never really been outside of LaGrange so this whole traveling experience has been quite eye opening and interesting. We started out the day by receiving an unusual breakfast that wasn't that terrible and maybe terrible isn't the best word to describe but it is definitely different than the typical American breakfast. We began our second day in Barcelona by visiting Berdie to learn more about the wine process. I've never seen such a beautiful vineyard in my life (or it's because I've never seen one in my life). We were introduced to Cava which is a very popular wine that is made here and you can normally find it in weddings and special occasions. The lady, Montse, who owns the bodega along with her two brothers, showed us the entire process of wine making. She informed us that only her and her other brothers make the wine. The establishment has only been open for cinco anos (five years—look at me using my Spanish) and it is now one of the top rated Cava's in Spain. The whole process of fermentation and learning about the wine was interesting. Ask any of the soccer players what the 3 main ingredients that are used to make cava and everyone will reply (or yell) SUGAR, YEAST, AND WINE!! After Montse showed us the process, we were allowed to try the cava. The first one we tried was called Amor which was okay. There is a story behind the reason the sister and brothers chose to name the cava Amor and it's because amor means love, but their fathers second sur name is mor. So A mor was translated to have two different meanings combined into one name. After visiting the winery, we traveled to a huge mountain to visit the monastery. The monastery was HUGE and the view on top of the mountain was breathtaking. Here, we walked around through different shops and different monastery's. Once we had finished visiting the monastery, we headed to grab some dinner and get ready for our game. I ordered a ham sandwich and it was definitely an acquired taste. Our tour guide told me that when people order sandwiches or different tapas (small foods/finger foods) that they use a tomato sauce, which completely through me off because I was expecting just ham. After we ate we headed to our game. Regardless of the score it was so much fun because just being able to play with a different team from a different country was an awesome opportunity. It's the experience that counts and I met some new amigos!! They're awesome. I love Spain and I am thankful for this opportunity. That's all for now! See you guys when we return!!
Today was a good day. We went to Berdiè to watch the sparkling wine process. Cava, which is a very popular type of wine here, is used for special occasions like weddings and parties. Montse showed us the whole process that herself and her two brothers due all by themselves. This winery is a new establishment and has only been open for five years. In those five years they have gone from a simple winery starting off to one of the top rated cava's in Spain. After the tour we got to taste the cava. The Cava that Montse chose for us was named Amor. This is a play on words, since Amor means love, but their fathers' second sur name is mor. So A mor means for mor in Spanish. After the winery we went to the monastery. This is really cool because of the immense size of it all. It spanned over the whole hill side of the mountain and had cable cars and tram to go up the mountain. We went into the monastery and touched the black virgin. Then we went to where our soccer game was being held. We ate here and got ready to play.
THE BIG GAME!!
Today we started with shopping. We took a walk down the block to local shops mainly in search for some Barca jerseys. Some of the places had some good deals, but we also had to be careful because others would try to rip you off. Rachael can tell you all about it. Just about everyone got a jersey and other Barca gear for the game and haggled a good price for it too.
Later we went took the bus into the city for yet again... more shopping! What do you expect with a group of girls? We went to a mall that was built in an old bull ring. This place was huge! There were five floors and oddly numbered from -3 to 4 without a 3rd floor. The mall had some similar stores as we do back in the U.S. but mainly different ones. One interesting thing that I have never seen in a mall that this one had was a super market. It was a full blown grocery store thrown into a mall. It was hard to speak to people in the mall though with not many knowing English. Usually when I reply in a confused tone in English they give up speaking to me. I was relieved when I had dinner in the mall the guy spoke good English.
After the mall, we headed to the stadium for the Barcelona versus AC Milan quarterfinal game! We were on of the first at the gate ready to squeeze through when they opened. We had seats right at the half line. However, next to our section was the caged in fan section for the AC Milan fans. They were ridiculous! They would throw things over the high net onto the fans below and guards stood guard on the fence separating Barcelona and Milan fans. The game itself was absolutely amazing! We got there early enough to take great pictures with the stadium. We got to witness in person Messi taking on Milan as well as scoring penalty shots to secure a 3-1 win. It was such a rush when a goal was scored and a packed stadium cheered and blew horns wildly. It was such an amazing experience that could never be forgotten.