Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Guess Who's Back? Part II - Barcelona

So, after two plus days in Paris, we hopped a plane to Barcelona. Why only two days in Paris you say? Well, we had tickets to see Muse play in the Palau San Jordi, which necessitated going a day earlier than we originally intended. How could we pass up that opportunity? BUT, the Muse concert got moved to a different date because somehow Barcelona had forgotten that they had to host the Davis Cup in the same venue until two weeks before the concert. #56 on the Things That Would Never Happen In America list right after "closing businesses for three hours in the middle of the day." I at least got a refund and we had an extra night in Barcelona, which turned out to be great.

Before anything else, I need to address what is in my opinion the most impressive man made structure that is in existence - La Sagrada Familia. I'll put a bunch of pictures up on facebook about this (soon I promise) but here are a couple. This building has been under construction for over 100 years now and is expected to be completed in 2030. It was designed by Antoni Gaudi and if you ever make it to Barcelona, you MUST go here and learn about this guy. What a visionary. It's 100% safe to say that nothing will ever be built like this again.

Later that same day (it was a long day), we went across town to the the Parc Guell. This beautiful park sits on a huge hill overlooking the city, was designed by Gaudi and contains his former home, which they try to charge you 5 euros to enter. We obviously skipped that. This lizard guy is pretty famous and was his creation as well. Carrie and I snuck in to get a picture in between the hordes of AWC's found here.

The gothic quarter in Barcelona is fantastic. Probably one of the more fun areas to walk around/hang out/eat/drink/shop you'll find. Our hotel was here, which was nice so we got to do all of the above. Since we couldn't eat dinner until at least 10:00 pm lest we give ourselves away as rookie American tourists, we had to knock out a couple drinks in the room while getting ready followed by tapas and some more drinks. We came across this place but didn't go in. A cocktail orgasm just sounded a little bit intimidating, or more likely super fruity and sugary and disgusting.

One of the most fun things that happened while we were in Barcelona was Barcelona playing against Real Madrid on Saturday night. For anyone who doesn't immediately get it, this was a super huge deal. Very much like if it were Red Sox-Yankees in the playoffs. The bars were all packed. This is a local establishment shortly after kickoff. Notice all the heads turned in the same direction. There was no socializing, there was no serving of food or drink, there was just pure focus on the game. This doesn't happen for any sport in America.

When something good happened, you heard cheering all over the streets and by something good, I don't even mean a goal. When a goal finally did happen though, people went bananas. Cars on the street were honking everywhere, the town just erupted. A really cool thing to be a part of. It was like when the Sox won the world series after an 88 year drought in 2004, except this was a single goal in a regular season soccer game. Amazing. As important as this game was to these people, hardly any bars had the game on - I'd say about 1 out of 10. Yet, every one who did was overflowing with people out the door. Those who didn't were empty. This became reason #13 why Spain doesn't make money and has 30% unemployment. It just didn't make any sense. We eventually made our way to an excellent old-school tapas bar we read about in a guide that is a little off the beaten path and we were able to eventually get a sight line to a tv inside the bar from the outside for the last 15 minutes of the game.

Barcelona ended up winning the game by that 1-0 score, which caused another huge eruption akin to if Jesus had just returned to Earth. I caught this video of the celebration after the game had been over for about 20 minutes and we were finally able to get inside. It got cut off at the very end unfortunately, but the last Barca (with a soft c like "facade," but we don't have that little squiggly c key on our computers in America) goes something like BaaaaaaarccAAAA! This is a compete version of the song including the claps (my favorite part aside from BaaaaarcAAA), which I have determined rivals even my love for the Buckeye Battle Cry. I love it because it's basically like a national anthem, except one that's way better than ours and it's for a sports team. It could also be a song played during a parade celebrating a Stalin-ist Russia victory over some poor sap pining for capitalism in Eastern Europe, which would be appropriate since the Catalan people are notorious socialists. Final verdict - I absolutely adored Barcelona and was ambivalent to Madrid even before going there because I was a Barcelona fan and you surely can't like both teams! Barca, Barca, BaaaaaarcAA!!!!!

Song of the Day:

Mocedades - Eres tu

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