Saturday, July 9, 2011

Barça, Barça, Baaarça!

Ah, home sweet home. However far I wander, where ever I may roam...

Because we were on holiday, and because the internet was slow, I didn't get to post much. Since now the most exciting things I have to contend with are a frightening pile of laundry and the sounds of iCarly wafting through the house (also frightening), I will dedicate the next few posts to finishing up my travelogue.

Parc Güell, Barcelona.

Antoni Gaudí originally planned the grounds as a housing development, complete with schools and services. It didn't work out, and instead is now the site of thousands upon thousands of tourists tripping over each other to take photos. It is an unusual and interesting achievement, but I could not ever imagine living here (even without tourists trampling over my front lawn.) It's a bit too visually stimulating.

Parc Güell.

Parc Güell.

Parc Güell.

One of the greatest pleasures of travel, to me, is visiting local grocery stores. Not necessarily markets (which are wonderful in their own way), but places people stop in to buy their weekly needs. I love seeing the different beauty products (chock full of ingredients that would not muster FDA approval) and get downright giddy while perusing snack foods. I came across so many morsels of deliciousness in Barcelona!

Unfortunately, however, I do not eat pork (even in chip form) so did not get to consume these lovelies. America has Ranch flavored, Mexico gets Sal y Limon, and in England I saw Sunday Roast (if I recall correctly). It is amazing to me how you can track a country's essence (flavor-wise) through the flavor of its potato chips!

Camp Nou. Barcelona.

Home of FC Barcelona, Camp Nou is the largest football stadium in Europe. It seats almost 100,000 people. That sounds like a lot, but you don't really realize what that means until you get to stand on the pitch (well, right next to it - barriers prevent you from stepping on that precious grass). It is HUGE. This picture was taken from the stands, because the view was better.

My kids were initially reticent about visiting the stadium, which I had pegged early on as a must-see. When we arrived, however, they were speechless. We all were. It was definitely a highlight of the trip for us. There is a recording of fans cheering and chanting that plays as you walk out, and it really adds to the experience. It's not just for Barça fans, either. Lots of people were wearing jerseys from other clubs. Maybe they wanted to see the home field of the competition.

David Villa Jersey. Camp Nou.

I am a casual football fan, at best. I tend to go for national teams, because keeping up with clubs and leagues is a full-time job. The fact that the US is not exactly soccer mad doesn't help - to find a match you have to troll the upper reaches of your satellite provider's offerings (FIFA, channel 1938402374209) or watch Univison, with commentary in rapid-fire Spanish that I can barely follow. (Their World Cup coverage was hilarious last year, though. They actually would let the camera lovingly pause on attractive female football fans. It was almost like Berlusconi was in charge.)

That said, my only criteria for liking a particular player is a combination of their skill and level of attractiveness (HELLO Diego Forlán!). David Villa has both. He caught my eye last year during the World Cup. His footwork is maddening. Apparently he became ambidextrous after he broke his leg at the age of four.

Chapel. Club Nou.

I love the idea of praying before a game. Do they hold a full mass in here?

Camp Nou.


  1. Excellent post! We went to Barcelona for a few days earlier this year (I also did a post on it) and also visited the football stadium (mandatory with small boys). Must show your pics to my boys. Blightyxx

  2. Hello Maggie:
    All of this really does seem too good to be true. Parc Guell looks to be absolutely fascinating and we should love to see it. The football stadium appeals somewhat less, but from what you say it is obviously in itself a unique experience.

  3. Welcome home, my dear. I love the photo of the chapel, in particular, but they are all a joy to look at.

  4. Those potato chips and things, I think they all have the same ingredients, whatever they may be called. Enough chemicals to create a drugs cartels.

    An interesting mix of sights, I can even understand the fascination with a football stadium.

  5. Blighty - We so enjoyed Barcelona, and I am looking forward to reading your post on it!

    Jane and Lance: The football stadium is truly a must-see, even if you are not a fan of the sport. It was in fact a very unique and thrilling experience, particularly because club is so accomplished. It's kind of a modern museum.

    Suze: Thank you! The chapel was really an unexpected treat.

    Friko: I agree. I think the chips are probably toxic, so I do try to avoid consuming them on any kind of regular basis - but sometimes I can't resist! Although I am not an architect or designer, I love and am drawn to both. Just the scale of the stadium is incredible, a true feat of engineering.

  6. Glad you made it home safely!

    More great pictures. No surprise there. :)

    And count me as another football/soccer fan who doesn't keep up with it as much as I'd like to because it exists so far to the periphery of American culture.

  7. Hektor: Thanks! Perhaps we should start a movement...unless it involves Landon Donovan. :)