So Much to do, So Litte Time
“So much to do, so little time”. This expression is the definition of traveling, it’s exciting, it’s a lot of fun and it’s definitely exhausting. Yet no matter how much you can fit in your schedule while traveling, the more you realize that you want to do. It’s an endless circle, but it keeps us buying those plane tickets and seeing the world over and over again.
This past weekend was a complete blur. It was full of sleepless nights spent on either bus, train, or plane, hopping from one hostel to another and from city to city, but it was outstanding. Earlier in my trip to Italy, me and a couple of friends bought tickets to see the Barcelona football club play another Spanish team, Seville. This was the sole reason, for us, to head over to Barcelona for a weekend. Sure, we figured on our day off, the day after the game, we could get some drinks, hit a restaurant maybe lay by the beach and just chill. But this football match was going to be the cake and the ice cream.
Let me just say, the game was mind blowing. It was my first ever soccer match — shoot I haven’t even seen my Seattle Sounders play yet — and unfortunately it’s going to take a lot for any other match to compare to this one. We arrived extremely early and got to feel the anticipation of the crowded streets preparing for the game. When the gates opened, we climbed the stairs to our seats, using the calories from our foot-long hot dogs, and large buckets of popcorn to keep us moving. The atmosphere was terrific; screaming fans from all over the world, chants, ridiculing and arguments being spoken in over four different languages — from what I interpreted — gave me a very high appreciation for the sport. The game was close for the first half, Messi scored Barcelona’s first point via a free kick and Seville went into the half with nothing. Second half, Seville scored quickly with another answered goal from Barcelona. At which point the rest of the match was dictated by Barcelona. Amazingly, Messi scored a hat-trick (click to see the highlights), and with it he broke the Spanish goal scoring record that was set in 1995 by Telmo Zarra. Like I said, it’s going to be hard for me to find another soccer match that will add up to this one. The game was enough for me to say that I came, I saw and I conquered Barcelona. But oh I had so much more to learn.
The next morning, I woke up early and decided to take a tour — offered by my hostel — around the city. It lasted a few hours and during which I learned how incredibly complex, culturally rich and historically influenced the city of Barcelona is. I was, as I said before, mind blown. Even with this tour I knew I had only scratched the surface of the city, and the more that I explored and learned I realized how in love I was falling for it. I mean, I love Barcelona. Call me Romeo, but this city is definitely my Juliet. It intriuged me so much that regardless of my energy level, from the tour I went to the hostel and bought tickets to see the Segrada Familia, according to the tour guide the second most popular church in the world. Designed by Antoni Gaudi, it’s been in construction for over 100 years and is still in the midst of construction. Through the creative mind of Gaudi, the building takes on such an organic and yet surreal look and feel. The outside looks absolutely fake. I will be honest, it’s hard even to wrap your mind around the magnitude of the place, it’s quite literally “dripping in stone” as my friend Lacey put it. It’s astonishing. The inside is a whole different ballgame, it’s fresh, it’s natural looking, it feels like a peaceful cave with clean cut pillars and the most beautiful stained glass windows I have ever seen. If you ever get to see this church in person, I would advise you to pay the extra money to climb to the top of the towers because the view from up there is gorgeous. I have to say that this is the most beautiful building, let alone religious temple, I have ever seen.
Quickly after running through the church, Lacey and I headed for the metro to head down to another part of the city to meet our tour guide from earlier for a special cooking class. In the class we learned how to make sangria — the correct way — we ate some fantastic Tapas including basted anchovies, Spanish omelets, pan con tomate and others. But, the best part was that we learned, hands-on, how to make arguably the most traditional Spanish dish, Paella. We made a sea-food paella, with mussels and shrimp. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Italian food, but holy cow was I happy to try Paella and get a different style of cooking in this course. It’s amazing, it’s fresh, it’s filling, it’s complex and it’s memorable.
All in all, I went to Barcelona for a weekend, to see a soccer match; when I left, I had a whole new appreciation for the city, it’s people, it’s culture and it’s beauty. I will never forget my two days here, and I cannot wait until I get another chance to visit it again. Unfortunately, I have learned that even when planning on keeping things simple, traveling always includes so much to do, but I seem never to have enough time.