Read Part 1 here.
Connor Noblat, freshman, Renton, Wash.
We woke up to make it down to breakfast at 10:15. After playing and winning two games in back-to-back days, everyone was pretty sore, but in good spirits. The breakfast was fantastic: sunny side or scrambled eggs, baked beans, Spanish breakfast sausage, cured meats; salami, white ham, turkey, and more, pastries, and bread with jam. Following breakfast, we headed outside to go on a walk to let our legs out a bit-a crucial part of the recovery process. As we stepped outside we were greeted with warm 63-degree weather as we walked a few blocks down from our hotel to the beach. It was a bit cooler there due to the wind chill, but nevertheless a serene view. Nice beaches, people exercising, palm trees, yachts and boats in the harbor. After a team stretch, we headed back to the hotel to rest up a bit before going to tour the Nou Camp, home of Barcelona Football Club. We grabbed a quick sandwich at the stadium before proceeding to the tour.
Right when you enter the stadium you begin to understand just how successful the club is as you walk through the museum filled with their history, trophies, and club traditions. The history sheds light on how the club is founded on aspects beyond just a game. You read stories about how they built their fan base, their club, and how they progressed and developed over the years to reach their current impressive standing, often regarded as one of the best clubs in the world. Messi's hardware is also present, most notably his five Ballon d'Ors, a trophy awarded to the best player of the year. He is arguably the best player to ever play the game. The rest of the tour consisted of checking out the visitors’ locker room, the media room, the gift shop, and walking out of the tunnel where the players enter the field on game day. It was a great experience to see how a club of that level operates and how they became who they are today. A handful of the team purchased some authentic Barcelona apparel from the three-story Nike store at the end of the visit.
Next stop was the harbor. We headed back to where we had our morning stroll to board a beautiful catamaran-a boat sitting on two platoons which allows the water to pass in between them. Everyone dressed warm as it was 5:30 in the evening and cooling off. We were greeted by a friendly staff who took great care of us throughout the sunset tour. The boat made its way out and back along the Barcelona coastline, making for picturesque views and great photo opportunities. About halfway through the two-hour cruise, one of the staff members began to dance and eventually about ten of us joined in for two or three songs. As the boat headed back towards the dock the sun was setting, sending its golden rays across the city, adding a golden hue to the beach and buildings. It was a nice end to a fun cruise. We then headed back to leave for a traditional Catalonian dinner at 9 p.m.
The restaurant had our bread and salads waiting for us when we arrived so we dived right in. It was a tuna salad with a simple olive oil based dressing and the bread was similar to a thin ciabatta bread with a light tomato spread. The next item that came out was calamari and following that was delicious ham seasoned with some salt and cayenne pepper. The main dish made its way out-a seafood-filled paella mixed in with pasta. Squid, scallop, clams, and octopus were all in the mix. Last but not least a sorbet was served. We then left back to the hotel happy, full, and ready for some sleep ahead of another big game.
Josh Adachi, junior, Pearl City, Hawaii
Today we went to La Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic church designed by Antoni Gaudi. The building was the most intricate display of architecture that I have ever seen and the team was immediately amazed by the beauty of the designs on the exterior of the church. Inside the church doors were even more designs found along the roof and the walls. Each symbol, pillar placement and intricate detail had a purpose in illustrating some part of Jesus’s life. La Sagrada Familia is extremely different from any building that much of the team has seen back home in the states and this trip has really opened our eyes to what other countries of the world have to offer.
After touring La Sagrada Familia, we made our way to La Fonda, a small restaurant in downtown Barcelona. The highlight of the meal was the steak cooked to a perfect medium rare and the coconut-mango custard for desert.
After getting energy from the fantastic lunch we headed to the field for our third game against Bellvitge Juvenil A. The team showed great energy following our day off and came away with a hard fought and convincing 3-0 win.
We ended the day at the finest Lebanese restaurant in Barcelona, Abu Khalil. I am not sure what some of the dishes were called but the meal was nonetheless delicious. The team was entertained with a traditional Lebanese dance with some of the boys joining the performer on stage. We had a great time as the team has continued to bond over the course of the trip.