Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day 7 in Barcelona, Camp Nou & Park Guell

I got up around 8 am for breakfast this morning, planning to eat and then rest an hour or so before checking out of my hostel by 10 am.  I ate breakfast, got back in my bunk, by that time my hostel mates were up and moving around, I knew I was not going to get much more sleep.  After awhile, I got up, packed my bags, took the sheets off my bunk, and checked out of the hostel.  

I had two things left on my list of things to do in Barcelona, 1. Camp Nou, home of Barcelona's famous soccer team; 2. Go to Park Guell, designed by Antonin Guadi.  I figured I would have enough time to do both things on my list, my flight to Morocco was not until 8:35 pm tonight.  

I got directions from the hostel staff on going to Camp Nou, it was further than I expected.  I got on the metro and arrived shortly afternoon.  There were signs outside the metro stop indicating the direction of Camp Nou, making the walk there easy.  I saw people taking pictures in front of the stadium and knew I was in the right place, I asked someone to take my picture, before going into Camp Nou.

Lynnae at Camp Nou 
I am not a huge soccer fan, I could be, I watched some soccer in Japan.  We do not have a soccer culture in the US, I did not grow up with it and never lived in a place like Barcelona where soccer is a huge part of the cultural scene, so I never became a fan.  However. I had heard from people at my hostel and friend who had been to Barcelona, that  Camp Nou is a must see.

Camp Nou picture of players

Camp Nou is a museum, it goes through the history of Barcelona's soccer team, discusses Catalonia, the role   foreigners played in the development of  the team, and has exhibits on Barcelona's soccer successes.  Reading about the history of Barcelona's team helped explained the enthusiasm Barcelona has for its team.  I enjoyed the museum, the best part was going into the stadium, imaging what it must be like to be there for a game.  Everyone around me was excited to be at Camp Nou, school groups on field trips were there, everyone taking pictures, people just sitting in the stands absorbing the environment.  The last stop was the press box, where footage from past Barcelona games was aired on the TV screens.

Lynnae in Stadium 
After Camp Nou I took the metro to Park Guell, did not want to miss the Gaudi park I had heard so much about since arriving in Barcelona.  The park was on the opposite end of the metro line, I was happy I did not need to change trains.  Park Guell is situated high atop a hill in Barcelona, the hosted staffer was right about walking, would be a long walk.  I think I was close the other day though, but even from where I was would have been a hike.

There were signs at the metro station pointing the way to Park Guell, I was not expecting a a hike up a hill to get to the park, but that is what I got. There were escalators along the path in some places, making the steep hike faster, people were huffing and puffing by the time we reached the top of the hill.  Park Guell is a great location to see Barcelona, as good, maybe better than Mont Juiic.  The park has Gaudi's interesting and unusual architecture, that is what attracts the masses to the park. I walked around the park, took some pictures, then headed back to my hostel.

Lynnae at Park Guell Lizard Fountain
I left the hostel for the airport at 6 pm, I said goodbye to the Turkish students I met, we said we would try to meet in Istanbul this summer if I move there to teach English. I walked to the metro I thought would take me to the airport, seems everything that could go wrong did, on my way to the airport and after arriving.

I went to Barcelona's city metro, located across the street a block away from the rail line that goes to the airport, I lost a lot of time trying to figure out where the airport line was, I finally found someone who worked at the station after walking all over underground.  I made my way to the train station, got my ticket, the train to the airport did not  leave until 7:02 pm, I missed earlier trains looking for the right station.

We finally arrived a the airport at almost 7:30pm, I thought I was making good time, I would be OK, cutting it a little closer that I would ave liked, but I had been at this airport before.  I got to the terminal and started looking for the airline I was flying, Vueling, it was not listed on the departure boards or in the lobby.  Vueling was in terminal 1 and the train stops at terminal 2.  I asked an airport staff person, where Vueling check in was, he told me I needed to take a shuttle to terminal 1 and pointed me to the Vueling ticket counter, they told me the same thing and pointed me in the direction of the shuttle.

I missed the first shuttle, I saw it but did not make it, another came shortly after, we sat at the terminal several minutes before departing.  It was a long ride to terminal 1, we arrived just after 8pm, I found the Vueling check in counter for Marrakesh.  The staff woman working was packing up, preparing to leave, she told me, the flight is closed, you are too late.  I was 35 minutes early, I could not believe it, I talked to her for awhile, asking if there was anything she could do.  I explained some of what happened, finally she agreed to check me in.  This is a lesson, print a boarding pass, in case the airline staffers decide to leave or refuse to check you in.

The staffer told me I would have to check my luggage at the gate and I needed to run, they were boarding.  In my rush to get to the gate, I left my computer at the security check point.  I set the alarm off going through the metal detector, got a pat down and when the woman finished, I grabbed my backpack and my bag, forgetting the computer.  When I almost got to the terminal, I realized my backpack was light, I forgot my computer.

I told the woman at the check in counter what happened, she said I had 10 minutes to get it & get back.  I had to run again, dragging my luggage behind me, security had my computer.  They made me enter my password, and they wrote down my passport information and I had to sign saying I was
taking the computer.  They even wrote down the type of computer, I was surprised, I did not expect them to be that thorough.  I am happy I realized I left my computer before boarding the flight. If I had not, Barcelona security staff would have had it at least, I could have gotten it back eventually.

I am at my hostel in Morocco, going down the street from the airport to the old city, reminded me of an street in Arizona, almost.  If I ignored the people on scooters, the women with head scarves and a few other things, I could have almost been on a street in Mesa, AZ.  Once we turned into the main part of the city, Morocco was a different world, the same sense I got when I stepped off the plane.

My hostel here is unlike any hostel I have stayed at, almost camping outside.  Everything but the room is open air, the bathrooms and everything are outside.  Morocco should be an interesting experience.  I still need to schedule my Sahara desert tour, will look at those excursions tomorrow.

Day 7 in Barcelona Photo Album

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading your blog on Barcelona. Planning to visit soon.