Great final full day in Spain. We started off with a trip to Toledo, a quaint medieval city southwest of Madrid. Here, the boys visited the Cathedral, did some shopping, and enjoyed the beauty of the architecture. From here, the boys traveled to Ciudad Deportivo, a sports complex where they had good training with Iberio CF. A great time was had by all. We headed back to the hotel for dinner. Next is to pack for home and early to bed, 6:30 am breakfast before leaving for the airport. Next stop, Morristown.
After breakfast, the boys headed out to the home of Real Madrid. The boys learned of the great history of the club, toured the stadium, and did some shopping in the club shop. Some even interviewed with BBC Wales about the impending Gareth Bale transfer. From here, the boys trained well in the heat. After a quick change at the hotel they headed out to Plaza Mayor. Some tried the paella and others just took in the sights. Afterwards, dinner and a La Liga match at Getafe FC. An exciting game ended in a 2-2 draw. Enjoy.
Wednesday started off early with a good breakfast before heading to the training pitch. After training hard for a few hours, we headed back to the hotel to pack up and head to Madrid. We boarded the high speed train and cruised at roughly 300 km/h (186 mph) for about two and a half hours and arrived in Madrid. Then we checked into the hotel…but Madrid was waiting. We walked 10 minutes or so to El Parque Retiro (Madrid’s main park) with its great architecture. Next stop was the adjacent Museo del Prado where the boys got to see some of the great works of El Greco, Goya, and Velasquez to name a few. After dinner at the hotel, it was show time and the boys were treated to a wonderful flamenco show. Enjoy.
Wow! Busy day today. After breakfast, we headed to Montserrat, a Benedictine abbey high on a mountain. It provides breathtaking views of the Catalonian countryside. After taking in the views, the boys headed to mass in the abbey church. We headed back into Barcelona and visited the Nou Camp, home of FC Barcelona. The stadium tour highlighted the club’s rich history, trophies, and players. In late afternoon, we got to see the city by bike before heading to the beach. After dinner, we all wished Scott a happy 16th birthday and enjoyed the delicious cake and other sweet treats. Finally, we headed out to the Fiesta Major de Gracia, a music festival in the streets in which each block gets decorated with all sorts of themes. A few of our players also may have gotten on stage to sing along with one of the bands. Enjoy the photos.
After a quick lunch and siesta, we headed out to our second training of the day at CF La Torreta and trained with their players. It was a great afternoon/evening and the players were cooled off when the water cannons were turned on to water off the pitch. After returning home, the boys enjoyed another good dinner at the hotel under a full moon on a gorgeous Barcelona night.
After a delicious breakfast at the hotel, the boys boarded a fancy bus of Sabadell FC and headed off to training. They got a good workout in at Juipiter FC (4th Division). They then headed back to the hotel for a shower. Planned for the afternoon is lunch, perhaps a siesta, and then heading out for some more soccer.
After taking in the beautiful cathedral from a distance, we headed down to see it up close and personal. We spent some time walking around and then headed to las Ramblas. Here, the boys got to do some shopping and headed to Market la boqueria where one of the specialties was jamon iberico. From here, we went to some of the many plazas in Barcelona, Plaza Reial. The tired boys (nearly all fell asleep on the 15 minute bus ride to the hotel) checked in and met for dinner at 8:00 (2:00 EST) and some even caught up a little on the day’s events. Lights out early tonight for an early morning training on Tuesday. You can click the photos for larger images in the gallery.
As Sunday turned into Monday morning on the smooth plane ride into Barcelona, the boys hit the ground running. After driving past the Olympic Stadium, Olympic Village, and Olympic Flame, the boys went to Castell de Montjuic where the boys got a great view of Barcelona from above. You could see Gaudi’s la Sagrada Familia which was our next stop. More details and photos of the day to come after dinner. Stay tuned….
Check back daily while the soccer team is in Spain for updates and photos!