Montjuic and FC Barca Basketball

We have made it safely to the Penedes region of Spain (after only about 8 wrong turns and turning a 45 minute drive into a 2-hour drive...but no pasa nada!) and are settling in nicely to our cozy bed and breakfast.  I have to digress from my real intention of finishing to post last weekend's pictures and say how happy I am that Brian insisted on a B&B versus a hotel this weekend. We had the best experience in our little place in the Priorat (even though it was called a 'hotel,' it felt more like a B&B) and when push came to shove this time around, Brian insisted we keep looking for something a little more quaint and rural after I initially found a pretty cheap traditional hotel room online.Way to go Brian.

So back to last weekend....

After beach day on Saturday, we decided to explore a little more of the city on Sunday and we FINALLY subir-ed (little Spanglish for you there) the large park mountain (that's what we call it) known as Montjuic. This is where the Olympic games were held in 1992 and is quite the winding and tiered sight to be seen.

I have been spoiled by all this great exercise through walking, so we decided to make a go of it yet again.  I don't think we anticipated walking 6.5 miles in one day!  But hey, my Dad was running a marathon that day, so I should be able to handle WALKING 6.5 miles, right? In our defense it was mostly uphill.

The weather was a little rainy over the weekend so all the photos are kind of dark and gloomy. We're planning to go back on a sunny day!

Lots of pics....  And I mean LOTS!

Did I mention how many stairs we climbed? Up, up, up!

Brian's church/castle at Tibidabo. I felt like we were eye-level with it from up here.

There were lots of little gardens like this along the way. I can only imagine how beautiful they are in the springtime.

The Floyds! Sweaty and winded on a humid day at Montjuic. Aren't we cute?  ;)

You could literally see Barcelona in all directions. See the Sagrada Familia in the distance? It was pretty amazing from this vantage point at one of the entrances to the park.

What a cool theater, right? I've read a bit about the history of the Olympic Stadium and the actual hill itself (Montjuic means 'Hill of the Jews') but I haven't read anything about how old this amphitheater is. I hope they still use it!

Yes, Aunt Mary, another cool wall.  :)

The park was full of fountains, many much larger than this one, but I kind of liked this sinister fellow. Just up to no good, minding his own business.

Did I mention the stairs? Surely...

The stadium! It was apparently completed in 1929 in anticipation of the 1936 Olympics. The actual Olympic games were held in Berlin, but Barcelona intended to hold their own Anti-Fascist games in opposition but had to cancel due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The stadium also apparently housed the local futbol team until their new stadium was completed in 2008.

We were on a mission to see the 'mar' (sea) and happened to stumble upon the "show" side of the stadium.

These yellow rods lined the plaza leading up to the stadium and began to glow from the top once sunset was upon us.

That large needle thing said Telefonica on it, which is one of their large mass communication companies. So maybe it's some sort of a media tower?  No clue, but it made for some cool pics.

There were three tiers of fountains like this one as you walked farther and farther down the plaza. I think the Spanish did a good job; it probably felt pretty special for the athletes at the 1992 Olympics. I felt special and I can't even run very fast.  :)

Sunset was upon us and the towers began to glow.

Hola to the Med!

This area was called Palau Sant Jordi, which is the indoor arena in the sports complex.

Barcelona from on high! And the tuckered-out Floyds....

Another fun view of the lighted fountains....

This was the view from the final fountain. Such an amazing payoff after climbing that huge hill.

The final fountain was surrounded by a plaza with semi-circle benches like these. It made for a nice spot to cozy up and enjoy the view.

Our friends called while we were enjoying Montjuic and asked if we wanted to go to an FC Barcelona basketball game. Claro! So we trekked down the hill to catch the metro at Plaza Espana. But not before taking a few goofy pictures...

I blame the altitude.

Super-chula Spanish chick...

Brian whistling a little Spanish tune. He's a pretty ammmaaazzzing Spanish whistler.  ;)

On our way down to Plaza Espana, we passed this very cool castle. It felt very spooky and very 'dark and stormy night'. Brian ran up and got a brochure, and we're putting it on the to-do list with Tibidabo. One day...soon.

Basketball! The arena was in Camp Nou right next door to the famed FC Barcelona soccer (football) field.

This group of people screamed, cheered, sang, and chanted...the...whole..time. I'm seriously worried for their vocal chords. But it made the game a lot more lively. They were seriously the designated cheering section. Matching t-shirts. Big drums. Organized songs. Colorful flags. The whole nine yards.

Tylor and Michelle met Brian and I at the game. We arrived before them, saw the concession stand, and decided to be 'como la gente' (like the people) and grab a couple beers. We walked to our seats to wait on our two amigos, sipped our beers, and discovered....the beers were TERRIBLE! When Chelle and Tylor arrived they were joking about how weird it was that there were only non-alcoholic beers served in the arena. What? Yep. Three euro each. Yucky, non-alcoholic beers. It was the joke all night. Brian finished his out of principal and thirst. I did not.

Yes, even Spanish basketball teams have the signature 'dancing girls'. They did not cheer however...that was left up to the LOUD box of peeps up above. They did one dance between the 1st and 2nd periods and then made a costume change and did another dance between the 3rd and 4th periods. There was no effort whatsoever to match the uniforms to Barca colors. Weak.

This is my hilarious attempt to take an incognito photo of our seat neighbors. Serious, true-to-form Catalan Barca basketball fans. They were none too happy that we were crowding into the four seats next to them. And they gave me a few hysterical sideways glances every time I got into the game and tried to yell something in Spanish.

We were pretty much at center court but pretty close to the nosebleed seats. The sponsor for the night had those damn clapping balloons on all the seats and the kids were going W-I-L-D.

The refs in Spain wear those orange jailbird black and white stripes.

I loved that there was a female ref!

Ricky Rubio #9 was hyped to be the highlight of the game and the night. He was an NBA #5 draft pick to the Timberwolves in 2009 and just recently signed back on with the FC Barcelona team. He was nice to look at but definitely didn't steal the show game-wise. We ended up winning 75-64, but I didn't notice him doing anything crazy extraordinary. Maybe I wasn't really paying enough attention though....

Another fun Floyd experience in Barcelona! The game went by pretty quick and we spent a large majority of it laughing at ourselves for buying the non-alcoholic beer. Afterward Brian and I ventured to one of our new favorite restaurants, Mosquito, in the Born to have some real beers and some Asian dumplings. We love our Spanish food, but we've been on quite the expedition to broaden the ol' taste buds a little.

We had a great weekend staying in Barcelona but decided we would venture out next weekend. Which leads us to now....and the Penedes wine region. Cuddled up in our comfy bed and ready for a fun-filled two days of wine- and cava-tasting and exploring...  More to come Monday! Stay warm Texans!