Feb 232011

Day 19 (February 20, 2011)

Itinerary: Mercat Boqueria, lunch on La Rambla, purchase tickets for Picasso tour and Gaudi tour, unable to get tickets at Palau de la Musica Catalana, DHUB, find a Dr. Pepper, prepare for futbol game, FC Barcelona futbol match

There is a lot to do in Barcelona! The bed was strewn with tourist brochures and information this morning while we made lists and figured out what we most wanted to see and do and what days and hours these places were open. Not everything is open on Sunday, many places are closed on Mondays, and Tuesdays, most, but not all places are open. The trick was to see if we could fill Sunday and Monday with museums and activities so Tuesday was not jam-packed with everything. Luckily, it didn’t take too long to come up with a decent plan of action.

The first place we visited was the Mercat Boqueria, which was actually closed now, but the street, La Rambla was full of markets as well. Most markets here were selling flowers and plants including some adorable little cacti. We realized we weren’t interested in spending too much time here, so we grabbed a quick lunch and headed up to the Plaza Catalunya to purchase tickets to various tours over the next couple days. We grabbed a Gaudi tour for tomorrow and a Picasso tour for Tuesday.

We struck out on our trip to Palau de la Musica Catalana. No more tickets were available for today and tomorrow didn’t look good either. In fact, there was only one ticket for a noon tour and then one ticket for the 2pm tour. So, we’ll skip this attraction for this trip. Photos in the gift shop were enough to satisfy us for the time being.

Next stop on our list was the DHUB or design museum. It was much harder to find that I would have hoped as it was buried around several corners of very small streets. Our tourist map was not that detailed and we walked up and down the street several times looking for the right turn. Luckily, we stumbled across it with plenty of time for a visit.

There were 3 exhibitions today. One was a very interesting exhibition on 3D printing techniques. It’s actually really hard to describe except to say with a computer program you can draw a 3D shape and then it will be printed with a special material at whatever size you want. We saw some intriguing forms that had been printed on a 3D printer. There are many different kinds of 3D printing. One video told us of research going into 3D tissue printing so one day doctors can simply print someone a new organ. Wow, now that’s more advanced than I can comprehend. =) Technology is amazing. Another exhibition took us through some 3D gemotrical shapes and sculptures from several design contests of college-aged kids. And the last exhibition was not very memorable, because now I can’t even think of what it was. In any case, we enjoyed our time at DHUB.

On the way back to our hotel room, we saw someone walking down the street holding a can of Dr. Pepper! I had been planning to bring Mark a bottle of Dr. Pepper, but in the end I was unable to fit it in the luggage. So, now we went in search of a shop that carried Mark’s favorite soda, usually only available in the US and Texas. We found one! A little shop had cans of Dr. Pepper bottled in the UK. Mark and I both agreed that it tasted just like the US Dr. Pepper.

Both Mark and I were very excited about our planned evening watching FC Barcelona futbol. We headed out towards the stadium with the intent of finding dinner along the way. Well, for some reason we couldn’t find any open places to eat. Finally we grabbed some quick sandiches. I guess the Barcelona crowd doesn’t eat around the stadium.

The stadium and the game were amazing! First off, in order to purchase the tickets online, we had to order through a 3rd party vendor several days ago on La Palma island. The tickets were delivered to our hotel room for us to pick up. At the time of purchase, the game was nearly sold out and there were no 2 seats next to each other. Mark and I each had a single ticket a few rows away from each other. The place was packed! Official attendance was over 83,300 people at the game and boy did it sound like it. At the start of the gave, ever single fan stood up and sang their team song. There was a big cheering section behind our team’s goal that stood the entire game and lead the cheers. One guy even had a bass drum. Many fans had those plastic horn vuvuzelas as well. Mark and I are used to a more apethetic Rice crowd at sporting events. Here, there was not one apathetic person in the place. The fans were yelling, cheering, singing, and the resulting atmosphere was absolutely amazing. I didn’t see an empty seat in the house. When FC Barcelona scored their first Gooooooooollllllll, everyone went wild.

Barca, as they are known, won the game and we left knowing many of the Barca cheers. Some cheers are very similar world-wide apparently, with the same starting beat and just different chants. This was a fun night to remember.

Leaving the stands was a spectacle as well. First, we stayed high looking down below as hordes of thousands of people streamed out of the stadium. This was the definition of a sea of people for sure. When we joined the thousands, we found that the people had the right of way here and the 6-lane street was all people walking as the sidewalks were too full to contain all of us. We felt like we were in a march of some sort as we stormed through the streets towards the metro. The metro of course had a line a block long just to go down to the station, so we opted to walk back to our hotel as it wasn’t all that far away anyway.

We will remember this night for a long time. Mark is already making plans to find a soccer game up in the UK for us to attend as well.

Hot Chocolate and churros
Mark in his FC Barcelona jersey

Full stadium at the futbol game

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