This is it. Our last full day in Barcelona. It seems like the time has passed so quickly. Today was family day for most people. Shopping and sightseeing were on the agenda. We compared plans with the other families at breakfast and then set off on our adventure. We got an early start and had a long and full day planned. The weather once again cooperated. Though not as warm as previous days, it was mostly sunny when we started out.
Our first stop was Las Ramblas for some souvenir shopping. We ended up in the store next to the apartment some of the moms from our group had rented for the week. They knew we were part of the group and so they started giving us discounts and free gifts! They probably made a killing from out group! We picked out some shirts and various other keepsakes from Barcelona. Then, having run into some of the other team members and their parents, a small group of us ventured to futbol mania, the soccer super store. It's the huge soccer mecca store we visited the first day, but now we had no time limit on shopping and specific items on the shopping list. Manimal purchased a jersey and jacket and I got my eldest son the Chelsea jersey he asked for with his favorite player's name and number. I also found a cool Nike Futbol T-shirt and a baseball cap with a rooster (the French team's emblem) on it for him. He was not able to come with us, but he will be happy with his gifts!
Then we parted ways with the other folks and headed back to the hotel to drop off our bags. We then headed right back out again to head to the beach. When we arrived, the wind was quite brisk and chilly. Clouds were building and the sun disappeared. We had lunch by the water at a little bistro. We sat on the beach for about a half hour but then we were too cold so we decided to head off elsewhere. We hopped in a rickshaw for a ride back to the main square since our legs were tired of walking and the boy wanted to experience a rickshaw. We ended up at the aquarium which was fun but small and did not take long to see. By the time we finished there, the sun was back out so we lay on the grass and people watched and soaked up the sun for about an hour. Next, we headed to Montjuic via the Funicular. We walked past the Olympic Stadium and to the National Museum of Art. The building and the grounds were beautiful. The waterfalls and fountains over multiple tiers of the park that sat below it were also stunning to behold. We hoped to take in the Magic Fountain of Montjuic. The show was supposed to happen at 7. We stuck around until about 8:15. After being there for over 2 hours, we were tired and achy and neither of us really wanted to wait until the likely 9 pm start time. We still had to pack and had a very early wake up time. So we left. The fountain show did happen at 9. Although I'd have liked to see it, I think we made the right choice or I'd have gotten even less sleep!
It was a nice last day in Barcelona with my boy. Without his friends around, he was much more clingy and affectionate. He held my hand, he snuggled up to me on the metro. He reminded me he's in that space between a mama's boy and wanna be independent tween. He was tired. He was 'on' for much of the trip from a soccer standpoint. He needed the down time and time away from his friends as much as I needed and wanted some one on one time with him. It was really nice.
We talked about how he enjoyed his trip and what he learned. We discussed how fortunate he was to have this opportunity to travel to Europe and Spain, to get to train with Barcelona coaches and play the Spanish teams. We discussed how lucky he was to be part of an organization that helped to arrange and coordinate such a trip for his team and the generosity of his coaches in being willing to sacrifice their time to see the city to give the boys a soccer experience of a lifetime.
I think he now gets how lucky he and his team is to have had this amazing adventure. At least on some level. He is looking forward to playing "Spanish style" with his team at home. I think he now gets how much he still has to learn and work on to be the best soccer player he can be. He sees where the bar is. He realizes it's waaaaaay higher than he imagined. He also sees is *might* be possible with some hard work, dedicated coaching and a team that plays together in the same way. There are no 'hot shots' on a team like this. It's a true team. Working together. Strategically. Intelligently. Patiently. Controlling the ball and the game. With skill. With maturity. Playing true futbol.
I hope he sees that dream come true. It's why I brought him here.