When I hear the word “adventure” I picture myself standing in the middle of a bustling metropolis where medieval and modern designs clash in the most fantastic manner. The ancient pavement below my feet has been sanded down to the texture of smooth wet sand over the past four hundred years. I feel the rush and rumble of people as they pass by. The excitement of brushing into a person who lives in this almost magical world gives me the sense that their contact has permanently transported me into their breathtaking culture.
I went to Spain for two weeks with my Spanish class junior year in high school. We traveled through the romantic cities of Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo and Saragossa. We used a great tour group agency called EF (Education First) that showed us all the fabulous sites in every city. My favorite city by far was Barcelona. Our guide, Shoulkia, lived in Barcelona. She knew all the great local restaurants and got us tickets to a FC Barcelona soccer game!
Honestly, I’m not a huge soccer fan, especially by European standards. Because many Europeans swear more allegiance to soccer teams than to their nations, it is possible I would be defined as a person guilty of a grave sin. Despite this, I bought the cheapest tickets. Little did I know that the following night would be one of the highlights of my life.
The next night, Shoulkia picked us up from our hotel and took us to the metro. We crossed through the city towards the Metro. As we made our way to the metro, I watched scores of people burst from their terracotta, gothic curb-side homes, decked out in yellow, blue and red FC Barcelona soccer gear. It felt like the entire city was going to the game. The multi-colored sea of people became condensed inside the Metro. People jammed inside the tiny brown-colored cars, destined to get off at the same stop as me.
The city took on a different tone once we exited the Metro. The sweet smell of drink and Marijuana pressured my senses. The cacophony of shrieks laughs and shouts bordered an exciting chaos. The streets pounded in sync with my heart as thousands traversed the grounds towards the forum. Camp Nou- the second largest stadium in the world scraped the night sky before me. With the ability to hold 98,772 people, it is the world’s second largest stadium. I had never been to a place this impressive. I grasped nervously onto my ticket. My friends and I ran into the stadium. The bustling honeycombed interior filled us with terror- how were we going to find our seats in all this madness with five minutes until kickoff? We determined that our seats were in the topmost section. We raced up the steps. The anticipation of the game starting combined with scrambling to our seats gave me an unbearable rush comparable to riding to the top of a rollercoaster. With each flight of stairs I gasped with an anxious spirit. When we breached the final flight of stairs and faced the field, the kick off started. Lights flashed, the eyes of almost 100,000 people focused and all of Barcelona united in their adoration for a single team. This spectacle laid out before me sent goose bumps up the back of my neck. I didn’t feel like a tourist anymore but a citizen of Barcelona. In that moment, I turned into a wild fan of FC Barcelona and of Barcelona, my home away from home.
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