Friday, June 24, 2016
Sagrada Familia and the French National Championship Rugby Game
Friday, 24 June, 2016:
Another hot day in Barcelona, the only thing officially on my schedule was to meet up with the Rio Mesa H.S. touring group at midday for a guided tour of Anton Gaudí's Sagrada Familia mega-church.
Since this church is only 5.75 miles from my hotel, I opted to talk there in the early morning relative coolness, taking full advantage of all the shade that I could find along the way.
It gave me the chance to view several parts of the city that I had not explored in past visits.
DAMN, I'll be home in
Camarillo by then
She has a restaurant?
I wonder who the baby is?
Shade on the left
A Work in Progress
Built 1883 - 20??
When Laurie and I first visited Gaudí's masterpiece in 2008, we were told that it would take another 50-60 years to complete.
Last year on one of our many re-visits to this intriguing site, the estimated time of completion was down to 20-25 years.
Our guide today said that the goal is now to complete the massive task by 2026 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Gaudí's death.
I arrived a bit early and had a little time to kill.
Just a street light
The Sacristy is now complete
It just opened about a month ago.
I met the R.M.H.S. squad at the entrance on the Nativity façade side of the church.
Only about one half of the kids opted to see the church and only Sandra Tchiprout was there to act as a chaperone.
Sandra is the only righteous chaperone, the others are heathens as it turns out.
The R.M.H.S. group
EXACTLY how I felt about
the U11s on Monday during their
two hour lunch break at our camp
I felt that Gaudí captured both my mood and features perfectly.
Gaudí had a school built
at the construction site
He built it for the workers' children and the kids from the surrounding community.
The Passion façade
The Petrified Forest effect
Gouda's love of natural light
Sandra and one of her students
Above the main altar
Stain glass lighting
View from the back
of the church
Our Tour Guide and Sandra
She was both enthusiastic and knowledgable but I did not catch her name.
The inside of the new Sacristy
As you exit the Sacristy
Gaudy designed lots of things
Pick a row of four numbers,
they will add up to 33
Jesus Christ was crucified at the tender age of 33.
A different view of the Sacristy
After saying goodbye to Sandra and promising that we would meet for coffee in California if I am ever there again, I had to decide what to do with the rest of my day.
My friend Olivier Rival had mentioned something about a big rugby match tonight at FC Barcelona's home pitch, the fabled Camp Nou Stadium.
He said that I would have trouble finding a ticket but with Camp Nou's seating capacity of 99,354 certainly I could find a ticket as it is rugby game not a La Liga match.
So thinking, I jumped on the Metro at Sagrada Famila to the Metro stop closest to Camp Nou.
The Largest Stadium in Europe
On my way to the ticket booth
A leisurely picture before hitting
the ticket office
Top 14 Finale
Toulon vs. Racing 92
Wait, that's French. What is going on here?
As it turns out the Top 14 is the name of France's Elite Rugby League. Rugby is France's #2 sport behind only soccer. The championships were moved to Barcelona because all of the major stadiums in France are currently in use for soccer's Euro Cup 2016 tournament.
I was the only one in line
when I bought my ticket
After the game, I saw an article on-line from the London Daily Mail earlier this week saying that the game was sold out.
I had to check out FCB's store
Lots of drinking/singing French
rugby fans be my favorite tapas bar
I added ten more toothpicks to my collection, I was famished.
What city am I in?
Chicken for dinner?
This is the cool T-shirt that
I bought in the FCB store
Note the tag, 3XL.
Rugby is played by big, thick people. I allowed for the Euro sizing issues in buying a 3XL T-shirt.
When I got back to the hotel, I tried it on. It is much closer to an L than a 3XL.
Our son Michael is now the proud owner of a new T-shirt.
Speaking of the Hotel Nuevo Triunfo . . .
. . . Enlightened vending machine
in the lobby
Water 1 Euro
Coke & Fanta 1.50 Euros
Estrella Damm Beer 1.50 Euros
It was now 6:45 p.m., two hours before the start of the game, so I boarded a jam packed Metro with a whole bunch of giddy Frenchmen.
French fans at Camp Nou
Lots and . . .
. . . lots of them
Wearing colors is encouraged
Including the French Flag
Filling up early
Racing 92 warming up
Me at Camp Nou
A group of Barcelona's Human
Castle builders entertaining us
Let the game begin!
It was later announced that 99,124 people were in attendance. That is the biggest crowd to ever see a Rugby match in Europe for sure, maybe the world.
We broke the old record, set at Wembley Stadium in London, by more than 15,000 people.
Racing 92 in White
Toulon in Red
Racing 92 is a Big Bucks club from Paris while Toulon is from Provence.
Scrum . . .
. . . after scrum . . .
. . . after scrum
They made my American football linemen coach's heart soar.
At the half, Toulon had a slim 14-12 lead.
Great second half effort by
Racing 92 led to their 29-21 victory
2016 Top 14 Rugby
French National Champions
Lots of walking again today
Saturday really needs to be a beach day.