By Wes Chappell and Ashley Williams, CSL graduate students
Today started off with another early morning as we departed Nîmes for a 5-hour bus ride to Barcelona. Before arriving in Barcelona, we stopped in a small town called Figueras where we visited the Teatre-Museu Dalí. This museum was full of the famous surrealist artist, Salvador Dalí’s work. We made our way throughout the winding halls of the museum, fascinated by his bizarre, yet genius mind. One of his most famous works of art, Persistence of Memory (the melting clocks), resides in his museum in Figueras. One of my favorite collections in this museum were sets of near identical paintings or images, with slightly different colors. When viewing the two images side-by-side very closely, the two juxtaposed images merge together to form a 3-dimensional image. It was truly mind bending!
A lot of the artwork we saw was extremely interesting and clearly depicted how abstract of a thinker Salvador Dali was in his heyday. The design of the Dali Theatre Museum was intricate in that spectators had to weave their way in and out of sculptures and rooms tangent to the main areas and hallways. After snaking our way in and out of the museum, we made our way to the gift shops and eventually found our way out into the streets of Figueras where we ate lunch at a local restaurant. Along side a few other CSL classmates, we ate lunch with at Catalunya Amor Meu! We had a wonderful waiter named Jonas who showed us the amazing Catalonian hospitality and served us their house sangria. After an amazing meal with arguably the best server I’ve ever had, we gathered together to make our final bus trip to Barcelona, where we will spend the rest of our Euro Trip 2017.
After arriving in Barcelona, we got accustomed to our hotel and had some free time to grab dinner and explore our barrio for the next few days. Finally we boarded to the bus to RCDE Stadium to watch one of the best soccer teams in the world, FC Barcelona, take on the home team, RCD Espanyol, in a local rivalry match, or derby as it’s often called in soccer.
For many of us, it was our first time watching an international soccer match. It was even more special that we were able to see FC Barcelon and watch the best player of our generation, Lionel Messi, do his thing up close.
Unfortunately, the home team lost and FC Barcelona won 3-0, extending their lead at the top of La Liga (Spain’s top soccer league). However, the environment was electric throughout the game. The home fans of RCDE Espanyol sang and chanted the entire time. the atmosphere in European soccer games is the most exciting in the world. Contrary to American professional sports, fans are singing and chanting the entire game, and you aren’t bombarded with corporate marketing and advertising, unless you’re watching on TV. I hope that soccer continues to grow in the United States and our most popular professional sports leagues attempt to take a page out of the European culture’s book when it comes to sports and creating an ecstatic environment for fans inside of a stadium that isn’t entirely focused on corporate sponsors, television, and money in general – at least when it comes to the in-stadium experience. After the game we took the subway from Espanyol’s stadium back to our hotel in Barcelona to cap the night off. When we returned to the hotel, I was told by friends and family that they saw Betsy and I (Ashley) on TV cheering after Barcelona scored!
Attending a professional soccer match is most definitely a must if you’re ever traveling around Europe, whether or not you happen to be a sports fanatic. We so thankful to we get to experience such an authentic and organic sporting atmosphere, while watching some of the best athletes in the world.