Monday, April 20, 2015

Barcelona Open: Tennis Anyone?

Before each leg of my trip, I did a little research on the best sights to see and what activities/shows would be in town. In Scotland, Glamis Castle wasn't on my list until I did my research and it ended up being one of the highlights. Certainly, I had the best meal in Scotland at Glamis Castle. In Paris, I did my research and I came up with a few things that were on the "must see" list, but I was happy to follow Christelle's lead (being a Parisian and all). Barcelona was almost a whim. I never really thought that I would come to Spain. A previous boss of mine made it clear to me that he HATED Spain and would never come back, but the more I talked to my friends and friends of friends, the more wonderful things I heard about Spain and Barcelona in particular. So, needing to keep myself entertained for a week between France and Italy, I booked Barcelona and THEN figured out what I was going to do while here.

(I am so thankful that I can write sentences like keeping myself entertained between France and Italy. I am fully aware just how awesome this trip is and how few people have the opportunity to just GO to Europe and tool around for a while. I am counting my blessings every day. Trust me.)

The only thing I knew about Barcelona before getting here was that Barcelona is an architectural wonder. And knowing that, all I really did was plan to physically look around while in town. I didn't think it would take much planning. Accidentally running into Casa Battló on my first day was pretty amazing and made me realise what I was up for. Gaudi (the architect) built a number of major works in Barcelona and everywhere I go, I seem to run into more and more of them. Today, for instance, I ran into this.

Just a gate. A BadAss Gate.
We should all have gates like this

And the whole reason I ran into this was because prior to getting here, I found out the Barcelona Open was in town and booked myself a ticket. So, this morning I walked 1km, took a subway, walked another 1.5km to get to Reial Club de Tennis Barcelona 1899. And about 2 blocks before getting there, saw this Gaudi thing. =)

The tournament facility itself was underwhelming (maybe because the facility in Sydney is bigger - the only other tennis facility I can compare it to). But it was clean, there were plenty of options for food and there were a lot of bathroom stalls available. There was one stand that sold souvenirs and I was not impressed, but I wasn't there for that. I was there for the tennis, which (even on day one, round one) was impressive.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am habitually early. Maybe even the first one on site.
I was able to stay for 2 full matches and a few games into a 3rd match. The play was great. Most of the competitors were from Spain and you could really tell who was a favorite of the crowd. Albert Ramos-Vinolas, for example. "Vamos Ramos" was a popular cry. Also, a lot of "Va!" or "Va, va, va!" (Go!) Unfortunately, all the crowd support in the world doesn't win you the game. 

Ramos in Orange
Going for the overhead smash
Looking dejected between games (shortly before losing)
The grounds crew had to clean up after all the sliding, digging, slipping and temper tantrums.

I tried really hard to take some good service shots.

Overall great games by all the players (none of whom I'd heard of previously). So, after I'd had enough sun and fun, I walked back to the Metro and back to my hotel.

It's been a damned lot of walking and I'm exhausted all the time. It reminds me of when I first did P90X. They warn you that the first week you'll be exhausted but then get fit and used to working out everyday. I'm hoping that's the case for me because I'm just wiped. Tonight, I had to go out for dinner and couldn't do it. I walked around the block and decided to order delivery. I ordered sushi delivery and was SUPER full and satisfied. I love sushi, could eat it everyday, and think that Sushi Delivery might be the best thing ever.

And with that, I'm off to sleep. I've got no plans for tomorrow and might do nothing. I honestly might only go out for food and take care of myself. 

(The only thing I still must see while in Barcelona is La Sagrada Familia, anything else would be a bonus)

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