Photo Essay i. Mies' Pavilion
Photo Essay. ii. Gaudi's Sagrada
An Easter trip to Barcelona in 1991 was the first getaway I took following my separation. Working with a good salary, single and with a long Easter break. It was the first time I had taken an overseas long weekend on my own that wasn't done on a budget.
It was quite liberating and the time away I needed to recharge.
In the days before the cheap flight fad of Ryanair and the ilk it was great to be doing something different and to be part of what felt an elite group of travelers who explored "out of season". I brought back the art gallery posters, the art gallery books and boxes of slides of the famous architecture, urban walks and squares of Barcelona.
The cultural highlight of the trip was, however, the Barcelona versus Atletico Madrid match at the Nou Camp. It was the fight of Orwell's visit to Spain and homage to Catalonia, the left wingers versus the royalist capital dwellers (almost).
I managed to pick up my ticket on the day before the game. Right up on the top tier on the very back row. The highest seat in the stadium, having to watch the play through the gap in my knees and over the top of the man's head in the row in front. What a gradient that stand was! What a height.
I can't remember the final score without referring to the video replay. But I can remember the first goal celebrations and flares.
And I can remember the promise I made to myself on the plane back to Heathrow and in my car back to Little Marlow; "Whenever I visit a city overseas I'd take in the big game whenever possible." It is something I still do to this day. Cricket in Cape Town, American Football in East Rutherford, Baseball at Arlington, Shea and The Bronx, Bulls in Seville, Rugby Union in Paris, Football in Pyongyang. And so the list will continue to lengthen.
Architecture and the galleries is all very good for the polite, but for the vernacular I can't beat the local stadium.