The End of an Era

John and Adam visit the tobacco store in search of stamps.

Today marked a monumental day during our stay in Barcelona: it was the last time that Adam and I would be able to wear our FC Barcelona jerseys simultaneously in Spain and work together as “the jersey boys.” Because of the intense rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, and due partially to the fact that “the jersey boys” don’t feel like getting beat up or verbally accosted by crazed soccer fans, we’re hanging up our jerseys and packing them in the deep, dark depths of our suitcases for the next three weeks that we’ll be in Madrid.

This Thursday also marked another milestone: it was our second to last classroom session in Barcelona. Today’s class was highlighted by former Spartans Nick Mrozowski and Krissi Xenakis. Nick, a former editor of The State News during his days at MSU, is now the creative director for the Portuguese newspaper “i.” Krissi, a fellow former State Newser, is currently in grad school working on her MFA in graphic design. Both Nick and Krissi gave insightful and interesting presentations that covered newspaper and graphic design. I could sit here and blog about it all day, but I think I’ll toss it over to my partner in crime, Mr. Adam Rossi, who will take it from here. Here’s a little sampling of his take of one of Nick’s presentation:

His presentation was informative and fascinating – several students said that this was by far their favorite day in the classroom here – and seeing his work made me wish I spoke Portuguese well enough to get a job there as well.

Click here to read Adam’s account of Nick and Krissi’s presentations.

After class, most of the group headed over to La Boqueria to grab some quick lunch before departing for some fun in the sun at the beach. Adam, Laura F. and I weaved our way down La Rambla to partake in some people watching and window shopping at NikeBarcelona before heading back to the Marina District. When we arrived at the metro, we were surprised to see Alanna and Catherine directly behind us. They previously were at La Boqueria and caught up to us after we made a few stops on La Rambla. We all boarded the metro together and were then even more surprised to see that Laura E. was already on the same metro! It’s as if the stars aligned and we were destined to meet on that particular metro at that specific time. Or maybe it was just a very weird coincidence. I’d like to think it was a little bit of both.

What a pleasant stop in that little tobacco shop

We hopped off the metro, and Adam and I stopped at a local tobacco shop to purchase some stamps. We expected it to be a quick, in and out stamp purchasing experience, but it turned into a delightful conversation with a woman who worked there. She asked us where in America we were from and what we were studying in Madrid. She told us that her daughter had lived in New York and had also spent time studying in Miami. She was very patient with me as we had a nice conversation in Spanish at the front counter. It was also during this conversation that we discovered the reason why we shouldn’t wear our FC Barcelona jerseys in Madrid. We envisioned that the rivalry between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid was similar to that of Michigan-Michigan State, but oh how we were wrong! She and another worker told us of the soccer fanatics in Madrid who would undoubtedly give us more than a hard time for wearing FC Barcelona crimson and blue. Before we left we told her that we were spending the next three weeks in Madrid, which prompted her to scoff and reply with a wink and a smile that Barcelona was much better. These people were some of the nicest we have encountered during our short stay in this amazing city. If you make the attempt to speak in Spanish to anybody here, I’ve found that they are more apt to converse with you and will respond in English if you’re having a hard time finding the right words in Spanish. That stop in the tobacco store wasn’t just one of the highlights of the day; it was one of the highlights of this entire trip for me.

The Museu Olimpic was everything I had hoped for and more

After grabbing a bite to eat at the Marina District, Adam, Alanna, Catherine, Laura F. and I headed out to el Museu Olimpic i de l’Esport de Barcelona, also known as the Olympic Sport Museum. It was located next to the Olympic Stadium and literally down the road from the Joan Miro Museum we visited the day before. I heard about this little gem from my book on Spain by the renowned travel author Rick Steves. He listed attractions such as the “play-by-play rehash of the ’92 Barcelona Olympiad” and “a schmaltzy movie collage” as the highlights of the museum that we should check out. But the real selling points were the poor Spanish to English translations that resulted in hilarious picture captions and the fact that we could touch the objects in just about all of the exhibits. It was an interesting experience. From there we walked to the Olympic Stadium and wandered back through a beautiful park to reach the funicular train and then head back home. To check out pictures from our trip to the Olympic Stadium as well as our impromptu Messi photo shoot, click here.

Since Friday is our last day of class, it’s been crunch time for all 11 of us. Our evenings are filled with group meals and homework in A4 kitchen and more recently B3 kitchen, which is affectionately known as “the cottage.” Everyone has been working hard to finish up their visual profiles, picture book and museum projects before tomorrow’s deadline. It’s been a whirlwind two weeks in Barcelona, but we’ve all loved every minute of it and cannot wait to see what Madrid has in store for the coming weeks.

On one final note, in commemoration of our final day as “the jersey boys,” here’s a little video presentation Adam and I created and perfected with all of our abundant free time.

Adios!

John

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6 Comments

Filed under Barcelona

6 responses to “The End of an Era

  1. Great blog! The video is very touching!

  2. Amy

    The Jersey boys Rock Barcelona and watch out Madrid here they come!!! What a wonderful and clever video – look forward to seeing the next one from Madrid!

    Thanks John and Adam for the great blog posts today –

  3. LORIE

    I enjoyed your video and your blog. Sounds like the best time ever.

  4. Pingback: The Final Chapter « MSU Spain 2010

  5. Nancy (adam's mom)

    Hi, John – feels like you’re family now, after watching that video. Glad you’re all having such a great time. I’m enjoying following the group adventures through the blog. I hope Madrid is just as fun.

  6. Gary L. Kalmar

    Jersey Boys: Whenever you close one door, there is another to open & walk through. Lots more doors in Madrid to open & walk through…

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