Blizzard Thunder: My Site News

Sunday, July 4
Arrived Safely

We have arrived safely after a long flight.  Many boys received only 1 or 2 hours sleep with all of the excitement.  They were extremely well behaved on both legs of the journey.

We met up with our guide and were on the bus to the hotel.  Kevin and Bob were waiting at the hotel for us.  Everyone quickly put on their shorts as it is very warm.  We headed out on foot to find a park to kick the ball around.  Barcelona is very hilly.  Up, down, up, down.  After about an hour we found there were no fields close by.  There were parks but no grass.

 We decided to go get a cool drink and then have a quick shower.  Next - off to the pizza place - no time for sitting around.  Lunch was great.

Next it was time for a short nap - one to two hours.  Now, some of the boys are heading off to the beach. 

Dinner will be at 9:00 tonight. 

Next update after training session.

Monday, July 5
Training Session

Can you say HOT!!!

This morning was a training session with a coach from FC Barcelona.  We took 3 trains to get there.  Not too bad of a trip. 

The fields here are all turf as they have trouble with grass because of water restrictions.  The boys had a session for 1 1/2 hours.  They were all completely worn out from the heat.  Most jumped in a cold shower after before heading back.  The session was very good. 

Coach Ron graciously bought everyone ice-cream before we headed to the trains.  It was a welcome relief.  After a nice lunch the boys chilled out watching a movie.

Our friendly game is coming up in a couple of hours.

more to come.....

Tuesday, July 6
First Games

Our friendly was a lot of fun.  The stadium was great - they watered the turf before we played to cool it down.  Stands for the parents.  The boys were a little smaller than ours, which was a bit of a handicap.  We draw penalties when they are shorter.  It was a good game.  Our boys were happy for the win.

We went out for dinner in a great 3 or 4 story restaurant.  We went through the kitchen, up and up and up.  There were 35 of us so they put us in a far corner so we could not bother everyone.  We had a marachi band playing etc.  Lots of fun.

Our first game was this morning  at 9:00 a.m. so we were a little tired after the late dinner.  In the end we lost 4-0.  Nice stadium, with a big climb to get there.  Would have been a great view of the city, but a little hazy today.

We headed down to Las Rambles for lunch and a little shopping. Then off to the beach.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  We marched in the opening ceremonies with Paul giving the oath in English.  GREAT JOB PAUL.

Now watching the Netherlands/Uruguay game.  GO ORANGE!!!

Wednesday, July 7
quick update
busy day today - first was our game - lost to a Spain team.  headed out shopping and then to the Stadium used by FC Barcelona.  AWESOME.  Now watching the Spain/Germany game - very noisy here so will have to write later.  new photos to be posted later as well.

Thursday, July 8
A Gaudi Day

Today we started with a very good game.  Although we lost 2-1, we played well.  We head into the playoff round tomorrow with good spirits.

Following lunch we headed out for our Gaudi Afternoon.  We visited the Sagrada Familia - there are a couple of photos on the Web.  Then we headed to Parc Guell.  Beautiful park - very large.  We are getting ready to go to the 'Friends Forever' Party.  The boys are not sure if they want to go, but we will check it out for a bit.

Everyone is very excited that Spain is playing in the final.  Many boys have purchased either Barcelona FC shirts or Spain shirts.  Should be fun.

by for now.

Friday, July 9

Today was one of 'those' kind of days. 

It actually started at the 'friends forever' party last night.  We were the only team there for the first 1/2 hour.  We decided to leave.  A few teams showed up as we were leaving but NO GIRLS.  No one wanted to stay.

This morning we started with a game against England.  We lost 2-1 again.  It was disappointing.  The biggest disappointment was that Parker broke his arm a few minutes before the game was over.  Some big brute took him down.  They were very apologic after the game, but that did not help.  Luckily (in a weird way) there was a private hospital across the street from the field.  Elaine and Terry and our guide took him over and he was out in just over 2 hours. 

The boys headed out to the beach while most parents went on the wine tour.  The boys had a lot of fun, making friends with the local girls, and playing with frisbees and beach balls.  Unfortunately, the group lost Carmen on the way.  She was then pick-pocketed.  She lost all of the her cash, but that was all.  Not a very pleasant experience.  I am sure they will tell you all about it.

The parents had a good time touring the vineyard and sampling the wine.

Heading to the Picasso Museum tomorrow.

Saturday, July 10

Today we headed out to the Picasso Museum. We walked through in groups to see the different works from the 1880's to 1957. 

Following this we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. 

It has been a quieter day than usual - we are now heading to watch the 3/4 game in the hotel. 

Tomorrow will be a busy day as we head out to Girona and then cheer on the final game.

Sunday, July 11

The Jensen Family left us last evening.  I hope you had a safe flight.

Today we headed out early to Girona.  This is one of the top 10 important historical sites in Spain.  We visited the Catedral.  There are 90 steps to the doors.  Mass was taking place when we arrived.  We went through the Museum and saw a tapestry from the 11 or 12 century.  There is also a wall around the old part of the city which provided us with great views.

We are heading out soon to watch the world cup FINAL at a local Tapas Bar with two other soccer teams from the US.  This should be a lot of fun as there are supporters for both sides on our team.  An update will be posted later this evening. 

Sunday, July 11
Spain Wins

We have experienced a world cup win in the country of the winner.  Our celebration was not as crazy as seen on TV but great none the less.  We wanted the boys to experience things safely - it worked.  The Tapa Bar downstairs was crazy with local fans.  We were upstairs with other soccer teams. 

We left by bus immediately after the game.  All cars are blowing horns, fireworks everywhere and a lot of people in the streets.

To those leaving tomorrow, have a safe journey.  There may be a few more updates from Madrid where a parade will be held for the winning team.

Thanks to Artzai for all of his hard work while looking after us in Barcelona.  He is a great guy.

MANY MANY Thanks to CATHY for EVERYTHING she has done here (and before getting here too.)

Monday, July 12

We have arrived safely in Madrid.  The AVE high speed train was a pleasure.  Air conditioned, free drink and snack.  It zooms along at speeds up to 300km/hr.  Our hotel is two blocks from the train station so walked over and had a quiet afternoon.  We are about to head up to our square at the end of the road by the train station to watch the parade of the Spanish team.  We elected to stay around here because Madrid is a little crazy today!

We will do our walking tour of Madrid tomorrow and then go to the Palace Real or Prado.

Tuesday, July 13
The Parade

The boys and Jenna waited from 7 until 9:45 for the players to pass by with the world cup.  Their patience paid off and they saw the bus and felt the elation of the crowd.  Most exciting world cup tour we have had!

Cathy and the 5 boys got up quite early today and did our tour of Madrid.   We then did the Rick Steeves walking tour from Plaza Mayeur to the Cathedral.  Then over to the Royal Palace.  We spent just over an hour in the palace and now have returned to the hotel.  The boys are exhausted and need a nap.

Wednesday, July 14
Tired Boys

We were picked up at our hotel in Madrid just after 8 this morning for our trip to Toledo.  It was a very quick tour without a lot of time to browse for swords and daggers (what the boys were really interested in).  They slept on the bus on the way there and on the way back.  Everyone is tuckering out.  This afternoon they played hide and seek with a bow and arrow set they bought.....


Tomorrow we have decided on the Prado and Bernbau, then a final group dinner to say goodbye to Spain.  Everyone is looking forward to the cold weather back home.