I’m a huge soccer fan. You can ask any one of my friends or family and they will tell you, if there’s a day I’m not at school or work (sometimes even when I am) I am usually watching soccer. This all started during the 2014 World Cup. That’s the first time I remember sitting down and getting lost in a game. However, since soccer wasn’t very popular in the United States there were only about five teams that were regularly broadcast throughout the actual soccer season. One of those teams was F.C. Barcelona. For those of you who don’t know, they are basically the equivalent of Golden State in basketball, or the Patriots in football. I have not missed a Barcelona match in well over a year and I fully plan to be sitting at Camp Nou for an El Clasico at some point in my life. Spending the summer in Europe (Prague to be specific), I really wanted to make it out to Barcelona and see the home of the greatest team in sports (lets be honest, it’s a fact not an opinion). I’m proud to say I made it happen and the weekend I spent in Barcelona was one of the greatest I have ever had.

When I landed in Barcelona that Friday, I was greeted immediately by something we all know a little too well…humidity. Europe is severely lacking in the A/C department, so you never want it to be too hot or humid, but it was actually a welcome reminder of my old Kentucky home after a month and a half spent in Europe… even if I was sick of it five minutes later. Regardless, the next day was spent hanging out with some friends on the beach and bargaining for anything from blankets and souvenirs to mojitos and donuts (shout-out to the dude sprinting around with a plate holding them on his head). We quickly learned we were terrible when it came to reaching an agreed price, so it became a consistent joke when someone approached. They would start the offers at 15 euros and we would counter with 5. They would eventually tell us the lowest they were allowed to go was to 10 euros to which our response would be “Best we can do is 6”. Needless to say, most of the beach bargainers started to avoid us after a while. I’m sure they were glad the rowdy group of American guys only went to the beach for a day. That night, our group tried to make it into a bar crawl but a friend of ours fell in the first bar. Sporting a busted lip and a cut on his forehead, he looked like he’d gotten into a barfight. Naturally, they wouldn’t let him into any of the bars afterwards.

The next morning was the best time I’ve had on any trip I’ve ever been on. We visited the stadium of my favorite soccer team, Camp Nou. Like I said, I basically live for this team so walking through the hallways of the stadium I thought I’d never get to see was surreal. I got my photograph in front of the Champions League trophy they won in 2015 and stood with my mouth agape as I gazed at Lionel Messi’s five Ballon D’or’s. Later in the tour we were able to walk through the player’s tunnel and see the visiting team’s loccer room and the prayer room that is off to the side. Let’s just say I spent a lot of time there and may have called my parents to ask what a “healthy” amount of money was to spend on souvenirs. I have zero regrets.

I spent my last day in Barcelona touring the city on my own, which may sound lonely, but it wasn’t all that bad. First off, I simply roamed through the city. I was honestly trying to find my way back to Camp Nou, but ended up getting a cab to La Sagrada Familia. From there, I walked through the streets and made my way to the Arc de Triomf and took several photos in front of that. Since those were the top two on my bucket list I then proceeded to roam through Barcelona and eventually found my way into a large park. A little thing most people don’t realize is that parakeets are actually wild birds in Barcelona. So naturally I spent the next hour chasing them around in the park trying to get a cool picture of one. If you must know, I never did…

That’s the basic rundown of my time in Barcelona. It quickly became my favorite city in Europe and not just because I was biased and obsessed with their soccer team. Whether it was the beaches, the food, the nightlife, or simply the energy the people in the city seemed to possess, Barcelona was all around amazing. I will definitely be visiting this amazing city sometime in the future and I will definitely be back for a soccer match as well. Barcelona was truly amazing, and I couldn’t be more sad that I had to