Oliver in Spain: Here come the Parents!

This weekend I was lucky to host my parents in Valencia! But, before I get into that I want to talk a little about my weekend in Barcelona.

Last weekend, along with 10+ friends on my program, I took a train from Valencia to Barcelona. While most of my friends rented an apartment for the weekend I stayed with my friend Tom, who has been studying there this semester (saved me about 60€). I had never been to Barcelona before and so I was thrilled at my first chance to head up the coast to this huge city. After spending the previous 6 weeks in Valencia, Barcelona looks like New York City and my eyes lit up at night. While in this city I checked off four big things: Park Güell (the mosaic gardens by Gaudí), Sagrada Familia (the crazy looking church), Camp Nou (CF Barcelona’s stadium), and a live Porter Robinson concert (A big EDM DJ).

Park Güell is located towards the North of the city on a hill with an unbelievable view of Barcelona. The park dates back to 1914 and is an example of the brilliance of Gaudí’s organic focus in architecture. The park, while brief, is full of mosaic tile walls, plants, and views.

View from Park Güell

View from Park Güell

Tile lizard by Gaudí

Tile lizard by Gaudí

Sagrada Familia is easily the most unique church I have ever witnessed in my life. After touring Europe for the past two months I have seen a whole lot of churches and cathedrals, but none of them looked anything like this one. It is another one of Gaudí’s organic works that results in a type of melting aesthetic with various towers and statues. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it inside the church, which I regret, so I will just have to come back!

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

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Seeing a CF Barcelona game had been on my bucket list since I started playing Fifa back in 2007. Finally, 7 years later, that dream came to fruition. Unfortunately Barça lost 1-0 in a less than spectacular game but the atmosphere of Camp Nou made up for it. This stadium is the fifth biggest in the world with almost 100,000 Catalans singing for their team. I’m glad I was able to check this one off the list. (P.S. Barça comes to la Mestalla on the 30th of November to take on Valencia. It’s a clash of top 3 teams in La Liga and I recommend you all tune in!)

Camp Nou

Camp Nou

Tom and I at Camp Nou!

Tom and I at Camp Nou!

Coming into Richmond, Porter Robinson was my favorite DJ out there. EDM music was everything, and is still huge, for kids my age so saying that this guy was a top tier talent is really saying a lot. After a two year hiatus, he released a new album with a more artsy focus. This was the tour he was on when I saw him live in Barcelona. The guy killed it. His live show lasted about four hours and it would have been impossible to even try to stand still in that club. Needless to say, I’m a bigger fan of Porter Robinson than I was before.

Now on to having my parents in Valencia this past weekend. I met Mom and Dad in the airport friday afternoon and could feel how excited they were to be in Valencia with me. It had been about two months since I had seen my parents, so naturally my mom almost cried upon seeing me. We had a busy weekend of sight seeing including the cathedral, the río park, the city of art sciences, the mercado central, tapas, and much more. All of that was a lot of fun but none of it compares to the Sunday lunch we had with my host family. My host mom cooked a four course meal and filled us up with local food and good wine. Acting as a translator between my two families was an unforgettable experience. Needless to say, we all had an awesome time and I am sad to see them leave. Mom and Dad, I’ll see you in a month and a half, but until then I’ll be hitting Madrid, London, and Budapest!

Parents and I in front of Palau de la Música

Parents and I in front of Palau de la Música

Mom and Mark!

Mom and Mark!

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