On our third day in Barcelona, we toured the Sagrada Família, a large Roman Catholic Church that was first started in 1882. The craziest part about this piece is that it is not projected to be completed until 2026! The tour of Sagrada Família was one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture I've seen in my life. I know it seems like an over exaggeration but Antoni Gaudí - the architect - made so many small details in this work and it can't be matched. The colors and massiveness of the project is unbelievable. I love how even though Gaudí could not live to see the project complete, it's like a living memory of his hard work and dedication.
Later we had a pregame meal and got ready for our last game of our foreign tour. We came out with the big win over the Barcelona All-Stars but the experience playing overseas was most important. I loved every moment and to be able to play against people from other countries who cherish the same sport that I do was incredible. It was a great experience to compete against these girls. They were so nice and we were able to swap jerseys with them at the end of the game. I loved that part because we were able to unite in a way that went further than the game of basketball.
Our last day in Barcelona was unmatched by any other day. We went on a catamaran boat out into the Mediterranean Sea. The water was crystal blue and in some areas you can see right through it. We were all able to go on the same boat, so one can only imagine the size of it. The boat had a small shaded section with a small little dance floor where we were provided with sodas and water. In the front of the boat there were places to tan and lay out. Once we got to about an hour into the ride they stopped the boat and let people jump in and swim. We even got Coach La-Force to jump in off the boat! We played music and really enjoyed each other others company.
After the boat tour we said "Gracias" to our captains. We walked the long boardwalk to the beach as the sun beamed down on our backs. Coach La-Force told us the time in which we should be back and brought us to our meeting place. After that we were able to explore the beach, shop on the streets, or get the delicious food they had to offer. Most of us split up in groups of about three or more. Two of the girls and myself decided to eat first because we were hungry. We had paella, a Spanish cuisine with veggies, rice, sauce, and your choice of meat, seafood, or veggie. It was great! After we decided to hit the strip of vendors that sold a variety of things. We spent our last hour and a half on the beach swimming and tanning. It was a long day but I really enjoyed our beach day.
We got back to the hotel and spent our last adventure together at our team meal. The restaurant was on the top of the mall close to our hotel that had a view of the city. We had paella again as our main course but honestly it never gets old. I would recommend it to anyone. We finished off with ice cream as our dessert. We took pictures on the rooftop with an amazing view. The sun was setting and it was a beautiful sight to see. It looked over Barcelona with backgrounds of orange, reds, and pinks. It was a splendid way to end what seemed to be a very long trip.
The worst part was leaving Barcelona. But nothing can be worse than leaving the hotel at 3:45 a.m. First we had a flight to Lisbon, where we said or goodbyes to our teammate Marta. Then we took off to Boston on TAP Portugal at around 10:45 a.m. It felt like a quick flight back home. It was a bittersweet moment but I think everyone was happy to return home and back to their families after such a long trip.
I learned so much about the culture in Portugal and Spain. However, I learned even more about the girls I spend almost 24/7 with - I didn't think that was possible but I did! It was fun to experience the tours, food, shopping, and culture with them. Basketball was not the only thing on our minds. It was a small break away from our hectic lives. Even though basketball was not the only thing on our minds we took advantage of the opportunity to play overseas. The competition was great and so were the teams we played against. That experience is something that most teams do not get. Being young with some new faces gave us the opportunity to work things out that otherwise would have to wait until September. Overall, coming into my senior year at URI, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
I look forward to seeing you all at our games this season, so until then… Go Rhody!