Barcelona, Spain - August 14, 2007. A story about a day of free time in a city far from home is in part a story about transportation. At home you've figured out how to get around. When you travel to a new city, you have to start from scratch figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B. When the entire tour group goes somewhere together, it's easy. You just get on the bus, and the bus driver takes you from one destination to the next. But when it's free time for more than 20 people, it's considerably more complicated.
When you're visiting a city in the USA, you can rent a car or take a taxi. In some cities, you can add walking to that list, and in a handful of cities, you can use the subway, metro or el.
Barcelona offers all of those options, plus one that isn't viable in the USA – renting a motor bike (or as they say in Spain, a moto.) Motos are everywhere, and offer advantages over cars. Besides being more economical, they are much easier to park. Lines of motos parked neatly along sidewalks is a very common sight with nary a place to park a car anywhere to be seen.
So one group of the travelers, including the assistant coaches and most of the support staff, decided to rent motos to get around town. The rental agents first showed everybody (including Assistant Coach Kim Rosamond) how to operate the bike.
Video Coordinator Clare Droesch, Assistant Coach Lisa Cermignano, recent women's basketball graduate Caroline Williams
The players on the team wanted to go to the beach, so Basketball Travelers arranged for the tour bus to take them to the beach in the late morning, then pick them up later in the afternoon. This was their first opportunity for "the team, the whole team, and nothing but the team", allowing them to spend time together while the rest of the tour group was hither, thither, and yon. In this photo: Liz Sherwood, Lauren Lueders, Amy Malo, Jessica Mooney.
One of the great things about the location of the hotel in Barcelona is that there are some wonderful restaurants within walking distance, so a long leisurely lunch featuring top-notch Catalan cuisine with a little shopping along the way was a pleasant way for some to spend several hours – and comfortable walking shoes was all that was needed for transportation.
Also, La Pedrera, another one of Gaudi's works, is a short walk away from the hotel. As you can see from the line at the entrance, it's a very popular tourist spot, but even if you don't go in, it nevertheless makes an interesting sight if you're walking around the area.
And it wasn't even necessary to leave the hotel to have an enjoyable experience. The 10th floor of the hotel features a swimming pool and patio with a panoramic view of the city. The beautiful weather made it an exceptionally pleasant place to spend some time.
After the sun went down, the motos were put to good use once again. In this photo: Vicky Picott, Lisa Cermignano, and Justin VanOrman.
Others opted for tapas on at one of the terrazos along the street within a couple of blocks of the hotel.
After their trip to the beach, the players came back to the hotel, changed clothes, rested and went out to dinner. After dinner, they came back to the hotel and made a visit to the roof, which is as beautiful at night as it is during the day. In this photo: Ashlee Bridge and Tina Wirth.
On Wednesday, it will be time to check out of the hotel late in the morning, load the bus, say hasta luego to Barcelona, and head south to Valencia.
Photos copyright 2007 by Whitney D for VandyMania.com