After an incredible couple days in Barcelona, the team traveled to the capital of Spain – Madrid. Blessed with a few more hours of deserved rest, the boys had a relaxing morning before the bus ride to the train station. When 12:50 pm came around, many on the team had their very first cross-country train experience. It was quite the adventure. With just under 3 hours from Barcelona to Madrid, some of the players chose to spend their time reading, sleeping, or eating. However, what the majority found themselves doing was taking in the breathtaking views provided by the Spanish countryside. The scenes from the windows of the train were unreal - ones that you would find in paintings. We got a little of taste of other parts of Spain that we passed through on the train and each was unique with different terrains and climates being displayed. Overall, it was not your typical subway ride found in the big cities of the United States - it was better.
We reached Madrid around 3:45 pm. First impression of Madrid – BIG. This was evident just stepping off the train and walking to the bus that took us to our hotel. One of the big differences that Spain maintains versus the U.S. is that everyone is so active. When seeing the amount of bikers or moped-ers (there is a lot of those), games being played, or folks out for daily exercise – the natural tendency is to feel almost “Closter-phobic”. But it was a warming feeling as well. Seeing a culture so active provides a good feeling inside as well as giving the opportunity to see and experience new things. Once we arrived at the hotel, everything was quickly thrown down in our rooms; we had dinner and then set out to the Santiago Bernabeu.
One of the differences between Barcelona and Madrid was how each city treats their home clubs. In Barcelona, the club is definitely more intertwined with its surrounding culture – kind of giving off a homier less flashy feel. On the other hand, Madrid is all flash. Big city, big stadium, big club. Seating almost 105,000 people, the home of Real Madrid was quite the spectacle, and to add to that, the game it held was the reflected the same. Madrid played the German side – Schalke. With this match being the second out of a two match series, it was bound to get exciting. The score was 2-2 at half, and ended 4-3. An amazing display by both teams allowed for the Furman boys to experience world class football at its finest. Not only was the game great, but also the tickets included VIP seating and food – which led to a great night and even greater memories shared by both the players and alumni.
Take a look below at some of the highlights of today!