Wednesday, 28 March 2007

A v Andorra (In Barcelona) 28.3.2007

A v Andorra

We landed home on the Tuesday afternoon from Israel and headed home from Heathrow. No spare times as the very next day we were on to Barcelona for the Andorra match. We left home at 6am for a 6.30am check in at Gatwick for the Thomas Cook day trip. We landed just after 11.30am and just after midday were at the bottom of Las Ramblas, the main street through old Barcelona. We met up with a few mates and settled down for an early beer whilst we considered our options for the day. The game didn't kick off until 9pm local time so we had a few hours ahead. We walked up to the main Cathedral (La Seu in the Gothic part of the old town) and then hoped into a taxi and onto the world famous Sagrada Familia(a new Church being built to the design by Gaudí). Its a quite stunning bit of architecture and construction. It was started 125 years ago and they reckon a few more years yet before completion. It is massive, the main tower will be 173 feet high when finished. The recently constructed stain glass windows are stunning. After that it was back towards the Gothic area and time for some food and drinks. We found a local restaurant and tucked into some great food and wine. We then headed back towards Las Ramblas and another bar before getting our coach at 7pm to the Olympic Stadium (home of Espanyol).

The ground is a concrete bowl with very little cover, luckily is was pouring with rain and a howling gale so just like Withdean. The weather had been bad all day which meant all boat trips and the cable cars had been suspended so a few touristy activities curtailed. The match - well 12,000 England fans on the players back from the kick off didn't help. Ok booing at half time but it pi**ed me off when people just booed and shouted abuse during the match. Yes we were very poor again but thank god for Steven Gerrard. 2 great goals and a vital 3 points secured.After the game it was straight back to the airport and out 00.30 flight back to Gatwick. By the time we had landed, they had got the steps up to the plane and we had gone through passport control it was 2.40am.

Mark R

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Monday, 26 March 2007

A v Israel (more pictures)

More pictures from Israel

Part i of the blog can be found here and part ii here

Site of the fields of the Shepherds

The birth place of Jesus

Sunday, 25 March 2007

A v Israel 24.3.2007 (Monday - Tuesday)

A v Israel continued from here

Monday and it was up early again this time to go to Nazareth to see the Church of the Annunciation (where Mary was told by Angel Gabriel that she was to have the son of god)

We then move on to Capernaum where Jesus held his ministry,

Then on to the sea of Galilee

We stopped at a great viewing point with Syria to our left, Jordan to the right and the sea of Galilee in front, we were at sea level and the sea of Galilee is 600 feet below you!

Next it was the river Jordan (you cant go to Jericho where Jesus was baptised as that is closed of at the moment due to the unrest?.

We then went to the church of the multiplication where the miracle of the fishes and loaves to feed 5,000 and the sight of his appearance after his resurrection. Once again a long day (7am to 5pm) but well worth it.

I am not religious so leave it to others as to whether they believe these things happened or not. Its amazing that you get Bethlehem, the Western Wall and the Dome of the rock which are the central points of Christianity,Judaism and Muslim all within a few miles of each other, yet the hatred between these people is obvious. There is one house in old jerusalem owned by a Jew in a Muslim area,
and yes they have built a bl**dy great fence round it to protect him!

Tuesday and it was a more relaxed day. We wandered through the main park in Tel Aviv and a river runs through the middle. We saw lots of King Fishers, Herons, stalks and parakeets.

Some pictures from the park on the edge of Tel Aviv. If you click on the last picture it enlarges and yes it is a pied kingfisher!!

................................................................See I told you!!!

It was a great way to finish our time in Israel, sitting in the sun in a nice peaceful park. We walked back to the train station through the new modern Tel Aviv and were soon at the airport ready to fly back to Heathrow.

Mark R