The Pack In Spain
Aug. 7, 2012
It was a long travel day. Approximately 15 hours or so of buses, airports and airplanes.
Moving a large number of people through an airport takes a lot of organization and coordination. Fortunately, we had both. Coaches, players, staff and other travel party members were checked in with ease and after the obligatory TSA screening, there was still about 45 minutes to wait before boarding the flight.
While waiting for our departure, former NC State player Ilian Evtimov stopped by to say hello to the group and wished us luck on our tour. Ilian was on his way back to France to begin his season.
As one might imagine, there were several Wolfpack fans and other onlookers curious to where our group was heading. Most wished us luck and our fans said they couldn't wait until October.
It was strange leaving at 5 p.m. on Sunday and arriving in Madrid at 7:30 a.m. on Monday.
Fortunately, getting into Spain was easy. All of our passports were reviewed and given the stamp of approval.
The weather in Madrid is definitely a stark contrast to hot and humid summer days in Raleigh. The air was cool and crisp when the party walked outside the airport terminal, reminiscent of a fall day. Even as the day progressed, the temperature was still comfortable
The players were excited to see a piece of Americana when we pulled up to the hotel -- the Burger King next door. They may be in for a surprise if a Whopper isn't made quite the same way as back in the U.S.
At lunch, fatigue was beginning to show throughout the travel party. Most of us looked forward to catching a nap after lunch with a few hours before a late dinner and a show. In the Spanish culture, businesses shut down for a couple of hours around 2 p.m. and reopen at 4 p.m. Even with its attachment to traditional values, Madrid is a constantly moving city with great architecture. This leads to many late dinners with some natives and tourists alike dining well after 10 p.m.
The Pack got a little earlier start with a meal at 8 p.m., followed by a display of authentic flamenco dancing. If you've never seen flamenco dancing, you should check it out. These dancers are in tremendous physical shape as they moved about the stage in solo, pairs and group dances with powerful leg kicks and stomping of feet.
That capped a day long on travel, but a fun one so far. Tuesday is the Pack's first game versus CB Torrejon. The Pack gets to experience back-to-back games, facing the same squad Wednesday before heading to the Canary Islands on Thursday.