Spanish adventure
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Spanish adventure

Forget Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, there are other ways to enjoy the land of the flamenco

travel Updated: Jul 23, 2012 15:02 IST

Zoya Akhtar inspired many of us to make our way to sunny Spain. But getting in the way of snorting bulls or sky-diving from 15,000 feet are signs of lunacy! While I've tried my hand at crazy sports, adventure shouldn't only be confined to pushing yourself physically. In fact, life's greatest adventures push you to see with a renewed vision. And few places do that that like Spain.

FC Barcelona
The red and yellow cards are just colours to me! I am a complete novice when it comes to 'futball', as it's referred to in Spain. But to give Camp Nou a miss would be sacrilege because football is to Spain what cricket is to India. I sign up for the self-guided tour of the legendary home stadium of FC Barcelona and the museum, which retraces the steps of the greatest players of the team.

My favourite part of the tour is the interactive section. Here, with just one touch of the finger, you can re-live the most thrilling moments of the Club; hear the deafening, atmospheric sounds of Camp Nou when packed with cheering audiences and groove to the Barca theme song.

Next, walk through the very space traversed by the players to enter the field. With pre-recorded sound effects cheering me on, I'm inches away from the pitch. As my tour ends, I take back a memento -- a photo of me holding an imitation trophy. I feel like a winner.

A trip here makes visitors realise that FC Barcelona is true to its motto of being 'more than a club'. It isn't about kicking a ball, it's about pushing your limits and unlocking your potential. Log on to:

The flamenco is fiery. And few places can put up an act as electric as the Tablao Cordobes, run by living legends, consisting of generations of flamenco artistes.

The venue is modelled in Andalucian style -- arched roofs, mosaic tiles and wooden seating; apt since flamenco displays the gritty spirit of the gypsies of Spanish Andalucia.

The passionate dancers can get your heart to skip a beat as they take the pitch up a notch or three! The frenetic tapping of their feet is rhythmic and has an edgy quality to it. The clapping of the hands, the movement of the legs, are so fast-paced, they're almost a blur. The emotion etched in the faces of the dancers is unbridled. This is as intense as dance and drama can get.

I don't comprehend a word, yet I am moved by the raw emotion. I wonder why we are touched so much by extreme sport, or extreme emotions in art. Both of which eventually lead to us to question the direction of our lives.
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Sagarada Familia
It's unfinished, yet it is perfect. This is the Sagrada Familia, a UNESCO heritage site in Barcelona that's been in construction for 130 years. Cranes hover around the spires, yet to me it's complete. For the more curious, I might add that the masterpiece is slated to be finished in 2028.

This piece defined the life of Gaudi, one of the most misunderstood artists of the country. Driven not by love of money, yearning not even for basic comforts, Gaudi died while trying to find funds to complete this cathedral. His death, like his life, was dramatic -- he was run over by a tram. He lay there, dressed scruffily, mistaken for a beggar.

This artist who has today earned the site millions in entry fees alone, died in abject poverty. But his life was rife with passion, and his ideas are, even today, ahead of the times. A closer look at his work and I try to figure out what motivated the mad genius. Through figurines dotting the cathedral, it's as if Gaudi tried to get heaven to merge with Earth -- the angels, inscriptions, biblical scenes meshed with nature's symbols such as birds and flowers. The architectural style is beyond adventurous -- a mishmash of Art Nouveau, Modernist and Late Gothic. Gaudi defied logic by avoiding straight lines and the result is a wonderfully flawed structure.

Gaudi's greatness lay in following his heart, which defied the norm. But he paid the price -- a life of scarcity.
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Circuit de Catalunya

I've been driving for over a decade, but the miles I've raked in barely touch five digits. However, having stepped out of my comfort zone by entering a football club, I am ready for another rush -- the circuit de Catalunya at Montmeló, the track that hosts the Spanish Grand Prix.

Before I can see the track, I hear it. As I catch my first glimpse of it, I see colours whizzing past me -- red, yellow and black. There's no time to notice the names of the cars. I wonder what's it like to get behind the wheel, but am only brave enough to experience it vicariously through a tour.

The tour takes me virtually through the track -- I am told about its history and the victories since its inception in 1991. I walk through the pressroom, and picture the blinding flash of cameras, the buzz on race day. Next, I enter the control room and get an idea of the mechanics behind the sport. Before the tour, I was a cynic --
I wondered what could possibly make people want to risk their lives in tiny metal boxes. While I still wouldn't get behind the wheel, I now understand the need for speed.

First Published: Jul 23, 2012 15:02 IST