May 8th 2013, Wednesday
Good Morning Barcelona. Nice to be here. Breakfast in the hotel and after that, gathered in Bus 36. Where are we going today? We will go to Montserrat – There a Church/Monastery on the mountain for about 1 hour, 66 km from hotel. On the way to the church, we passed some mountain trails, hills, forest and it’s a beautiful view with clear blue sky and bright sun. I’ve been living for too long in the city with tall building, busy traffic and working people. Now I’m here, makes me so happy to this nature view and blue sky, The world is beautiful and amazing.
We arrived, the location is like a movie in The Lord of the Ring. A nice design building and church on the mountain, can you imagine? The Hill and mountain looks like Titan. Fresh air, clean. I love it. The church has a big wide field, big gate, and big Basilica. I’m a Buddhist but I love this place so much, so peaceful, sacred, Holy and I also prayed to God for the blessing I’m receiving here to visit this beautiful place. Montserrat also has Museum, Singing academy, Restaurant and Hotel.. It would be great if we can stay in this hotel. I wonder what is it like to be here in the night..
Time to explore. When we went inside there’s a long queue on the right side of the church. The tour guide said to line up if we wanna see BLACK MADONNA before the praying time starts at 10.00 am. I don’t quite sure about the detail about Black Madonna but they said it’s the holy statue of Maria holding the World and baby Jesus Christ, (I’m sorry If I’m wrong). I think its the material of the stone/mineral made the statue became black color through ages. Black Madonna was made/sculptured by Santo Lukas. Black Madonna is the highlight of Montserrat.
I think I’ve come this far, so I lined up. It’s a long long long passage way with rooms to go to the Black Madonna at the top floor, but it’s really nice to see every single rooms along the passage although it’s kinda dark. The room is classic with elegant and detailed curvy/floral element (Art Nouveau) on the wall and ceiling. Inside, we can see Holy statue of St. Petrus, Paintings, Colorful Glass Windows and Artworks. Feel so faithful. We’re passing through a room where we can see the big Basilica, It’s Awesomeeeee… Magnificent, just like what i saw in the Hunchback of Notre Dame or any (myth) movie. Overwhelming Atmosphere. I have to go inside the Basilica after I see Black Madonna. A lot of people are praying here. We walked and finally reach to the top floor. Black Madonna. Touch the ‘World’ and I prayed – Thank you. Just a short moment (a few second) to see Black Madonna.
After that we guided to go outside the church. Wow it’s beautiful! Colorful Candle Canes for Prayers. Purple, Magenta, Yellow, Green transparent glasses. They put the candle inside the color glass cane. Light up the fire and pray.. put it on the candle cane display under the hill. As the wind blow, the little fire start to dance inside the color cane. Clear – Colorful like I’m inside the crystal. I’m sure you love it too.
We have free time about 1-2 hours here. So I wandered around and find some nice spots to take pictures. So many people and tourist are coming now. They gathered at the big wide field. They just hang out, sitting enjoy the fresh air, chattering and bring their pet. I can see various people, from France, Taiwan, Korea etc. Prudential Agents also wandering around, and they like to take pictures with foreigners, well me too.
These are the special moments I never forget: I got a chance to take picture with a very cute bulldog… I think the dog loves me too.. I hugged him tight, then he rolled on the floor.. I rubbed his tummy >tickle< >tickle< The owners also laughed to see their Bulldog acted like that, so cutee and one more funny thing is I dance Gangnam Style in Europe with 2 beautiful ladies. They’re very friendly. They’re from France if I’m not wrong.
There’s also cafe, restaurant and shops here, I bought some liquors for my friend and also this is what I like in Montserrat – The classic farmer’s shops/tents outside the church. The farmers sell honey, jam, cheese and local tradition food they made. They’re very friendly. I bought the honey, I’ve tasted it.. It’s sweet, flowery aroma and delicious!! This place has given me a great fun and faithful experiences. I imagine they have a very peaceful life on the mountain.
Ahh.. Time is running. I’ve to go to the Basilica. I rushed inside and lucky I can still go inside. Renaissance Era! I amazed.. Wonderful with all the details in the Basilica. Every corners is ART! I amazed how can they built such a great artwork in here. I feel happy, faithful. Sitting down, breathe, grab my hands and start to Pray~
It’s a great experience to be here. We’re back to the hotel to rest, but some people went to IKEA or Carrefour for shopping. I and some Prudential Agents went to La Rambla again by subway train. Just a short time, we have to go back to hotel at 4.30 pm..they able to find some items to buy. Time is running fast.. Rush hour!! We made it in time! What is out next destination ? We will go to Gala Dinner at the biggest football field in Europe – CAMP NOU!
We were wearing the Prudential Soccer red uniform. We arrived. First thing to do is group photoshoot with the leaders/boss of Prudential. Then 1st place we visit is the Football Museum. All the people are gathering here. So crowded! I’m not a football fans so it’s quite ordinary for me.. but the museum is nice… maybe the football fans out there will envy about this. The staff welcoming us with the fresh beverages, champagne and wine here. Here, We can see the photo documentary, balls with the players signature, shoes, video, medals and champion cups etc. So many people wanna take pictures with the champion cup and anything related about MESSI, The best player of football.
We will have Gala Dinner here.. The Prudential comittee guide us to the dining room. They’re serving appetizer, main course and desserts. They have red wine! OH YEAH!! All the foods are nice especially the appetizer. I ate them all. I think it’s good enough.. But still there’s always complaints from Indonesian people.. hahahaha..
After that, I’ve been asked to go with the Prudential committee. The PCC, PRUFlyer and Birthday Prudential agents has the privilege like a VIP, so they took me (I’m a PRUflyer) to the CAMP NOU Football field first. WOW! I said I’m not the football fans, but when I’m standing at the stadium and in front of me is a big supeeeerrr wide field, the biggest football field in Europe, the field that can contains 100.000 people.. It’s SUPERB!
This is gonna be the GREATEST night for all Prudential agents, this their night to feel the moment of their hard works, their achievements…This the peak of this Barcelona Trip. We also can see the logo of Prudential shoot at the stadium. All the people has come and sit, I’m in the middle of people in red. Thousand in RED! The opening show is the song of our Indonesia Anthem – Indonesia Raya ! OVERWHELMING!! We sang it loud, we sang it proud! Continue with Prudential Theme Song “We are number ONE!” They’re all fantastic!! This is the moment!
Prudential is GREAT, the leaders are motivating their agents, they’re recognized them for the hard work and convince them that this is not their FINAL results, they have to keep moving to build their better future and achievements. Everybody else is moving while they’re enjoying this Holiday trip.. Prudential makes them proud, I can see everyone is so happy. Time for entertainments, Start with the Spanish heritage dance, Flamenco! It’s a graceful dance performance.. The male dancers also do the Tap dance and it’s awesome! They entertained us with Singers who sing The Prayers (duet), La Copa De La Vida and Waka-waka. The closing event kinda mysterious, the Prudential agents are guessing and thought they will see MESSI here, but unfortunately, they just brought the Winning Champion Cup. But I think it described a very good meaning and motivation boost for the agents, they’re Champions.
After the great night at the stadium, Camp Nou also has an official NIKE/BARCA soccer store. Special night for Prudential agents, they open until midnight. Some people went back to hotel to rest and the others are going to shopping. We can find various items here – Balls, Shirts, Shorts, Shoes, Bags, Accessories, Merchandise etc. So busy!! So many people walk around and find the items they want like crazy, The queue for paying was looonggg. I bought Shirt MESSI for my brother, bags for my sister and a set of baby costum for my nephew. Finally finish shopping at 1 am 0_O and back to hotel.
What a great night to remember..
May 5th 2013, Sunday
Yep.. this is the day.. finally has come. I still worry about my baggage. My friend, Bo, helped me to recheck my stuffs and he will take me to the airport. Before going there, we went Central Park to have a brunch and exchange more Euro. After that off we go straight to the airport.
He only dropped me and I’m waiting at Old Town White Coffee in the airport sipping my tea and start writing my journal. I have to meet the Panorama Tour Leader, Daisy Djauhari at 4.30 pm at the assembly point. I met her, a very fierce woman but reliable! There’s a lot of people there. We will going to Barcelona together. Every one will receive a package bag from Prudential, inside are Jacket, Soccer Shirt, Ulos, Umbrella. I’m usually happy receiving gift or goodie bag, but this time.. UGH! So many thing to squished inside my little bag coz my baggage is already inside the plane before I received this package bag.. Only 1 bag with 7 kg weight allowed to bring in the plane,…. Frustated! Squish – squishhh!
We’re going to Barcelona by KLM airline. They said it’s a very good airline.. well this is my first time and probably this is gonna be my most exclusive plane I ever sat on. We departed at 6.50 pm (Indonesia time) go to Kuala Lumpur for Transit. It’s about 1:30 hours and we transit for about 30 – 45 minutes and off to continue to a very loooonggg flight to Amsterdam for 12:15 hours. Ewww… It’s the first and longest time I ‘fly’ …
The flight was very smooth… no turbulence at all.. Almost all the passengers are Prudential agents. the man who sat next to me is Derry Kurnia, He will be my roommate. I like KLM :D. I love the food, I got 2 dinners – Nasi Padang and Nasi Kuning, They’re delicious! I surprised they served WINE ♥, Ahhhh I love it!!! Terra Andina 2012, Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot from Chile, 12 %, The red wine is sweet.. I wanna drink it again. Love love love!
It’s a long long long journey.. Watching the flight tracking on the seat screen. I amazed how a super giant steel can fly such a looooonnnggg distance. Corner to corner.. Curvy line – Kuala Lumpur – Amsterdam. KLM also has the video/movie service, I watched Hansel & Gretel and Mulan in the plane, entertaining :D. Start sleepy.. sometimes feel good but sitting for too long make my body ache especially my butt.. painful hahaha… need stretching once a while in the plane.. crack!
OK.. let’s sleep.. tomorrow..we will arrive at Amsterdam.
Hatyai – South Thailand is the most distant overseas trip I ever experienced. And now I’m receiving a call from my brother, Ben. “Ko, You wanna go Barcelona ?” He asked. I can’t believe what I’ve just heard, seriously? How ?? Like a dream..This Barcelona trip is from Prudential Insurance. He said that our late father has achieved the PRUflyer points more than 300 points. For those who achieve this point will get a FREE trip to Barcelona at May 2013 for a PRUflyer or a non-Prudential agent. My brother can’t go because he’s an agent and waiting for his wife to giving birth in April. And I just WOW! Really ?? I still can’t believe it. And of course I answer YES. It’s Barcelona – It’s SPAIN – It’s EUROPE!! OMG so FARRR…
It’s a FREE trip but it has a lot of procedures, registrations and documents to be complete. It’s kinda exhausted. But have to! From the Prudential office at Kota Kasablanka to the Panorama Tour office. I feel so glad when It’s all finish.. I just need to pay for the VISA, but still a little bit worried if it’s rejected, but the Panorama Tour said that I don’t have to worry, because I’m with Prudential. huff..
Yup! The date is set. I’m with Star Club 2013 – Batch B: May 5th – May 11th 2013. I’m so excited and also nervous.. First time alone with Prudential agents that I don’t know in a faraway country. Oh well..Just enjoy!! There always something first in life. It’s gonna be OK!
And I’m so nervous to prepare and making list for my packing stuff. Make sure every things I need to be well prepared. I made a long list what to bring with a little doodles..(cute). I think this is gonna be useful in the future if someday I’ll go travelling again.. or maybe you can remind me what’s missing?
To summary: Primary items to bring – The most important things of course the money, passport + visa, ticket. Camera is the greatest equipment to capture every moments, I bought SONY DSC RX-100 for this moment, It’s a great camera. Phone to keep in touch with family and friends, but I need Wi-Fi service.. Bring my best shirt to wear, so it can help us look nice in the pictures, hahaha… Toiletries might be optional because sometime you can use toiletries in the hotel..
I love to bring a journal book to write down what I felt, what I ate, what I experienced, where I went into doodle and story.. and also put some little flyer into it. I found this special journal book in the book store, quite expensive, but It was really a nice book.
I cherish the memory and it’s precious for me. 🙂