Thursday, April 11, 2013

MTC Excursion to Real Madrid Soccer Stadium

All of you Soccer (or futbol as it's really called) Fans can eat your hearts out.  On Thursday, preparation day for the missionaries in the MTC, we have outings in the afternoon for those that are interested in seeing some of the sights around this magnificent city.  Today 13 missionaries, myself and 2 staff members took the Metro and toured the legendary home of Real Madrid Soccer.  The name of the stadium is Santiago Bernabeu (sorry, I don't know what the name stands for; maybe one of you soccer aficionados can tell us).
If there are parents who occasionally check our blog and your son or daughter is not in this posting, I apologize.  I can only go on one outing each Thursday and these are the missionaries that went today to Real Madrid, so maybe next week I'll be with a different group.  There are currently 65 missionaries and tomorrow 8 more arrive from the U.S., and then next week 11 from Italy.  Things will get interesting because the MTC was originally built to house 72.  Thus begins the wave, or tsunami, of missionaries.  It's exciting but hectic.
Leaving the MTC for our Outing.  In the foreground, Hermano Cuesca, in charge of exercise program and related activities.
 At the Stadium.  
Sister Noakes is something of a soccer fanatic, having played at the high school, collegiate and club levels
 Group Picture Outside the Stadium, called Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
 Going into the Metro from Pavones, the Metro stop nearest the Temple.  Don't know what the artwork interpretation is supposed to be but the Sisters are creeped out by it.
 Here we are, inside the stadium.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  It was breath-taking.  Notice the strange looking wheeled contraptions on the field in the lower right.  They were some sort of space age mega-lights used to enhance the growth of grass, and they move slowly like giant sprinklers on alfalfa from one end of the pitch to the other.  I think it seats somewhere around 90,000.  
All individual seats.  No benches.  Five levels and not a bad seat in the house.
 Excited missionaries to be in the stadium
 Located inside the stadium is a giant museum of the greatest moments and players in history, and also a lot of interesting artifacts from the history of the sport, such as the pictures below:
 I really like the artifacts from the first days of the sport in Madrid.  The art of manufacturing soccer balls has definitely improved over the years.

 One of the greatest athletes to ever play the game, Alfredo Di Stefano
A golden cast of his foot.  He played back when I was a baby.  Real Madrid was unbeatable back in the 1950s.  Kind of like the Green Bay Packers under Vince Lombardi a decade later.

There are long hallways filled with trophies of every size and description from the past glory days.
 View of the Pitch from the VIP seats
 Missionaries in the VIP seats.  It'll probably be a while before any of them sit here to watch a game.
 More missionaries in the VIP seats
 The grass-growing machines.
 Down on the Pitch where the players sit
 On the Pitch
 On the Pitch
 On the Pitch
 On the Pitch
 On the Pitch.  Elder Malan kissing the "Holy Ground"
 On the Pitch
 On the Pitch.  Sister Noakes, in her exuberance and unknown to the rest of us, was wearing a Real Madrid jersey under her suit jacket, which she revealed here on the Pitch.
 My moment of glory on the Pitch
 In the "First Team" locker room.  Before last year this was not open to the public.  You can see Ronaldo's locker in the foreground.  It was pretty awesome.
 Sitting in the Team "dugout" where they sit during the game, right on the Pitch.
 There was a life-sized team photo from last year's victorious team, so the missionaries assumed the "sitting" position (no real bench) while I took their picture.
There were more photos but that's probably enough to bore everyone who's either not a parent or a soccer fan.  Jared (my son), eat your heart out.  I thought of you every step of the way.
Next post will be of the incredible trip last Tuesday to La Granja and Segovia.  I took 130 pictures, so I'm doing a lot of editing before I post, but it's hard to leave any out.  I'll try to put in some interesting history as well as photos.  See you soon.


  1. my what beautiful places you were able to visit, had the wonderful company, we miss you.
    love, Carroll

  2. Thanks for sharing! It was great to see more pics of our son, Elder Day and get a little better view of things.;)

  3. Santiago Bernabéu was the chairman of the club from about 1958 to 1998, and had a lot to do with making Real Madrid into a giant of the soccer world. So they named the stadium after him.