A Day In Barcelona: Messi Memories




I'm Not a Football Fan or Sports Fan in general. Yes, that includes cricket. I know I'm in the micro-minority of people here who don't like cricket being an Indian. I booked a ticket of the match between Barca (FC Barcelona) and Athletic Bilbao in La Liga league at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona because of the persuasion by my brother. I had an unique experience watching the Football Match in the largest stadium i.e. Camp Nou in Europe with a capacity of more than 100,000 spectators.

View Of Barcelona From My Flight's Window

REACHING BARCELONA

I woke up to a mild headache. Packed my things and brought my luggage all the way down to the basement for check-out. Catch a bus from rijksmuseum to airport. While commuting in bus and waiting at the airport, I was already missing Amsterdam. I wish I had more days to visit volendam, marken, explore Haarlem, catch a film at local theatre, try some more authentic local cuisines.
My flight lands in Barcelona before scheduled time. Unlike Amsterdam, most people speak No to little English in Barcelona. I learnt few spanish words such as Hola, gracias, por favor, perdon, lo siento, vamos... just to get by. Apart from Spanish, Catalan is also the official language of Catalonia region. Barcelona is capital of Catalonia. Everything is written in Catalan and Spanish only. Even the train announcements were in Spanish and Catalan only. I catch a train from airport to Passeig de Gracia station. After getting down at Passeig de Gracia station, I decided to walk for 20 minutes to my host's place instead of taking a metro. While walking the streets i get familiar with city's Infrastructure which is quite different from Amsterdam. It was cold but nowhere near Amsterdam. This is one of the reasons why i choose Barcelona with Amsterdam because of its relatively less cold weather. After reaching the neighbourhood, I asked directions from a shopkeeper. The guy told me to wait while he attends the customer and surprisingly he went along with me to locate the building. He was trying to say something about his culture in broken English but stopped as we arrived at my host's building. I thanked him and we bid adieu. I forgot the flat number. Luckily, I rang the right bell out of two possible options. As mentioned by the host earlier there's no lift available in the building. I had to carry my extra heavy (thanks to the amsterdam shopping) luggage all the way to 4th floor. I was really tired. Since i had few hours in hand. I took a nap or as they say in Spain: "Siesta."

Entrance to Camp Nou

REACHING CAMP NOU

I took more than a "nap" and was running late. I head out to reach nearest metro station. I already bought the T10 card @ 10 € on arrival which enables me to take 10 rides on public transport. After multiple unsuccessful attempts at locating my platform I finally board the metro. Language is big constraint here. Thankfully, I had already downloaded the Catalan and Spanish Google translation which came in handy. I get down at Palau Reial station and head out to find this huge stadium nearby. One of the biggest stadiums in the world. I barely make it on time and ran towards my gate. Upon entry I was directed towards the stairs. I started climbing the stairs. 10 20 30 40 I lost count, after climbing zillion (it sure felt like that!) stairs, I somehow reached my row and finally at my seat which was occupied by the Korean couple. He politely asks me to sit on his seat which was right next to mine. I agreed and he gave me thumbs up. I felt pretty good. I thought at least someone is acknowledging my superhuman effort to climb this Mount Everest! I saw the kick off while adjusting into my seat. And so it begins!



An Almost Full Camp Nou

An Almost Empty Camp Nou

Time For Fanboy Pictures

The Guy Must Be Thinking "Why He's Taking Our Picture While All The Action Is In front!



BARCA Vs ATHLETIC BILBAO


It was almost a full house. Crowd were cheering, screaming, doing unique antics to see FC Barcelona win. Whole stadium were chanting only one word zillion times BARCA BARCA BARCA BARCA. Dude sitting next to me blows his trumpet-sounding whistle every time he disagrees with referee's decision or smell foul play by opposite team followed by curse words (I'm pretty sure of it) in his mother tongue. He seems like that kind of fan who get pissed off at little things. I'm not sure what he would do if in case FC Barcelona lose. Thankfully, FC Barcelona soon scored their first goal and whole stadium went crazy. Even I got pretty excited watching my first live goal. I was really enjoying the match. Pretty soon something happened which most of the fans were eagerly waiting for. Messi is awarded a free-kick and crowd were ecstatic! People start chanting MESSI MESSI MESSI MESSI... Everyone was closely watching the Messi and he did not disappoint. He scored the goal and people went berserk. And I can clearly see how the goal was scored since I was sitting right parallel to the goal post. Pretty awesome view. Messi's free-kick was flapped by the Goalkeeper and it ends up going in the far corner of the net. He is indeed a sports legend. First half break comes as a breathing space from all the excitement around me. During break i finally get to take my eyes off the field and look around the stadium. I had a beautiful view of the mountains. Game commences and soon Barca scored their third goal and crowd applauded this time. People must have thought it's going to be raining goals today, so let's save energy on big ones! Shortly after Messi left the field and almost everyone stands up in respect. Some people even start leaving the stadium. Surprisingly, rest of the game went goal less. 90 minutes passed away like a breeze. Barca beats Athletic Bilbao by 3-0 shows up on the big screen. When most people left the stadium, i realised how big the stadium is. It is HUGE. In my quest of perfect picture I went down to almost every level so that words FC BARCELONA fits perfectly in the background and finally I managed to get it! It was my first time watching a live football game in a stadium. I must say watching a live football match is pretty exciting and goosebumps inducing experience. No matter how much i try to articulate my experience, i won't be able to do full justice. It was seen to be believed experience. The whole experience did not made me a football fan instantly but it sure left an impression on me. Currently, i really look forward to watch the ongoing football world cup matches held in Russia.










If you have any questions, write them in the comments. I will answer them accordingly.

Comments

  1. i really enjoyed this blog. lol, i am an Indian as well by an NRI (Austrian), and i hate cricket too. i enjoyed ur experience, ur writing made me feel like it was my experience as well. wow, thats for sharing those pictures. i am a football fan but never been in a stadium or game before, this was cool.

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  2. Loved reading your experience. Watching a live sports event has its own charm whether you love that or any other sport or not. Had a similar experience myself, watching live IPL cricket match and yes, like you, not a big fan of the sport too!

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  3. It sounds like you had an incredible time. I too am not a massive soccer fan but I feel like I would really enjoy watching a soccer match with the atmosphere you described.

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  4. Very nice. I have been to Barca and the Camp Nou, but I haven't been to see a match there. It will be on my huge list of things to do in the future.

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  5. I enjoyed reading your experience - your style of writing is refreshing! I am a huge sports fanatic (South African Indian) - cricket, soccer, rugby and formula 1! I like how you describe the city, most bloggers only portray the good and positive but you have portrayed the reality!

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  6. Being Canadian, and seeing these football matches is unbelievable how crazy the fans get over it. I love the energy that is felt from both teams fans, unless they get mad... Then it is scary!

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  7. I'm a big soccer fan, although I'm not exactly a fan of Barcelona/Messi or Real Madrid/Cristiano Ronaldo... I'm an Arsenal fan. Hahaha. May I know how much you got for the ticket in Camp Nou? :) I think it'll be a few years until I get to go to anywhere in Europe, but watching some big team in Europe is definitely one of my to-do-list. Thank you for sharing! :D

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  8. Such a cool experience. I am not a fan of football or cricket but I love being part of the jovial atmosphere in the stadium. Its easy to get swept up in the joy, excitement and disappointments of others. Sport is a really a good bonding experience.

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  9. What an awesome experience to have in Barcelona! I loved Barcelona, but I'm kindof jealous I didn't have the experience you did!

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  10. Sounds like a really rewarding experience. Barcelona is a great place to visit as well.

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  11. I am from Russia and in my city they have FIFA games now. I am not really interested in football, but people from all around make it alive.

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  12. You had such a nice experience. I am not a football fan but watching Messi play is on my bucket list too :)

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  13. That's quite a trip to Barca. I am not a sports fan either but would love to visit Messi's home town. Great post. Bold writing!

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  14. Wow the crowds looked huge, I love going to a sports game and just feeling the atmosphere. It looks like a great experience overall.

    - Jackie (Organised Mum Life)

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