Monday, 12 May 2014

Barcelona: Camp Nou, FC Barcelona

Now I am the first to admit I am not a football fan. I really don't understand the "magical game" nor the pleasure people gain out of watching 11 men kick around a ball for 90 minutes. That aside, and mainly due to the OH, I found myself at Camp Nou (loosely translated to New Field) - the home ground of FC Barcelona, one of Catalan and Spain's most popular football clubs that has grabbed the attention of fans globally. So what was I doing there?

Somewhere online I read that Camp Nou is the largest football stadium in Europe holding close to 100k fans in its stadium and for that reason alone was probably the only excuse I found to go along to the stadium. I mean, if I am going to experience a football club and pay €20+ to enter, might as well see the biggest right? Plus I had vaguely heard of Messi and if the club's slogan is "more than a club", it sounded like something we simply had to visit.

Camp Nou is easy to get to, and accessible by Barcelona's metro station. Their website advertises you can get there from a number of metro stations, but we found it was easiest going from Collblanc as when you get off the train, there are directions for Camp Nou both underground and overground. Plus the locals can easily identify a tourist and are more than happy to help with directions if you do get off track.

From a distance, you can clearly see the Catalan flag and FC Barcelona flags waving side by side, a reminder that the football club is indeed of Catalan origins and not Spanish. We found our way to the ticket booths and paid €23 per person to enter the Camp Nou experience - be warned, there is no tour guide accompanied, which the OH was not pleased about. You can purchase an audio guide for €5 extra, but according to the OH, you are automatically provided with a tour guide if you visit Manchester United and Arsenal football stadiums, both of which he has experienced.

The experience first leads you into a dimly lit room which has rows upon rows of trophies. While Barcelona sporting triumphs are mainly know in its football achievements, you learn that Barcelona has a hockey, handball and basketball team, with the trophies acquired from the latter sports also proudly being displayed in trophy room.

The tour then continues on and you experience other notable parts of the football stadium, including the changing rooms, the player's tunnel and the press room. There is the opportunity to pose for photos for €10 a photo, either with a replica trophy or with the football player of your choice.

At some stage, this stadium was expanded to be the same size as the largest stadium in the world - the Maracaña Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, seating 120,000 spectators for when Barcelona hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics. Due to safety and security reasons, it has been reduced back to its current size of just under 100k spectators. Still a pretty big stadium!

Address: Carrer d'Aristides Maillol, 12, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Contact Number: 00 34 902 18 99 00
Metro: L3: (green line) Palau Reial or Les Corts, L5: (blue line) Collblanc or Badal
Entry Tickets: €23 for adults, €17 for concessions (students, senior citizens, infants, supporters etc)



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