Barcelona Skyline

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Camp Nou: the best side of Europe

Nou Camp, the FC Barcelona soccer stadium which seats 98,000 people and its history-dripping museum is one of Barcelona’s most-visited tourist spots. For many Catalans it is a nationalistic, almost sacred place.

Still it is interesting that American journalist and self-proclaimed "culé" (a Barcelona supported) should make a kind of pilgrimage to Barcelona to see “my beloved Barcelona”. But that is just what a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, the largest circulation newspaper in Obama’s hometown, did. Kevin Williams puts a definite political/social slant on the whole experience in his March 15 article.

Barcelona, he explains, is "not Spanish".Because Barcelona is Catalonia, baby, and its capital is Camp Nou. (…) You haven’t really experienced Barcelona until you’ve immersed yourself in the "soul-stirring Catalan love festival" and craziness of a home match of el Barça the de facto national team of Catalunya
FC Barcelona is called “mes que un club” (more than a club), and for good reason.During the long years of Franco repression some of the only groups than Spaniards could freely join were football clubs; they became pseudo political partie.

FC Barcelona was the great icon of the Catalan nation. When their language was outlawed and their culture despised Catalans could still rally around their football team and this nationalistic feeling still prevails.Each match starts with a "ritual path the himno, the club’s stirring, martial fight song".

On the purely sports side Barcelona is doing very well, thank you. A couple of months ago everyone was marveling at the beauty and efficiency of its soccer; the best in the world was the consensus of opinion. They went through a little doldrum period but have come back strong; in "la Liga", Barça still leads archrival Real Madrid by six points, have advanced impressively to the knock-out round of sixteen in the UEFA cup, and are in the semi-finals of the Spanish cup.

So a lot of crucial, exciting matches are coming up soon.So come on over to Barcelona and work a match or two and a trip to the museum at Nou Camp into your Barccelona holiday.

It is a team of superstars led by new idol Leo Messi, number two in El globo de oro voting for the best European footballer.

To buy tickets on line visit the official website. Don’t count on a ticket to the "clásico" (a match against archrival Real Madrid.) But you can usually score tickets to one of the second tier "La Liga" teams and take in the whole scene.

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