6 Apr 2012

Camp Nou and FC Barcelona


Camp Nou 1 View from the cheap seats
Blau-grana al vent
Un cri valent
Tenim un nom
El sap tothom
Barça…Barça…Baaaaaaaaaaaaaarça!

The chorus of “El Cant de Barça” sung by 90 000+ voices in the Camp Nou and blaring out from bars in every barrio tells you that the city is about to come together once more to share its greatest passion:

Futbol Club Barcelona.

You can love football or you can hate it but, in Barcelona, you cannot ignore it. The famous blue and claret strip is everywhere - on the backs of locals and tourists alike, blown up big on billboards, prominently displayed in shops, stamped and patterned on every conceivable product: Barça, Barça, Baaaaaaarça!
Camp Nou 2View from slightly less cheap seats

I have one word of advice: Go!

Tickets are readily available for almost all games except‘El Clásico’ (against some team from Madrid, I think, can’t remember their name) and are not that expensive- €44 is the cheapest ticket (“entrada”) at the moment and it’s fine just to get that because everywhere has an excellent view and, if you have the nerve, there is usually the opportunity to sneak into a better seat moments before the game starts. If you want to be where the atmosphere is at is most raucous and where there are good chances of being close to flags and fireworks etc I suggest Boca (section) 531,532 and 533. You can by your tickets direct from the Barcelona website (recommended) but also from various official vendors in the town centre and, finally, you can just turn up and get them at the ground.

Take the metro to Las Corts or Maria Cristina (Line 3 Green) or Collblanc Line 5 Blue) aiming to get there about 45 minutes – 1hour before kick off  just to be on the safe side (a bit more if you haven’t got a ticket yet). Then simply follow everybody else because they are all going to the same place. There is nothing like the atmosphere of anticipation in the streets just before a big football game but, unlike in the UK, for example, the atmosphere is not tainted by the hint of violence. In fact there is almost no danger of running into football hooliganism as there is no ‘tradition’ (not the right word, I know) of it and there are almost no fans from away teams at Spanish games.

Once there – you can’t miss it – it’s this vast stadium-shaped thing, your ticket will tell you which gate you need to go in and they are all well signposted though it may take a bit of a walk to actually get to it (98 000 seater stadiums take some circling). You should have no difficulty getting in quickly once you’ve found the right entrance. And then it is simply a matter of climbing up the many stairs to find your seat and start picking out the better empty ones you might try and slip into later. Remember it is exposed high up in the stands and as most Spanish football games are played at night it is worth considering taking a jumper. I sound just like your mum, don’t I? I’ll get on to the next bit before I start advising vests.

 Now, all that is left to do then is wait for the arrival of the teams at which point you must stand up (it’s an anthem, after all) and sing in Catalan “El Cant de Barça” (Barça’s song)
Nou Camp 3 : Sometimes Barca kindly let the other team start without them. They still win though.

If you are especially dedicated you can learn the whole thing before you go (it’s on YouTube – and no, I’m not going to link it, what did your last slave die of?) but otherwise the chorus will do. Here we go again, this time with translation :

Blau-grana al vent (Blue and claret in the wind)
Un cri valent (A brave cry)
Tenim un nom (We have a name)
El Sap Totem (Everybody knows it)
Barça, Barça, Baaaaaaaaaarça (You can work this bit out by yourselves)

Barça, incidentally, is pronounced with as though a snake were saying it (Barsssa) rather than a dog (Barkkka).

Then you simply watch the best and most popular sport in the world played at the highest level it has ever been played at. Or you can wonder about where Carlos Puyol gets his hair done. It’s up to you. Seriously, when Xavi Hernandez, Andrés Iniesta et al get the ball pinging between them it is a thing of beauty. If you’ve been a football fan all your life then be prepared to watch a different and better game entirely and if it’s your first game then don’t bother going to another – the disappointment will be too great. Oh and top insider’s tip, a scoop which almost nobody knows about, really keep this one under your hat…have your eyes peeled for a kid called Messi...
Another victory for the blaugrana

Useful Spanish Words/Phrases

Quiero comprar una entrada para el partido de Barça– I want to but a ticket for the Barcelona match
Es posible entrar al estadio aquí con esta entrada – Can I get into the stadium here with this ticket?
Puta – Generic Spanish offensive swear word. Can be shouted at referees and opposing players.
Messi – To be chanted with arms moving up and down in an worshipful fashion. Hold the e.

If you fancy chatting:

Perdona. No tenía ni idea que estaba en tu asiento caro  – Excuse me. I had no idea I was sitting in your expensive seat
Sí, ¿pero podría hacerlo por la noche en Stoke cuando haya viento and esté lloviendo? – Yes, but could he do it on a wet, windy night in Stoke?

2 comments:

  1. Hello-

    thanks so much for this post. We will have our "Baaaaaarca" chant ready to sing! We are coming from USA through Barcelona for a stopover this summer and are hoping to Catch Barca-v. Atletico Madrid in the SuperCopa. I have bought tickets from the Barcelona website - in section 428 in the upper corner with a view of the 'FC Barcelona' on the seats across and to the left. Is there any nice view of the mountains or back to Barcelona skyline or the Med? Can we take the tour on a game day?

    Also - I hope they don't change the date. How likely is it they will change the date? the Barca website lists the game time as 23h. 11pm? is that possible? Any chance they'll change the date (we only have 2 nights in Barcelona returning from our main trip to Italy so I hope not).

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading. To answer questions. You should get a good view of the mountains and some of the skyline. Not sure about the med though. I would guess you'll be ok for a tour earlier in the day. Changing the date is very, very unlikely. And unbelievable as it might sound to anybody not from Spain (including me) - 11PM is a perfectly plausible starting time for a football match here. Have a great trip.

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