Camp Nou is a very old stadium, inaugurated in 1957. Worn down and dark. If you are expecting the glitz and glamour of Santiago Bernabéu, you'll be sorely disappointed. Towards certain extent I was too. I think only a real Barca fan would appreciate a tour around Camp Nou (I am one for sure). Hz's reaction was "Real Madrid's stadium is prettier!". Spoken like a true Cristiano Ronaldo fan, huh! As much as I hated to agree with him, I had to admit that his observation was valid.
Some consolation to fellow Barca fans who plan to visit the stadium, don't give it up just yet. The management is working hard to improve the place. A lot of restoration work is going on. Perhaps by the time you get there it will look much better.
My first ever pic with Camp Nou *bliss*
Other fans heading there. We got there too early, they only allow visitors to enter at 10am.
Let me in! Have you any idea how long I’ve been waiting for this?!
Finally, they let us in. Now let’s get the tix!
It’s EUR 17 per person, EUR 2 more expensive than Santiago Bernabéu, but who cares!
They only allow visitors to tour around opposing team’s changing room, not Barca’s changing room. Sad. Explains why everything’s not as expected, it’s for the enemy!
It still has a nice jacuzzi though. Just imagine.. Beckham, Torres, Zidane (just to name a some of the many opponents) have all gotten naked here *wink*
A pretty little chapel along players’ tunnel.
By the side of the pitch.
Player’s bench. Couldn’t sit on them, ugh!
Antena 3 (Spanish tv station) broadcast room.
Media conference room.
This is where they interview the players and the coach after each match.
It might be old, but it’s 5 star!
The VIP box.
Latest trophy collection. See that one in the middle? Precious!
An old crest.
First team jerseys.
Number 10 is numero uno!
An old club bulletin.
Pedestrian bridges link the stadium to the admin complex.
The ice rink.
Of course I had to buy something! I got myself Messi’s jersey for EUR 72.90. The jersey alone was EUR 54.90. Letterings M-E-S-S-I cost EUR 2 per alphabet, that’s EUR 10. Number 10 cost EUR 4 per character, that’s EUR 8. Fortunately Messi’s name only has 5 letters. If I were to get Ibrahimovic’s jersey, imagine how much I had to pay! Owh, they didn’t have the jersey for ladies, so I had to get the one for Boys - Size M - 10 to 12 y.o. hahaha!
We won the Champions League!
We then headed to Sant Antoni to have lunch at a halal Pakistani restaurant. I have a very important story to tell you about this place: I almost got pickpocketed. Here's how it happened.
I was exiting Sant Antoni metro station. My sling bag was strapped across my chest as always. Hz was walking a few steps behind me. As I climbed the staircase to go out to the main street, I felt that my bag was slightly pulled to the back. Then I heard a guy's voice saying "Take it, take it". Out of impulse I immediately pulled my bag to the front, and I saw the zipper was open! I grabbed the guy's hand shouted "Hey! What did you take from me?!". He said "No, no!". I glanced into my bag, everything was there, wallet, handphone, passport, all safe.
The guy and his friend told me in bad English with Arabic accent that here pickpockets target credit cards, not cash. He asked me to check if my cards were there. I felt strange, so I told him I didn't have cards. He still insisted me to check, I said no, I didn't have any. He said ok, good for me. I thanked him and the two guys went back into the station.
After they left Hz told me that they actually approached him first, but he ignored them and held onto his bag tightly. The guys actually walked out with us from the station, yet after "helping" me they walked back in. Wasn't that weird? We concluded that they were indeed pickpockets!
It was a huge wake-up call for me. I vowed to be extra careful from that point onwards. Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah for protecting us! Friends, needless to say, do be extra vigilant when you travel to foreign places. It can happen to anybody, just one split second of distraction is all they need from you.
On a related note, it was really sad to see this kind of social illness among fellow Muslims. No, I have no proof that the two guys are Muslims, I am just making my own conclusion based on their accent, their looks and the fact that the incident happened in a Muslim populated area. I may be generalizing, but everyone knows that Muslims in Europe are not exactly at the top of the social hierarchy, if you know what I mean.
Ok, enough of that. After lunch we went to Park Güell. It's a really beautiful place filled with Gaudí's creations. It's a long uphill walk to get to the park, but totally worth it. We went up to the top most point where we saw an amazing view of the city.
Buildings at the park reminded me of Hansel and Gretel’s candy house from my childhood bedtime storybook.