August 20, 2013

Barca, Barca, Baaaarca!

I must admit that the entire reason Barcelona was part of our honeymoon plans was because the hubs insisted we go there to see FC Barcelona play a match. When he first proposed the idea, I whined a little bit about how I didn't want it to take away from our time in Morocco, but I eventually caved. Best. Decision. Ever.

We loved so many aspects of Barcelona, and seeing FC Barcelona play was a unique, fun experience. I love soccer, despite my own limited athletic abilities, yet I've rarely gone to a major team's stadium outside of the United States. The major differences I can tell so far? First, beer is not allowed to be served in the stadium, likely out of concern that drunk, rowdy fans will get out of control in the heat of the moment. Luckily, you can pick up a six-pack at a corner store just outside the stadium and get in your beverage-drinking before entering the stadium, if you so desire. (That is, unless you are in Buenos Aires, in which case no alcohol may be sold or consumed within a ten-block radius of the stadium.... those fans are in a whole other level of rowdy!!) Second, the stadiums are gigantic. GIGANTIC. Third, the fans come in all shapes and sizes, and they are committed to their team in ways that Americans just haven't internalized yet when it comes to soccer. They are extremely passionate about this game.

So with all of that knowledge, imagine being at the tippy top of an enormous stadium, surrounded by die-hard fans cheering and shouting in Catalán, downing a water bottle to try to cool down in the early June heat. Then imagine doing all of that while the best soccer team in the world works their magic on the field, right before your eyes.

Thanks, hubs. Good call on this one.

We won that day. The stadium exploded in celebratory cheers with each goal, and we even learned the fight song in Catalán, with the help of the jumbo-tron that projected the lyrics. It might be a while before we see FC Barcelona play again in person, but that afternoon will stick with us for a very long time.

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