Friday, 25 November 2011

FC Barcelona's #1 Fan

We were in Barcelona last weekend. Just for the weekend. You know, no big deal. Seriously? How many times in my life am I going to be able to say that??

So anyways, we were in Barcelona last weekend.

And we met up with Matthew's good friend Stuart and his wife Ika. They live in Kuala Lumpur now, and were vacationing in Spain, so we thought we'd just pop over. (Again: when am I ever going to have another chance to say that?) We left on the Friday afternoon and came home Sunday night and had a fantastically wonderful & totally enjoyable weekend. Everything just worked out, and everyone (read: Elizabeth) stayed happy for the whole trip. Amazing!

Stu and Ika bought tickets ages ago for the FC Barcelona game that was on the Saturday night. Matthew hemmed and hawed as he always does, and eventually did what I always knew he would: agreed with me that we should get some tickets too. So off we went to Camp Nou, on Saturday night, for an 8 pm game. The trains were packed with football fans. And somehow, Spaniards make the big football scarves look fashionable -you know the ones, always with the crest on the ends, and the tassles, and the big team-colour stripes. It's truly a feat, because they are not really very fashionable at all...

We truly worried about taking the stroller. We found a few websites for American arenas that said you weren't allowed to take a stroller into the stands, and would have to check it - how annoying would that be? And we knew that we'd have to fold it up and carry it and Eliz up the stairs to our seats. In the end we brought it, because we thought that if Eliz fell asleep during the game, we could just put her in the stroller in the aisle closest to us. Or at least she'd have a chance to fall asleep on the way home...

But secretly, I brought it for transportation assistance. Guilty confession: sometimes it helps to have the stroller on the trains during rush hour because (a) people make space for babies faster than for adults, and (b) if they don't move, you can use it as a battering ram and "accidentally" smash into them. This is the one and only advantage to having a stroller in a busy train. Every other aspect of strollering-in-traffic is challenging and exhausting. But if you want to get on the first train that comes, it's worth it. There were so many people on the train, that after we got off and up to street level, Matthew looked at me and said, 'Maybe we shouldn't go... there are so many people...', to which I replied, 'Babe, that was the hardest part! The rest will be easy!!' Honestly, has he never traveled with a baby before? Transportation is always the hardest part!

So we got to the stadium, and it was incredible. Matthew was so excited I thought he might explode. This place seats 120,000 people - kind of hard to imagine 120,000 people in one place - until you're right in the middle of them. It was amazing - hearing everyone simultaneously yell at the ref for a bad call, or take a sharp breath when Lionel Messi takes a shot, or stand up and cheer in unison when he scores. It was such a great experience. I was so glad that Matthew got to see some of today's top footballers play. He was in heaven.

 And our little traveling girl loved it!! Elizabeth clapped and yelled, "Barca!" and she smiled and waved to all the people in our area. Granted, she had potato chips for dinner, but come on! It was a live sporting event! You can't have green vegetables at a live sporting event!!
Jammy "Crazy-Eyes" Hawkeye and her potato-chip-lovin' girl. Honestly, the name of the game when vacationing is: Keep Elizabeth Happy At Any Cost. It is so worth it to adopt this motto when on holiday with a baby.
Lionel Messi is the star of FC Barcelona, and he put on such a good show for the fans. At one point, he did something pretty fancy in front of the net and scored (you can watch the highlights reel in Spanish, if you want), and the whole stadium chanted, "Messi! Messi! Messi!" and did the 'bowing-down' thing with their arms. And Elizabeth started saying it too!! Here's a terrible video for you to enjoy!


The opposing team, Zaragoza, was not nearly as good at Barcelona, so it was a bit of a massacre. The end score was 4-0. We had already planned to leave 30 minutes into the second half, to avoid the departing train traffic, and my favourite player David Villa came on at about 27 minutes. I was sooo excited! I love him! He is truly a member of Team Pretty Footballers. And Matthew's favourite, Andres Iniesta, was also on the field. Let it be known that I have superior taste in footballers, because who scored at 29:14?? Oh, it was my guy, not his... :) When is Matthew going to learn that the super hot players are also the really great players??!! 
This is him, looking up at me in the stands. He pretty much scored just for me.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, maybe I'll just check out the cheap flights to Madrid and we can get some tickets to see Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo isn't really my type, but I think I could handle it for 90 minutes --- or 75, if we decide to beat the traffic.

1 comment:

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