My experience in Barcelona – FC Barcelona vs Villareal CF

The day of October 20, 2022 I will remember for the rest of my life. It was the day on which I had my first opportunity to experience the beauty of Barcelona and watch a match of the iconic FC Barcelona at the Spotify Camp Nou. As a big fan and former football player, I was incredibly excited about this event. Moreover, as a Polish native I could not wait to see my compatriot Robert Lewandowski live in action. Vamos Lewy!

I started the trip early in the morning, taking a regional bus from Valencia to Barcelona. Half of the trip I was sleeping and the other half I was trying to remember my notes written on the piece of paper. What kind of notes, you may ask? Well, a few days earlier I lost my phone so I had all the public transport routes, popular spots and directions back from the stadium to the bus station written down on a small piece of paper. It was a very interesting and unusual experience for me. It forced me to interact with locals to help me find directions and caused me to discover unique, hidden places accidentally while wandering. I don’t recommend losing your phone, but I can definitely recommend turning it off for the duration of your next trip and I guarantee you will experience many adventures! Finally, after a 4-hour journey in an overheated bus (the Mediterranean sun hits different!) I arrived in the capital of Catalonia – Barcelona.

Barcelona – city of many wonders

I could write endlessly about the vibe, climate, architecture, food, community and soul of this magical city, but I find it hard to extract the essence and put it on the paper. This place is best described by the words of the writer Andrew Barge: “Even the moon was embarrassed by the beauty of Barcelona“. I totally agree with that statement.

Barcelona is a city that harmoniously blends Gaudi’s architectural wonders, exotic climate of the Mediterranean, the pulsating beat of its bustling streets in Eixample and the cheers of passionate fans on Spotify Camp Nou. I started my trip by visiting Barceloneta beach. Due to the fact that it was “only” 20 degrees Celsius. I cooled down in the waters of the Balearic Sea, which gave me a lot of energy for this busy day. Then, wandering in the thicket of a small street of the Gothic Quarter, I managed to reach the city center, specifically the Barcelona Cathedral, Placa de Catalunya and the popular La Rambla. The center reminded me very much of the center of Valencia in its architecture, but also its narrow streets leading to a huge square which is a place for meetings, entertainment and a huge number of shops and restaurants. Driven by hunger, I went to the best and oldest active restaurant serving typical local food – Can Culleretes. Beautiful, traditional interior but most importantly – the food was out of this world. I tried meat and spinach cannelloni with creamed salt cod called “brandada de bacalao” and a hearty traditional mixed meat stew called “escudella con carn d’olla”. For 20 euros, I ate my fill and could continue my adventure.

The Gothic cathedral that I visited in the center made an impression on me, but it could not compare with what I was about to see in a moment. On the way to the next spot, I got lost in the charming streets of Eixample (they all look the same because Eixample is characterized by a symmetrical grid pattern) and after many attempts to ask the locals for directions in my poor Spanish and analyzing my notes on a piece of paper, I finally managed to reach the Sagrada Familia. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had seen this beautiful building a million times on the internet but in person it is simply breathtaking. Until now, I ask myself – how is it possible that it was designed and built by human hands? It is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world and the most beautiful building I have ever seen with my own eyes. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to go inside, but for several hours I kept walking around and admiring this masterpiece designed by Gaudí from every possible perspective. Sculptures, decorations, the main gate, towers, stained glass – it made a great impression on me. Everywhere around the Sagrada Familia there were a lot of fans dressed in Barcelona shirts, which only increased my excitement for the upcoming match. The evening was slowly approaching, so I grabbed my crumpled piece of paper and took the subway to the Camp Nou stadium. An hour before the match, there was already a fantastic atmosphere around the stadium, everyone was cheering for Barcelona and having a great time. My heart was beating faster and faster as I climbed the last stairs leading to my sector. Finally, I found the right entrance and… what a sight it was! My seat was almost at the top in the middle of the stand so I had a good view of the whole stadium and a pitch.

99,354 seats were filling up slowly as only a few minutes were left until the game starts.

FC Barcelona – Villareal CF

Just before 8pm, everyone rose from their seats and started singing the Barcelona anthem ‘Cant del Barça’ as the players of both teams came out of the locker rooms onto the pitch. Everyone was cheering so loud that I couldn’t hear my own thoughts. I was counting on a good match and at least 1 goal from Lewandowski, but the match exceeded my expectations. It was a very dynamic and beautiful football spectacle from the first minutes. Barca constantly attacked Villareal who from time to time responded with a counter-attack. Suddenly, in the 30th minute, after a masterful action, the ball hit Lewy and he cold-bloodedly turned around and put the ball into the net. The Camp Nou went wild with joy and I was jumping and screaming along with the fan sitting next to me. Just 4 minutes later, Barcelona carried out a deadly counterattack, the ball hit Lewy again, and the Polish killer beat the rivals’ goalkeeper with a beautiful shot from outside the penalty area. I could not believe. It was already 2-0 after two goals from Lewandowski. My dreams came true. In the second half the match became evenly matched as Barca slowed down a bit. Despite this, they were able to score one more goal and the match ended 3-0. Emotions reached the zenith and I was very happy but I was missing only one thing. I don’t have a single photo from this event yet. I really missed my phone right now. Fortunately, I heard people from Poland next to me, so I started a conversation with them and asked to take a picture of me with their phone and send it to me via Facebook. After a night full of impressions, I went to the bus station and headed back to Valencia.

The best (football) experience in my life

A trip to the capital of Catalunya for a FC Barcelona match was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. Whether you’re a football fan or not, it’s worth a trip to this wonderful city and by the way visited Spotify Cam Nou. I guarantee you, once you go there you will fall in love with this city and football. After this trip, I’m sure of one thing. It’s true when people say FC Barcelona is “Mes que un club”. Barcelona both as a club and as a city, it is a way of life! Only by experiencing it on your own skin, can you really feel it.

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