I thought I am not gonna make this one in time for tonight. I even have a backup blog post ready, just in case. Turns out I do not need it. Phewwww~
After a day of shopping and relaxation, Day 7 was when I strapped on the booster and went full nitro mode again.
First stop of the day, Barcelona Football Club’s stadium, the Camp Nou.
If the Sagrada Familia is my first reason, the Camp Nou is the second reason why I want to visit Barcelona. I know, I’m an Arsenal fan, but the thing with football fans is that we want to see ALL the famous football stadiums in the world if we can help it. And the Camp Nou is one of the most famous, so… 🙄
Getting here from the city center is easy. You can take the metro to either of these two stations: Collblanc (L5 Blue Line) and Maria Cristina (L3 Green Line). From here, the stadium is easily within walking distance. Most websites recommend Collblanc, but I personally feel Maria Cristina is the best place to walk from, because the stadium tour’s entry point is much closer to the stadium entrance on this side.
I bought the ticket for this stadium tour in advance, online. In fact, it was the first thing that I finalized and paid for apart from the air tickets. The stadium tour is called the Camp Nou Experience and it costs 23€ (as of 2016). I did however, register myself as a Barca fan in one of em’ online fan group and got a 2€ discount code (I totally did it only for the discount, not really a fan) so I only paid 21€ for the ticket, only being a relative term.
I did however fork out an extra 5€ upon arrival to get myself an audio guide.
You might think 23€ is kind of pricey for a stadium tour, but for comparison, a typical stadium tour in one of those famous clubs in England will set you back £15 to £20, and they come with time limit. I did the Arsenal tour and the Liverpool tour before, you basically get a tour guide leading you around and the tour ends within an hour. The Camp Nou tour though, is basically just an entrance ticket. There is a specific trail but no tour guide to lead you around, which means you can enter in the morning and stay within the trail until evening and nobody would come and kick you out. In other words, take photos until your camera’s battery dies!
Also, you don’t have to fix a date when purchasing the ticket. The ticket is basically good for 6 months, and you just show up whichever day you want, as long as it is not on Match Days (days with football matches in the stadium) and within that 6 months time frame.
Okay, let’s start with the tour. You scan your ticket and go through a gate, and the first thing you’ll see is…
Luckily I was not interested with Barca FC souvenir coins, so I left them alone and went on my merry way instead.
Once you crossed the bridge, you’ll get to your first stop. The audio guide said of this place: “Welcome to our History Room. In this room, you will be able to see all our rich history.“,
I got kind of pissed off to be honest. Those English stadiums usually have a separate Trophy Room and Museum, but I guess Barca is trying to be humble by saying “Our history is all about trophies, trophies and more trophies. Ours is a history of champions.”
Barca is a football team full of superstars. But there’s a certain Argentinian called Lionel “Leo” Messi who is the indisputable star of the stars. He’s very big here. They even have an entire corner dedicated just for Leo.
Ballon d’Or is the annual award for the World’s Best Player of the Year.
At the end of the History Room is a photo booth where they set up some props and have some professional photographers take pictures for you.
The standard line from the photographers: “Come, take pictures, is free. You only pay IF you want the pictures at exit.”
Well, since it was free and there was no time limit to get out of the stadium, I joined the queue too.
I probably spent the longest time in this History Room, I think close to an hour. Then I made my way through some corridors to the next stop of the trail.
The seats here are nice and clean, unlike what we get in that famous Commonwealth Games stadium in KL: broken seats, dirty seats, missing seats, etc.
I actually took a lot of pictures here, but I think two is enough for the blog so… let’s move on to the next stop.
To be honest, it wasn’t very exciting, going through the press area. And then I got to this tunnel where things changed…
Let’s keep going, I want to go out to the field!
I don’t know if you understand this feeling or not, but it is a very exciting thing for a football fan to get to the pitch side of a big and famous football stadium, even though it is just a tour and the stadium is empty. You can almost imagine all the football stars being close to you and feel the atmosphere just by standing there…
We call the field, the pitch. Football term.
From the pitch side on ground level, the trail leads us through a flight of stairs up the stadium. On the way there’s another picture booth and also a souvenir stall. It was pretty amusing for me to see that they actually preserved patches of the pitch from different seasons (football years) to sell as souvenir. And they’re all f**king expensive!
I’ll pay such money for grass… when hell freezes over, yeah. Better keep moving…
The flight of stairs takes us to another interesting place: the press boxes. This is where all the journalists and football commentators sit while providing live feeds and commentaries throughout the match. This is where all the “Gol gol gol gol gol gol gol!!!!!!” action takes place. They have a few individual boxes for the bigger and more famous media companies, and a bigger press box for all the smaller fries, so to speak.
We were allowed to go inside and sit in the big press box for a bit. There were clips of some famous live commentaries going on here.
You know what, let me just show you a video. You might not feel it through a video though, but it was really awesome sitting there, staring at the pitch while listening to the commentaries… Leo Leo Leo Leo Leooooo~… Gol Gol Gol Gol Gollllll~…
I spent about 20 minutes relaxing inside the press box, immersing myself in the artificial atmosphere before moving on…
I reached another dark room with more interactive screens showing Barca’s history, as well as what the future holds…
Barca is actually not just a football club, they also have a basketball team, hockey team, handball team and futsal team. It would be awesome when they move into one centralized area.
But I thought the most fun thing to do in this room is to sit back on one of the couches made available at this long stretch of a TV corner and watch some actual football.
You’ll get to see stuff like this (Leo Messi embarrassing a Real Madrid player)…
Real Madrid is Barca’s nemesis, Real Madrid and Barca is like Ah Jeeb Kor and Madey…
And this (the botak is Pep Guardiola, Barca’s most influential manager in modern times)…
And… I was right about the tour coming to an end. As I left the TV corner, I found myself back at the first photo booth in the History Room. The trail leads me to the doors next to the booth, and I found myself at the exit bridge.
We got a wrist strap with a bar-code when we took the first photo. So basically we returned this wrist strap to one of the staff, he/she will pass us a corresponding photo book with our earlier pictures. We were warned NOT to take photos of these photos using our cameras.
I swear, I did not try to do that, my fingers must have slipped subconsciously… 🙄
I ended up not buying this photo book. Why? Because they wanted to charge 50€ for this photo book (with 3 photos in it)! I think only an idiot would pay. I mean, the tour itself with so much to see and enjoy, costs 23€, and here they want to sell us 3 photos of ourselves with some footballers Photoshopped into them for more than double that price.
Photoshopped! I could do that myself! Why would I pay 50€ for that?
I think they are really stupid. They are pricing people to give up immediately from being tempted to pay. If they charge, say, 10€ for the photo book, I’m pretty sure a lot of people would be tempted to pay up. As it is now, they’re just wasting money printing out something that people won’t buy… 🙄
Anyway, that was the end of my Camp Nou stadium tour. I briefly went into the FC Botiga megastore, but quickly realized that buying original football jerseys here are more expensive than buying them in Nike stores elsewhere, so it was pointless to stay any longer.
I left the stadium premises more than 3 hours after I entered, without buying anything else. It was a great morning for me. I’m glad I came. As a football fan, the Camp Nou is really one of the must visit stadiums so I’m glad I was able to strike it off my bucket list for good now. Even if you are not a football fan, if you want to pick just one stadium in the world to do a tour, as a biased Arsenal fan I would recommend the Emirates Stadium in London, but as a rational person I would recommend the Camp Nou Experience. Best value for money… 😉