Futbol at Nou Camp
Trip Start Mar 29, 1999
44Trip End Jun 18, 1999
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So far so good. This trip is very, very lumpy, with people being thrown everywhere, much more so than the Plymouth-Santander shambles. But I have so far avoided the sickness I experienced on that trip. Maybe because I haven't eaten for 24 hours and maybe because I have confined myself to my bunk for the entire trip. It is a little bit boring, but a lot better than chucking up everywhere. All the beds in this country seem to have been designed for midgets. I'm not overly tall but my feet are always hanging off the edge or, in this case, pushed up against a wall. Despite the large contingent of Mallorca supporters continually practising their chants, complete with whistles and fog horns, I managed to get an hour's sleep while trying to avoid falling off the top bunk.
I was awoken by my roomies having a loud, heated and what appeared to be potentially violent discussion in Spanish about futbol. I managed to pick out words like 'futbol', 'Raul', 'Robbie Fowler' and 'Juventus'.
Finally we made it to Barcelona where the weather was fine. Wow! 120,000 people - the size of a decent town - fit into this massive stadium for FC Barcelona and RCD Mallorca in a 1v3 league match. I was in the cheapest section, right up at the top behind and to the left of the goal - about 100 metres from the action and crammed in like a sardine with the other cheapskates. The stadium is well designed so that even from my vantage point I still got a good view. It was hell windy though, almost as bad as Athletic Park, Wellington, in a southerly. Good thing I had my parka. Because I was so far away, it was hard to see the players exactly. Apparently Frank de Boer scored the first goal, from a corner after four minutes. Patrick Kluivert got the second after 24 minutes following a good run from the right winger. 2-0 at half time. Palma never really looked dangerous until one minute from full time. A shot was cleared off the line by a defender using his hands so he was sent off and Palma scored the penalty. 2-1 final score to Barça. But really the occasion was more important than the score, but I was probably the only person in the stadium who felt that way.
Then, with about 80,000 others, I walked back towards town, a crowd that had dissipated somewhat by the time we reached the railway station. The plan was to sleep there but at midnight one of the officious security guards there kicked everyone out. Plan B was to walk around Barcelona until the station reopened, a somewhat more challenging strategy.