This week in Barcelona I visited Camp Nou, the football (or soccer) stadium. The name of the local football team is Barca! Their motto is “Mes Que Un Club” which means “more than just a club.”
In 1936-1939 Spain had another civil war. (There have been a few.) Again the central-western region won. Francisco Franco became the dictator of Spain. He ruled Spain from 1936 to 1975. He was a very strict ruler to say the least. He forced everyone to only speak Castilian, which is basically Spanish. If you were caught speaking anything else, like Catalan, you could be fined or jailed. The people of Barcelona and all of Cataluña were not happy, because they could not speak their language.
Okay, to make a long story short: The football stadium was the only safe place where the people of Barcelona could be themselves, talk to friends in their language of Catalan, and have fun. The stadium fit up to 90,000 (something like that) people and all games sold out. How could the police monitor all those people? The football stadium became a place where people were free. Going to a game was not only about watching soccer, but also about having some freedom.
Football means a lot to the people of Barcelona. Even though now they can speak their language Catalan as well as Castilian, they will always consider football and the stadium as a place that represents freedom.
Wow, there’s a lot of history in there. I’ve heard a few different stories, and that is my interpretation, but I recommend investigating the Succession War of 1701 as well as the Civil War and the Franco régime to get the whole picture and all the facts correct.
Local Time: 6:55 Central European Time
How far did I travel this week? I went to Sitges, a coastal beach town about a 30-40-minute train ride south of Barcelona. Three of my friends and I got up early last Saturday, hopped on the train, and made our way there. We walked around the town for a few hours, and then went to hang out on the beach for another couple of hours. The town is pretty small; maybe a couple of miles by a couple of miles, so we saw a lot of it in two hours. The beach was beautiful, although the water was still very cold. I walked from one end of the beach to the other in about an hour. We had a good time.
How far have I traveled on my journey so far? So far, that is the only trip that I have taken outside of the city. Next week I will start taking journeys to different places. I will leave for Rome on Friday for four days, and then the next weekend I will go to Granada, a town in the south of Spain, for two days. Then the weekend after I will go to London, England, for four days!
How did I get around this week? Besides the train to Sitges, which was fun, I traveled the same way as last week. I take the metro to school and back, and I do a lot of walking around the city seeing the sites. Now that I’ve been here for four weeks, I do go to a lot of the same stores for food but I always try to take a new route.
What was the most interesting place I visited this week? Camp Nou, the Barca football team stadium was very cool. My group and I had a great tour guide who explained the history and importance of football to the people of Barcelona. We also got to walk through the stadium, onto the field, and through the small football museum located in the stadium.
Partly Cloudy: 1
Windy: every afternoon around 4 it gets breezy and sometimes windy
What is the temperature right now? 61 degrees
How was the weather this week? The weather was very nice and sunny, but not too hot. It gets windy in the afternoon and sometimes it’s chilly in the morning. It’s still spring here, but it gets a little warmer every day.
What animals did I see this week? Pigeons, dogs and dog owners. Ha, there are a lot of dogs in Barcelona, but I’ve already told you that story. There are also a lot of pigeons.
What languages are spoken here? People in Barcelona speak Catalan: Although they can speak Castilian, they prefer to speak Catalan. Most people speak a little English too. When I walk into heavy tourist areas, I can hear lots of different languages like Dutch and French and others that I don’t recognize.
What type of money is used here? I’m getting used to using the euro. It’s a lot more small coins to carry around but it very similar to the dollar. I had to use an ATM to get some money this week. You can use any of them but there was a charge of three euros. The exchange rate is: 1 Euro = 1 dollar and 39 cents.
How much does a bottle of water cost? Earlier I went and bought two big 8-liter bottles of water for one euro each. That’s the only water I bought this week.
What was the best meal this week? My cooking is still the best food I’ve had this week. I had a bocadilla at Sitges, but it was wimpy: A half of a baguette with some tomatoes and soft cheese, and it cost 4.5 euros, which is about $6.50!
What music did I listen to this week? I still haven’t heard any good local music. One other my roommates talked to me this week. He said that there was a local guitar gathering on Sunday nights and offered to take me. So I will go check it out with him after all my travels are done after the next three weeks.
What activity was the most fun this week? Both the trip to Sitges and the tour of Camp Nou were lots of fun. They were both very different from each other. I really enjoyed the history lesson of football, and I loved walking in the sand at Sitges.
What did I read this week? Poems by Spanish artist Federico García Lorca. He was born in Spain in 1899 and only lived through 1936. He was said to be assassinated by the Franco regime for his outspoken political views. His poetry is very good. I enjoyed reading it.
What games or sports did I play this week? Going to the stadium was the closest I came to playing any sports this week. I walked a lot.