Friday, September 17, 2010

Barca! Barca! Baaaaarca!

Day 1

We started off dia dos (see what I did there?) in Spain with some good old-fashioned wandering, wanting to take in as much Spanish architecture as we could while we were there before we returned to continue getting spoiled with Roman architecture.

Eventually, we stumbled upon a Spanish bluegrass band who, because the idea of a Spanish bluegrass band apparently wasn't awesome enough, was named "The New Orleans Ragamuffins." Plus, they sang in a weird Spanish creole. So, so cool.

Then, , we realized a pattern. We saw these flags:

All over the city. After some investigation, we realized that it was a yearly festival commemorating and complaining about Catalan (the province/former country Barcelona is located in) being absorbed into Spain at large. There's still a huge amount of passion about the subject...

...despite the fact that it happened almost 200 years ago. But people are still incensed enough to warrant the presence of the military police.

And yes, the Spanish version is just as intimidating as the Roman one. The event stretched for blocks, all the way to the Spanish Arc du Triumph.

They even had an apparently sweet catering service:

I could only assume they served white bread (toasted, dry, with nothin' on it) and whole fried chickens. With Coke.

After all our wandering, we moved on to the main event: the FC Barcelona soccer (calcio/futbol/football) match against Hercules.

We, of course, being hardcore spors fans, wouldn't dress anything less than to the nines for our first European soccer immersion.

(Not pictured: Caitlin and Mike. No Caitlin because she was taking the picture. No Mike because he's a loser who didn't dress or or go to the game. Hipsters...)

In order to get our shwag on, we decided to go to the Official Barca store to see how horribly overpriced the jerseys etc were (very). Before heading to a slew of knock-off stores to buy our wares through a series of barters, we noticed this small piece of merchandise:

Yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen (laaaaadies...). That would be an official FC Barcelona G-String.

And that's all I have to say about that.

The stadium, which seats 98,000 and is the biggest in Europe:

A shot of the Hercules crowd after they scored one of their two goals:

A small, but brave contingency to be sure.

Unfortunately, Barca lost (in a game they most certainly shouldn't have), so there were roughly 97,200 fans who left that stadium disappointed (myself included, fandom by proxy and all). The crowd was much more deflated than I had envisioned: the rioting was at a minimum, and when you're expecting something akin to what would happen in the event of a nuclear holocaust if 98,000 people were fighting over the final piece of bread, anything less than a dozen fights are a little meh.

But it gave us lots of time for pictures.

So, while we were disheartened, and didn't quite have the full experience that a gigantic soccer game should have brought us, it was still a great night. Because, at the end of the day, when a drunken soccer hooligan answers his show like a phone and tells your friend that its for him, you know everything's going to be alright.

Plus, as horribly tired we were by the end of the day, we absolutely lost our shit when we saw these:

Yes, we are mature college students. Which made it all the sweeter when an old, overweight, Spanish man came in and got the "extra pleasure" brand. And we wonder why no one likes America.



Pat Tillett said...

Sounds like you guys are taking advantage of every minute. Great great pictures and words.
Spanish soccer fans aren't nearly as "rowdy" as the English?
really nice post!

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