Posted: 8/28/2007


      Antoni Gaudi started constructing his magnificent basilica Sagrada Familia(Holy Family) way back in 1882 until his death in 1926. Others have continued the work since then, apart from The Civil War when parts were blown up by Catalan separitists, and it's still no where near completion, though still does a brisk trade in tours. At night I was eating an ice cream at a sidewalk cafe in its shadow with the floodlights playing upon it- an awesome sight. Since my last visit there is some construction on one wing. In the front is a pleasant garden and pool and an old man's dirt boulles court.

    Across town is the Camp Nou the home of FC Barcelona  near to 5 Metro stations, but Line 5 Coleblanca is the closest, about 500 meters away. On the way I stopped for  El Menu del Dia, a salmon salad,  pork cutlet and cheese, a flan dessert, bread, a bottle of water or wine and coffee.  Camp Nou is half buried, with many of its 90,000 seats below ground level, so doesn't look so impressive as some other stadiums from the outside, and has a complex including an ice rink, basket ball arena and a small 20,000 mini stadium.  The club also has a basket ball team Futsal, Ice Hockey, Handball and volleyball squads.

   You can take the grand tour which included the new 250 seat interactive theatre where you put on 1950's style 3 D glasses and find yourself on the field playing and passing to and from Ronaldinho and team mates. Next is a self guided tour inside the stadium, from locker rooms to press box and field side plus the fabulous museum. It not only shows the club from its humble origins but has a superb art gallery of paintings, photographs, wood, ceramic and metal and other art from around the world.

   The Barca store is 2 levels and about twice the size of the Manchester United's Mega Store. I have visited the museum before and they have lots of new items and exhibitions. There were lots of foreign tourists, but it's notable that the club has 1782 Penyas or supporters clubs world wide, as well as 156,000 socis or members who own the club, unlike the EPL clubs in England for example.  I have recently been on tours at Anfield-Liverpool FC, Old |Trafford, Meazza-AC MIlan and Inter, Amsterdam Arena-Ajax and Allianz Arena- FC Bayern and TSV 1860 Munchen, plus the National Football Museum at Deepdale-home of Preston North End. In the past I have visited the small ones at Centenario in Montevideo and Maracana in Rio de Janeiro and many other clubs have or are contructing museums to show off their history and attract tourists and fans.