With league football across Europe underway, the UEFA Champions and Europa league is all that remains to start. With the group stage draws for competition completed, top teams across the continent will lock horns to compete for the title that makes them the king of the footballing crazy heartlands. While teams like Manchester City and Bayern Munich were fortunate with their draws being placed in groups that should them ease to the knockouts other teams like Barcelona had very little luck. Although the Catalan giants are placed in a tough group, they will head to some prime location to play their matches.
While they play three of their matches in Camp Nou, their home ground, they will be travelling to cities like London, Milan, and Eindhoven to play their away legs. So, for the football lover in you, here's a guide to what you can do in each city before the match begins while you follow your team chase the European dream.
The Catalan based club play three of their matches at the Camp Nou. With a capacity crowd of over 99,000, their opponents can expect to an indifferent response. The Barcelona faithfuls form a formidable challenge to anyone who comes to their home with their rapturous cheering and applauding. While watching a match at this footballing cathedral is an opportunity that can't be missed, there are several other things that can be done at this magnificent city. One of the most aesthetically charming city to walk-through, each building in this historic city is created with depth attention to detail.
You can begin your adventures by visiting the Barcelona Cathedral which was built between the 13th and 15th century. Based on the Gothic form of architecture, one can notice sculptures of gargoyles on the roof of the cathedrals along with several other animals, both mystical and real. Dedicated to Eulalia, the co-patron saint of Barcelona, who according to legend suffered martyrdom during Roman times in the city.
Le Sagrada Familia is another gorgeous church that stands in the city. While it is unfinished with hopes of construction being completed by 2026, the church sees a combination of Gothic and Art Nouveau forms of architecture. It is said Antonio Gaudi, the chief architect, who started this project in 1882 worked on it till 1926 completing less than a quarter of the highly complex structure in that time frame.
While the above mentioned places are the highlights of the city, other places to visit include the Placa De Catalunya, which is where the old city of Barcelona and new meet. One could also make their way to Caso Batllo otherwise called the 'House of Bones' due to its skeletal quality, a masterpiece of Gaudi. This Spanish hub is one which you can explore for days on and end, but not get tired of.
Barcelona's first away game is at the Wembley Stadium in London where they play the English Club Tottenham Hotspurs. The stadium is one of the grandest sporting arenas around and watching one of the biggest club in Spain take on a modern English giant should be a treat for any fan. A hostile reaction can be expected if you are a Catalan fan from the passionate set of English fan who are known for their abrasive and commitment.
When you are in London, if there is somewhere you have to be, it is Buckingham Palace. Home to the Queen of England, the royal house has captured imaginations everywhere. The majestic location carries the history of the ages, having housed numerous queens and kings over the ages. A focal point of the British people during rejoicing and mourning, the palace carries a massive sentimental value for the locals.
Another tourist site that represents the English identity is the Big Ben. The large clocktower, designed in the neo-gothic style, is a prominent symbol of the parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom. Incorporating Victorial mechanism, the interior is not open to visitors.
If you have time, you can also visit Stonehenge and the Windsor Castle. The earlier location is about 2 hours by bus, while the latter is an hour away. Both places are steeped deep in history and are definitely worth a visit if you intend to stay in the English capital for a longer period.
Milan host Barcelona's for its second away game as Inter take on the Catalan club on the 4th matchday. Held at the San Siro, the match should see over 80,000 to show up for a match between two traditional powerhouses of European football. The stadium in itself is one that deserves no mention as it has been the site of many unforgettable matches. This sporting extravaganza will come with a lots of history as it was Inter nearly a decade ago that knocked Barcelona out of the semi-finals of the same competition depriving them of a chance to retain the title.
Like Barcelona, one can spot several famous cathedrals in this sacred city. The Milan Cathedral, for instance, took nearly six centuries to complete and is the third largest in the world. While Italian Gothic remains the primary form of architecture, one will see a mix of styles due to the time it took for this wondrous piece of structure to be finished.
If you are a fan of entertainment and theatre, a visit to the Teatro alla Scala is highly recommended. One of the most celebrated opera houses in the world, the crimson and gold colored interior emphasize the eternal beauty of this amphitheatre. While a tour of the hall might seem out of this world, a performance here is even better with boisterous crowds clapping and cheering for the act.
Other places in Milan to visit would be the Navigli District where one can go for a boat ride in the night. If not that, you can always on the traditional trams that run across the city.
The Philips Stadion will be the final destination on Barcelona's travel across Europe. PSV Eindhoven are a legendary Dutch club with a lot of history and have produced world class Dutch talents. The current Champions of Netherlands will play in front of packed crowd who will back them to challenge the most successful of the decade in the world.
A place to visit in this relatively small city could be Van Abbemuseum. Holding modern and contemporary art, the museum has more than 2700 pieces of work. Located on the eastern bank of the Dommel River, the artworks in the museum are a reflection of modern art from the past and of diversity. Pieces of art from all over the continent, Eastern and Western, are collected and showcased here.
Eindhoven is about 90 minutes from the Dutch capital of Amsterdam where you can visit the National Monument of Netherlands. Made to commemorate those who died during World War II, the figures on the monument show the Dutch resistance and the sufferings endured by the locals during such tortured times.