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Saturday 12th January 2019 ko 20.00

Quarta Catalina Grup 15

CE APA POBLE SEC B 2 (Petrykov 12 Pereira 46)


Att c60 at Camp de Futbol Municipal La Satalia, Barcelona

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Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia which is an autonomous region of Spain. That’s a remarkably easy sentence to write but it doesn’t do justice to the position Barcelona finds itself in. The independence movement is still very prominent, and the 10 minute walk from Urquinaona metro station to our hotel near the Gothic Cathedral summed up the position neatly. You pass by the offices of the Spanish Ministry of the Interior with a riot van and two heavily armed policemen outside at all times. The offices are surrounded by stucco apartment blocks and on many of the balconies banners are being flown with the Catalonia flag and pro-independence banners. For some having bi-lingual signs everywhere isn’t enough. It isn’t difficult to draw parallels…

Coincidentally Paral-lel is where you alight the metro if you want to visit Montjuic, the hill that overlooks Barcelona. The funicular that takes you half way up is included in your metro ticket but in another international theme, its closed for six months for repairs and a rail replacement bus service replaces it.

You really should pay the extra to take the cable car up to the top of Montjuic. The castle is a must-visit, not only for the views but to learn about the castle’s dark past, especially during the Franco-era when Fascism and Catalan nationalism fought with tragic results.

These days Montjuic is seen as a place of sport. Much of the 1992 Olympics were held here, with the Lluis Companys (executed by Franco at the nearby castle) Stadium used as the athletics stadium then by Espanyol from 1997 to 2009. Like the Olympic facilties in Athens the facilities have struggled to find a post games use.

Many will remember the diving competition here. The pool was cut into the side of Montjuic, the result being a breathtaking view over the city with the diving boards in the foreground. These days the facility is an infrequently opened, graffiti scarred municipal baths, but as you pick a spot to look through the fence you can see another set of floodlights.

It’s an odd one. The Camp de Futbol Municipal La Satalia is officially accessed by climbing up from Paral-lel metro station, but even APA Poble Sec comment that if you’re travelling by foot it’s far easier to take the funicular, cross the road, and head down an unmarked, unincorporated track down to the ground. Easier it might be, but after dark it’s not for the faint hearted!

Truthfully I could have easily missed this place, but I was tipped off by Andy who you may remember from the trips to Malta and Hungary, and while the first XI played on Sunday afternoon, inconvenient for me, I’m not the type to worry about watching a second team!

The Poble Sec district sits at the base of La Satalia, and as an area formerly outside Barcolona’s city walls it’s a melting pot of cultures and influences and the 3 chimneys of the now closed power station are a nod to the area’s industrial past. What sets La Satalia apart is the view it shares with the Olympic diving pool, with Gaudi’s masterpiece Sagrada Familia clearly visible, floodlit in the night sky.

You really should visit the little cafe in the corner, that seems to cram both an extensive menu and an impressive collection of memorabilia into only a few square metres. Robyn was most impressed at her hot chocolate (ordered would you believe in French!).

What La Satalia isn’t is an Olympic legacy installation, the ground is way older than that, just look at the disused terrace behind the goal. The two Poble Sec clubs who use this place have worked hard to make this place both a home, and to improve it. The artificial pitch may be a little worn, and the playing surface is the narrowest I’ve seen since a trip to Lyme Regis but its a fine place to watch a game. Come to think of it Lyme Regis’ Davy Fort is also cut out of the side of a hill.

Our game was in the fourth tier of the Catalonia League which in turn is a feeder league to the Spanish Tercera division, or fourth tier, so putting it another way, we were watching the 8th tier of Spanish football. Whatever you may think about reserve team football, without question this was the best game of the 3 we watched in Barcelona over the weekend.

Both teams will feel they should have won it, Poble Sec should have, and there was incident, controversy and no little skill. You know its a good game when you spend the second half sat next door to the Barcino goalkeeper substituted at half time due to injury.

In fact the only issue was the dash to leave on the final whistle. Neither of us fancied the track up to the funicular with the floodlights off! We made it, but soon realised that the funicular replacement bus service had finished. Still, we didn’t have to wait long for the 55 bus that took us directly back to Uniqinaona. The nearby buffet Chinese at 11.30pm was odd (almost entirely fish based) but extremely welcome.