Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Crunch time for Barça !

Well, it's come round fairly quickly this time, but tonight is the return leg of the Champions League match between FC Barcelona and AC Milan. Mourinho's Inter made the trip a couple of years ago but it's the Rosserini who have been on the up and up this season, and already hold a very comfortable 2-0 cushion against les cules.

Tonight's match remains vitally important to the team and the fans, after crashing out of the copa del Rey to Madrid, this is a cup competition that Barcelona would love to win back from Chelsea - who knocked them out last year. I've been reading already about rallying cries from the likes of Iniesta and Pique who are well aware of the difficult task facing the team. A loss would mean Barça will not qualify to the quarter finals - something unthinkable at the beginning of the season. All eyes will be on Camp Nou tonight.

So where is at all going wrong ? Well, there's no denying that Tito Vilanova's absence is an upheaval and disturbance to the team - like an orchestra without a conductor no less - as he continues to receive treatment in New York (God bless, and good luck). Losing a manager at any stage of the season must be a difficult situation, but I was quick to think (obviously wrongly) that such a strong dressing room would have no problem coping with a little shake up - after all, the team almost picks itself, and has hardly had a huge overhaul since the appointment of Vilanova. So it just goes to show how important these things are, and in my book, raises the stock of absent ex-manager Pep Guardiola. In a similar way, I thought that the team Guardiola inherited was amazing, and that in effect, once they were playing at full force they could have beaten anyone anywhere - that any old manager could have ground out those results, right? Well, it just goes to show how important the role of manager is and it'll be really interesting to see how Pep fairs in Germany next season.

So, prediction? I'd love to be positive but can't see it happening. Despite a couple of important injuries to the Milan team, they still come into this game off the back of a league win, and can perhaps give a little more importance to this game over the league which Juve look like running away with. Anyone disagree? Let me know in the comments!

Fancy a trip to Barcelona this spring to watch Barça ? Why not rent a group apartment instead of a stuffy hotel room, and save some money too? And for a quick look at the hot spots in the city, see this Barcelona Guide.

Rollerblading in Barcelona - 3 Chimneys Park

Following on from my recent posts about rollerblading with kids in Barcelona, it's time for another place to explore which is very popular with skaters of all ages and boards, scooters, rollerblades, etc. and is located just on the outside of the old town, along Parallelo and is known as the three chimneys park. Likely that these were old rubbish towers to burn the refuse of the city's population (clarification welcome for anyone who knows, guys), and there are also old mechanical pieces such as the one below, converted into urban art. 

View of 3 chimneys park on barcelona sights blog

The park is an urban playground with plenty of smooth flagstones ideal for skating, and small benches, a bandstand/stage which is used to jump on/off/along/you name it, as well as slight gradients towards the back of the space (away from the road) to gather a bit of pace and speed. 
Graffiti walls at 3 chimney park - barcelona sights

This is a popular hang out for skaters and is also a great place for the graffiti artists (indeed the place of the best graffiti I've seen in Barcelona - yet to be beaten) and I have to say that the standard of the art on the walls is always high. It's a well seen spot from Parallel in car, for example, and I'm sure there must be some sort of code I'm unaware of between artists as to who and what can go up there.

vast space for skating at 3 chimney park

I was fortunate this past weekend, as it was pretty empty so you can see the amount of space that is around (that's my little girl again in a few of the photos), but maybe it was early in the morning.
stage for jumping from or onto at 3 chimney park in barcelona
You can see here above how it's easy to skate up fast towards this stage area, and you can "slide" along with urban skates or jump up on normal inlines, or jump off the back, too. You can see the benches here, too for those people who might be accompanying and not skating (it's a great place to just soak up the sun!)
Photo of bandstand at 3 chimney park on barcelonasights blog

Verdict ? Very cool place as it's so central. The disadvantage of Forum Park, for example, is the distance - we went in a car. I know that you can go along the various bike lanes, but it's a fair trek, and with small kids, would end up being a bit of a marathon to enjoy the actual smooth areas. This place is a great little urban playground for gaining confidence on different leveled surfaces, and with hardly any obstacles.

Does anyone else have any tips for other places? Specifically for kids? Or m ore geared towards adults? Let me know in the comments!! And if you fancy coming to Barcelona this spring, then check out the apartments that BCN Rentals have got to offer - some great deals!
Follow Me on Twitter