Well, as many Americans may not be aware, the Euro Cup 2012 is going on right now. Basically, it's a soccer tournament that happens every 2 (?) years, where a bunch (16?) of the national teams play each other in a tournament, sort of like the NBA finals. It is a HUGE deal here. There are tons of stores selling merchandise and each time Germany plays there are TVs all over the place showing the game. It seems as if most people watch. Even if you aren't watching, you can always get an idea of how well Germany is doing because each time they score cars honk, people yell and fireworks go off. In the first round, Germany played each of the 3 teams that were in their group. They won all 3. Because they did well, they made it into the semifinal round. This is the game Tom and I went to on Friday night. I was so glad they made it into the semifinals, because I hadn't gotten to watch ANY of the games and I'm the type who can't resist something exciting!
We found out that there's a place called the KIA Fanfest where you can go to watch the games. It's a big area, outside, that can hold several thousand people and that has a huge screen set up to show the game. We'd heard it was quite a cultural experience to go. It sure was.
The night started off with us getting off of the wrong stop. This meant we had to walk down a long boulevard, called the Reeperbahn, which is notorious for its sex shops, etc. Yay. The worst part was seeing the strippers, because seeing strippers just makes me sad and depressed. The 2nd worst part was that we got caught in a sudden downpour. It was raining REALLY hard and I was so glad we'd brought the umbrella! The whole street was set up for the game, with tons of outside areas with TVs and benches and food. Unfortunately, everyone had to seek shelter under the awnings.
Since we were still a little unsure of where we were going we decided to just follow everyone we saw wearing Germany colors, hoping they'd be going to the same place. We got really confused, though, when all of a sudden huge hoards of people were going the opposite way! But then we realized that because it was raining, everyone was leaving the arena. It was quite a sight to see all these fans all decked out, but utterly drenched.
|Set-up on the Reeperbahn|
|Healthy police presence|
|When the game started everyone cheered.|
|so much trash|
This game, in particular was interesting just because of who was playing. On the one hand, Germany, Europe's financial giant. On the other hand, Greece, Europe's financial disaster.
|lone Greek fan|
Pictures of the game:
|Smoke from fireworks that had gone off after a goal.|
It turned out to be quite an exciting game! Germany won 4-2, which is a pretty high score for a soccer game. The team looked great. The unfortunate thing is that every time they scored (and sometimes every when they hadn't just scored) people would throw beer flying through the air. We got sprayed many times. Drunk people are also, obviously, pretty obnoxious. Finally, since it was standing room only it was a constant battle to try to see the screen. Just when I had a good spot, looking between two heads, someone taller would walk in front of me and we would have to find a new spot. But I really loved it anyway.
We stayed for the whole thing, but slowly edged toward the exit at the end so that we wouldn't have to wait so long to leave. There's a metro stop right outside the exit and tons of people needed to use it, so the police were there rationing a certain amount of people through each time a new train came. They really had impressive crowd control.
|people like to stick their tongue out at me|
|The train driver drove in real slow and gave the crowd controller a look like, "oh goodness, this is going to be a long night."|
Each time a goal was scored and from the time the game ended, until we got home, people were singing what seemed to be the theme song. It goes like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpV8K91p4pk. I've had it in my head all weekend. When they sang it in the train car they started rocking it too. Yeah, it was crazy.
|Harbor, as seen from the stop when we were changing trains.|
|I forgot to take a picture of us so, uh, here ya go.|
Also, I forgot to post about this, but never did, so a link will have to suffice: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/06/03/218291.html .
Another post will follow shortly after this.
Another post will follow shortly after this.