Party like it’s the World Cup

May 28th, 2010 in European travel by Terry Lee 1
Euphoria at the World Cup as Australia knock out Croatia

As the football World Cup in South Africa approaches it brings back great memories of the fantastic festival of fun we enjoyed at the last one in Germany.

As football fans Sarah and I had applied for tickets to matches over a year before and together with our friend Carl we’d secured some for Serbia/Montenegro v Ivory Coast. Not the most mouth-watering game I give you, but it was the World Cup and the occasion was the attraction.

Two days before flying out we managed to gain tickets for Australia v Croatia and so off we went content with our two live games.

Based in Munich we found ourselves in a city ready to party and happy to welcome the thousands of fans gathering from around the world.

On our first night we headed for Allianz Arena, the home of Bayern Munich, to cheer on Ivory Coast. It’s always better to have a side to support and we choose Ivory Coast because their nickname is the ‘Mighty Elephants’ – and that was as good a reason as any.

On the way the Allianz Arena, at the time a new stadium, hovered on the horizon like a giant lantern – a bright light beckoning football fans from all over the world.

In the stadium over 66,000 gathered to share the experience of the beautiful game and a party atmosphere ensued as African drums mixed with Serbian singers in an exciting cacophony.  Ivory Coast won 3-2 and we went away happy with our new found heroes.

Next day we drove to Stuttgart to see Australia v Croatia. We knew we’d enjoy the match but it turned into one of those moments in life where it’s truly great to be alive. Arriving at the Gottlieb–Daimler Stadium we were met by a sea of colour – yellow and green for the Aussies and red, white and blue for Croatia. Thousands of fans were milling around and the noise of good-natured singing and chanting filled the evening air.

We made our way to the Fan Park one of many set up across Germany as pre-match meeting places and where ticketless fans could watch the game on giant screens. Here we regressed to our childhoods and had our faces painted in the colours of our chosen team – Australia.

Once in the stadium we found ourselves seated among mainly Australian fans and joined in the singing.  It would seem their unofficial national anthem is the 1980’s hit ‘Down Under’ by Men at Work and what a fantastic song it was to work the crowd into a frenzy. With yours truly losing his voice for a week due to my singing and shouting all the way through a memorable evening.

A great game followed  with the fastest ever World Cup goal, the infamous incident of the referee booking a player three times before sending him off and a 2-2 score line which put Australia through to the next round. It was the first time Australia had made it through to the last 16 and so you can imagine the party that followed. After which three happy fans started the journey back to Munich to continue our World Cup adventure.

For the next three days we enjoy the World Cup at the Fan Parks and a bit of sightseeing around Munich including the umpah music at the famous Hofbrauhaus where the smallest beer comes by the litre.

On our last night the home side beat Sweden in Munich and we couldn’t resist the huge party on Leopoldstrasse. Here in a carnival atmosphere we dance, sang and shared a drink or two, or more, with new found friends from Mexico, Germany, Sweden, Argentina and South Africa.

So if you are going to the World Cup have a great time and do share your experiences here. Work keeps us away this year, and though it will take us to exciting destinations, we’ll still be avidly watching the World Cup.

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