Well this blog is about to come to life for what is hopefully a great 2 months. After going to the world cup in Germany in 2006 and attending 5 games, my goal had been to do at least the same for the 2010 edition in South Africa. Despite planning for a while, i found it simply too difficult to manage travel both to and within South Africa, along with questions about accommodations, tickets and security. It seemed to me that people in South Africa were boosting the prices of everything as much as 5 times, while this is common during big international events such as Presidential Inaugurations, Olympics etc it was not the best light for your country to seem to be full of people wanting to retire from making money on the tourists.
So instead to get my World Cup Football fix, i am headed over to Europe. The time zone for the games is the same, i couldn't imagine waking up on the east coast of America for a 7:30am Argentina vs South Korea game, both in terms of waking up that early and finding any bar/pub/restaurant with proper atmosphere. In Europe that game will be at 1:30pm and folks will be skipping out of their afternoon from work in order to watch the game and surely in most cities in Europe you will find passionate fans from both countries.
My plan for travel is going to start in United Kingdom, in fact i'm writing this pre-world cup right now from Edinburgh, Scotland. l have read and been told its one of the most lovely cities in the UK but right now its just grey and raining for the 2nd day, not really inspiring an adventure spirit. When the games start on June 11th, I plan to be in at least 5 and possibly 6 countries when their home teams are playing. So far if travel plans go according to plan i will be in London for the USA vs England game on June 12th, and passionately supporting my Yanks, despite whatever bodily harm might come my way. June 14th calls for an early game in Amsterdam to watch the Netherlands take on Denmark. Then after a few days in Belgium who don't have a team that qualified its off to France, plan to be in the South of France, possibly Nice for the final group game June 22nd between France and South Africa, which could be pivotal to see if France makes it to the knock out rounds. Then its across the border to Italy probably in Milano for the June 24th Slovakia vs Italy clash. Right now surely not many people think much of that game and its an early east cost 7:30am, or an ungodly 4:30am California game, but i think that Slovakia will be dangerous and could be a 2nd place team in what is a weak group.
The granddaddy game of the group stage has me flying off to Porto, Portugal to make the June 25th Brazil vs Portugal game that will surely be important to see who gets 1st place and who gets 2nd place in what is considered the Group of Death. Assuming Spain makes it to the knockout stages and beyond i hope to be in the Basque region to watch a potential Spain vs Ivory Coast/Portugal/Brazil round of 16 match.
After that i'll simply be traveling with the World Cup schedule in mind, no flights or busses this time that in 2006 had me missing the Argentina vs Netherlands game cause i was on a flight. This time the travel will be made around the game schedules.
I hope to meet some interesting people, see just how passionate the game is watched overseas and even visit in the off-season some of the great football stadiums such as the San Siro in Milan where so many great world cup and champions league games have been seen by myself.
I hope the readers stay tuned here for what hope to be daily updates on the food, culture, citis, bars and great football games taking place in europe during this world cup 2010 summer.
I know I will be enjoying this year, hope you can enjoy my musing here on the blog.