Monday, April 30, 2012

Soccer match in Girona

Friday was a driving day, getting from the Costa del Sol to Valencia.  We were trying to find a hotel close to the freeway, as we knew we would want to head out early in the morning to make it to Barcelona.  We had spied a second division soccer match about an hour north of Barcelona and thought that we could make the timing work, but first we stopped at Camp Nou - the home of FC Barcelona.  We were planning to take a tour of the stadium, but after seeing the crowds we remembered that it was a Saturday and speculated that the tour might be easier on a weekday.

We headed north to Girona and started looking for a hotel.  The only hotel that we could find happened to be loading up a team of soccer players in uniform.  We decided to pretend we were groupies and followed the bus to the stadium.  After we figured out where the stadium was, we headed back into town to continue our search for a hotel.  We finally found a hotel with 1 room left, but it was 140 euros for the night ($200+).  Time was getting short before the match start, so we decided that we would just go to the game and hope to find a room afterwards.  Since the game started at 6pm and the next down was maybe only 30 minutes away (and hopefully not clogged with soccer fans and high end weddings like this one) we thought we would have better luck.

The soccer match was fun.  We bought seats that were supposed to be behind the south goal, but ended up too close to the 10 foot tall fence separating the home fans from the visiting fans and couldn't see 75% of the field clearly.  We ended up moving seats pretty early on in the match.  Our new seats had a much better view, but were somewhat less appealing in smell due to Mr Cigar 2 rows in front of us.

Because time had been so short getting to the match, we hadn't had any sort of dinner, so I had the challenge of figuring out the concessions stand.  In Girona we paid at one window and were given a colored token based on the amount we paid.  Cold sandwiches were 3 euros and hot sandwiches were 4 euros.  I bought two hot sandwiches and moved over to the food area to try to order them.

In the end, it took 4 concession stand employees to help me order two different kinds of sandwich.  I could easily order the Frankfurt, but had trouble figuring out what other kinds of sandwiches were available. We think we ended up with a pork sandwich, but they might have been charading something else for me.

The game ended in a 0-0 tie, but we enjoyed the soccer despite the lack of goals.  I was intrigued by the yell leader who walked back and forth in our section all game long, trying to get us to cheer more.  I'm still chanting Gee-Rona - hey! in my head at random times.

After the match we headed back to the car and then went in search of the freeway again.  In Spain, many of the freeways have tolls.  We have been trying to take the older highways that parallel the toll roads, but that lends additional challenges as we try to decipher the signs on the side of the road.  In any case, we for a hotel next to the highway on our way out of town for only 52 euros, so we happily booked a room there.

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