Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Friday, 13 November 2015

A v Spain (Alicante) 13.11.2015

So the final England away trip of 2015.  A friendly v Spain but unexpectedly played in Alicante!  We flew Easyjet from Gatwick to Murcia, picked up a hire car and an hours drive we were in Alicante. The flight was 6.40am from Gatwick so it was a very early start as I was picked up from home at 4.50am!

It was nice and warm, 21C so it was time to get some cold beers (and food). So once we had checked in, we met up with Sara, had a cold beer by the hotel pool and then headed to the Hotel to collect our match tickets.  It was then time to find a bar.

Alicant was OK, the seafront and the old town were nice with plenty of bars and restaurants, so we settled down for some well needed refreshments.  As the game was a 20.45 KO we had lots of drinking time.  We sat soaking up the rays, some ate Paella (yuk), some didn't, but we were soon downing a few beers!

We soon met up with the Rugeley massive, well Dean and Ritchie!  They soon insisted on cocktails (well that may be a bit of a lie actually :-) ).  We bumped into plenty of Albion lads during the day, I think England had sold 2,400 tickets but there were a lot more in town!

and the drinking goes on (and on, oh ok time for one more, if we get a taxi we could get another?)

As it was now 8pm and it was an 8.45 KO time to head to the ground!  It looked miles on the map so we jumped into a couple of taxis and were soon dropped a short walk from the ground!

I have to say the view was good, but outside was Chaos, finding the entrace was chaos, and the facilities ermm no very good.  Alicante are in the Spanish 3rd Division and I would say the ground was about the level in terms of organisation and facilities!  Just how we had 2 rows of Spanish fans next to us in the away section left me slightly bemused!

As the game meandered to an inevitable win for Spain (the first goal was something special - shame the assist was from Sterling who had a very poor match) news started to filter through of incidents in Paris, we would find out a lot more as we headed out into Alicante post game.  We had a few more beers, ended up with a Kebab and then it was a taxi back to the hotel.  I did briefly watch the news on TV but I went to bed extremely angry and upset!  People slaughtered for doing the things I love doing with my life, out socialising with friends, going to gigs and going to watch football. ISIS are scum.

Saturday 14th November

After a long day yesterday it was a late wake up, well 10am (ish)!  We had planned breakfast but all I could manage was a couple of rather strong coffees!  Sara headed back to the airport about midday so Kev, Fi and I decided to head to the seafront and find somewhere for lunch

We had a very pleasant walk along the beach, loved the seagulls play area, and had a rather tasty pizza for lunch.

We started to hear of problems at Gatwick airport, so headed back to the hotel.  Apparently some nutter had dumped a gun in a bin!  Grrrrrrrr. Time for another beer (well an ice cold coke actually!).  Our flight was now showing as 2 hours late but the car needed to back at Murcia airport for 5pm so we left at just after 4pm as planned

The weather was a bit mixed on the drive back to the airport.  We soon found a petrol station, filled up and dropped the car back not long after 5pm.  The flight ended up being about an hour late and the North Terminal was like a ghost town, guess we were one of the first flights allowed back in!  The bonus was no queue at passport control.

So that is it for 2015.  A nice long rest until Berlin in March 2016.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

U2 - FC Koln v Hannover 96 - U2 again! 17/18.10.2015

So having just arrived back from the England trip to Lithuania, I had one day to recover at home and then it was back out to Koln for a long weekend. The itinerary was basically beer - gig - beer - football - beer - gig - beer. Looking back on it I think that beer should possibly have been advertised a bit more in advance on the itinerary!

Yes we land on Koln or was it Bonn?  Who knows, who cares, all I know was that it would soon be time for some delightful German beers.  So we headed to Koln from the airport or was in Bonn.  We came out the train station and bang there was our hotel oh and a small Cathedral!

Not not a light show at a gig, but the tunnel lighting!

Large Kebab, yes please

Koln has an unhealthy obsession with GOATS!!!!!!!!!

This bar as well as serving beer in a delightful mug, also had a superb interior to its toilets! Obviously anyone of a nervous disposition was well placed for any accidents!

Koln is an absolutely stunning city, we drank down on the banks of the Rhine.  The beer is also fantastic, Kolsch served in small 200ml glasses, but boy was it good.  Even the Lowenbrau is nice in Germany.  Anyway we did our best to drink every beer available and then started again and again!

So after many a happy hour drinking away our troubles is was time to head across the Rhine to find the Lanxess arena.  We decided to be healthy after all the beer and walk to the arena.  The walk had soon worked up a thirst so we had a beer at the venue!

I recognise those ears, yes it is the man from the Sudofed advert.  I have been to many U2 gigs, and I would put this one up in my top 3 , an absolute belter.  Happy happy days.

Anyone for a KFC?

Sunday - Football and Gig number 2

Today we not only had the second U2 gig but the small matter of FC Koln v Hannover 96, my first taste of Bundesliga football.  

So after a rather poor quality 1-0 away win for Hannover 96, it was back to the small matter of U2 gig number 2 in Koln.

Another amazing gig and what an ending with Bad followed by 40!  Love it!  So it was the walk back into central Koln and a couple more beers.  What a day!  


So today we had set aside to visit the Cathedral, very handily placed just outside our hotel.  We had planned the walk up to the viewing gallery but the day was very grey, overcast and rainy that we decided against the long walk up.  We settled for a walk round the outside, then inside to see the studding stain glassed windows.  A very impressive place.  

Well I never Eau De Cologne, comes from erm Koln! 

The papers show that the FC Koln fans had every right to be annoyed that the Hannover goal had been allowed.  The hand ball is rather obvious, sadly not to the Referee or Lino!  Looking back at the game if that goal had been disallowed it would definitely have finished 0-0. 

WooHoo, Hennes gets his own little story in the paper :-)

A great view of the Lanxess arena

So the end to another great few days away!  It was great to catch up with Tony P who now lives way up north in Perth (no not that one, the cold one in Scotland).  We have been mates for 30+ years and seen many many U2 gigs together!  We always take time to remember fellow U2 addict Mark (Bernie) Turner, its always a poinient moment when they play With or Without You.  Never forgotten mate.

After the Lithuania trip and this trip my liver needs a separate holiday from me, sadly (for my liver) it will be the Shiiine music festival in Butlins, Minehead.........