"An aerial view of Europe today would look like an army of green ants invading Poland, and we have them surrounded" - Euro 2012 blog, day 2!
InterRailing to the Euros is certainly something I had not considered prior to winning the competition, and after yesterdays hysterics it is probably not something I would be in a hurry to do for my next holiday!
But there is something different about being an Irish football fan heading to a major competition. Something special about taking the unconventional route. It's probably uniquely Irish, but the more bizarre route taken, the better. Flying straight there is boring. And no matter what way you think of going to Poland, no matter how ridiculous, I guarantee you'll bump into Paddies along the way, and that in itself makes it worth it. There is a world of difference between being an ordinary holidaymaker abroad, and being a travelling Irish fan. One sight of a green jersey and suddenly your travelling party has doubled. It would be gas to see an aerial view of Europe today, it would look like an army of green ants invading Poland, and we have them surrounded in every direction.
Considering we didn't have an itinerary, it's no surprise our trip wasn't straight forward. When we got as far as Holland we met two Leitrim lads who told that there was a direct train from Amsterdam to Berlin at 11.20. A glance at the watch and it was only 10AM so we headed for a burger and relaxed for an hour but when we got to the platform it was empty. We hadn't put our watches forward and were 40 minutes late!
The next train was in two hours. Nightmare. We went back to plan A: Wing it. 6 trains, a tram and 8 hours later, we got to Berlin. We went Eindhoven, Venlo, Viersen, Duisburg, Wolfsberg, Berlin. We spent more time on platforms than Elton John. Awoken from a nap by the driver of the Vierson train we heard him mention Duisburg and in a panic, we legged it off the train. We weren't in Duisburg yet. We were in no man's land. Next train? Two hours of course. We had to endure a very uncomfortable tram journey to Duisburg station with everyone staring at us like they wanted to kill us for some reason. We obviously stood out a bit. I wished I wasn't head to toe in Ireland gear. I took solace between two old ladies.
Anyway, we got off the train in Berlin at around 8 o clock and immediately saw the generator hostel. A bed. Nothing would feel better than to hit the pillow. Some chance! 800 beds the receptionist said, 90% full of Irish. It was mental. Apparently there are thousands of fans heading to Berlin on the way and then going to Poznan in Convoy on Saturday. We'll have a bit of that. The car park full of camper vans. The bar was a sea of green, and at €2.50 a pint it was no mystery why. The pillow would have to wait. Bearing in mind that this was the Thursday night, and most fans were leaving on Friday. It was incredible. We checked in for two nights. After dumping the bags we headed down with our Galway roommates and within half an hour, all you could hear was "we've got Glenn Whelan" sang to the tune of Black Eyed Peas "I've got a feeling". Sure where would ya get it. Even in the Berlin nightclub at crazy o clock this morning, it didn't matter what the DJ played there was a constant undertone of "Ole Ole Ole" (tilt your head for video!).
As I write this from reception, the green jerseys are streaming in. Stealing another line from the Black Eyed Peas, tonight's gonna be a good good night...
There are 2 Comments
Jun 8, 2012 at 2:05pm
Any ideas or suggestions for Gary on his trip? Are you on the way to Poland and want to share your experiences too? Comment here!
Jun 8, 2012 at 9:47pm
Haha, 'We've got Glenn Whelan' loving that. I've a stag in Galway this weekend so I'll get that going with the lads. Sounds like a great trip so far, well jealous.
I reckon you should give Gary & his sidekick some challenges to complete each day, make him earn this free trip!!! I want to see him smooching one of those grannies in his next photo!
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