Feeling slightly more human following a shower, change of clothes and application of make-up (me) we headed out for lunch. We were staying at the Rafaelhoteles Orense in Northern Madrid, just a few blocks from Real Madrid‘s superb stadium. Following our morning of shopping we were now well acquainted with the various shopping areas of Northern Madrid (note: much more than the guidebooks give the area credit for) and headed to the Cafe Mallorca inside one of the nearby shopping centres for a civilised pre-match bite to eat. Already the Real fans were starting to stream into the area, some lunching in the same classy cafe as us, others perusing the shops.
After our well-deserved late, lazy and long lunch we headed to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu to soak up the pre-match atmosphere. I’ll admit I was a little nervous. Having been surrounded by UK footie fans on public transport on numerous occasions and always feeling mightily intimidated (although joyously learning ‘the garden shed‘ song on one train trip down to London which I shared with a whole host of Baggies fans) I felt certain that being surrounded by a bunch of footie fans singing and chanting in a foreign tongue would have me quivering in my Next trainers (hey, they were all the shoes I had to wear). I couldn’t have been more wrong…
As we approached the stadium there was no sign of trouble. Families, couples, groups of men, groups of lads, groups of girls (all wearing shirts emblazoned with Ronaldo’s moniker) buzzed around the stadium. People dressed in imitation Minnie and Mickey Mouse costumes tried to earn a quick buck by posing for photos with fans. I think the most intimidating aspect of this was the guy who had decided that dressing as Chucky out of Child’s Play would be a good move. I’m not sure who in their right mind would want their photo taken with him, but hey. Maybe I’m a wuss, but it creeped me out!
We walked to the side of the stadium, where the sun was beating down, and stood in the sunshine watching people purchase pre-match drinks and snacks from the make-shift stalls that had set-up along the road. A group of Real Betis fans stood at the bottom of the street chanting and waving their football scarves in the air. It could have felt intimidating, but it didn’t. In fact, I’d say the atmosphere outside Soccer Aid at Old Trafford is more intimidating and that’s mostly made up of Robbie and Olly Murs fans… The Police stood guard, but you got the feeling they were there ‘just in case’ and they seemed relaxed and smiling, as they soaked up the afternoon sun. A group of horse mounted Police Officers oversaw the Real Betis fans, but seemed to be acting more as deterrent than peacekeeper.
A quick de-tour back to the cafe where we’d had lunch to rescue Hubby’s glasses which he’d accidentally left behind, and we headed around the other side of the stadium. It was getting closer to kick-off time and the streets were getting busier with fans, but still no trouble. We walked past one pre-match bar and noted that they had white linen cloths on all of the tables. This was posh football. And then, the team coach arrived and zoomed past us. We waved frantically at the team. Pepe sitting up front with his (probably) Beats by Dr Dre on smiling away and waving back to the fans. Ripped up paper was thrown at the coach by way of confetti. A short while later the Real Betis coach could be seen arriving at the end of the street to cheers from the away fans.
We made our way back around to the other side of the stadium and waited for the gates to open. The day had gotten progressively warmer. I eyed up the bottles of water at the nearby stall.
Are we going to get a drink inside? I asked Hubby.
Yes, I’ll probably just get a water, I’m so thirsty he replied.
Hmm, I might get a water and then have a beer I mused.
And then within a few minutes the gates were opened. We held back for a short while before making our way in through the metal gates (no pesky turnstiles here) and up the concrete steps. I held our stuff whilst Hubby popped to the toilet and noticed a very nice looking VIP bar.
Look, that’s where the proper VIPs go I said to Hubby and we made our way to our seats.
Here’s a short pre-match video which I took…
To be continued…
To find out the back story check out these posts:
Part 1: Our Journey to Madrid
Part 2: My Unexpected Madrid Haul – Part One: Beauty Products
Part 3: My Unexpected Madrid Haul – Part Two: Clothing
Part 4: Madrid: The Reason For Our Trip – Real Madrid Vs Real Betis