Ive already established my freakish, football (soccer) fanaticism. I love spending time with my family. So what could possibly be better than taking a family vacation to an awesome city with the added bonus of taking in a game. Not much.
Last year when a friend invited me to join her for a game at Camp Nou in Barcelona, I jumped at the chance to visit Spain for the first time. (Did you see how close I came to Messi?)
So when February displayed a short break on the school calendar, I rounded up the troops to discuss potential travel destinations. With my middle son eager to test his command of second year Spanish, and temperatures in the teens on the East coast, we all decided to head to sunny Spain for a little R & R. And some Spanish wine. Oh, and Spanish beer. And Spanish coffee, tapas, oh and shoes, too. Anyway, more importantly, soccer giant and current league leader Real Madrid was scheduled for a home match during our intended visit, so off we went to Spains capital and largest city, Madrid.
Not willing to take any chances, immediately upon arrival my Spanish-speaking son and I made our way on foot to the nearby Futbol stadium to purchase tickets. Our hotel, the Intercontinental Madrid on Paseo de la Castellana 49, was just a 1.1 mile walk from the world-famous, iconic, Santiago Bernabeu, home of the Real Madrid team. A couple hundred Euros later, tickets in hand and a bounce in my step, we stopped to enjoy a coffee at a nearby cafe on our way back to the hotel. I could hardly believe I was now going to see the second best player in the world. Thats Cristiano Ronaldo in the picture below. See him? Thats him, the tiny white dot in the center of the pitch. He was still in his post-being-dumped slump at that point, which he has since rectified. In spite of that, Real managed a win against Deportivo, 2-0 with goals coming from Isco and Benzema.
My oldest son and second biggest soccer fan in our family was interested in making the trek to the opposite side of town to visit the Estadio Vicente Calderon, home of the other, less flashy team, Athletico Madrid. By now Im sure youve aware of Reals 4-0 thumping by Athletico on February 7 and the Ronaldo birthday party controversy that ensued. Yikes. That didnt go over well.
Not everyone in my family made the trip solely for soccer, however. Luckily the perfectly located Intercontinental was just a kilometer from the city center where my ten-year old daughter shopped for souvenirs and Sambas. My husband, great guy that he is, was unselfishly content to see his family so thoroughly happy and enjoying themselves. Of course, the Spanish beer helped with that.