I’m slowly coming down from my Europe high and feel like I can now compose coherent sentences about my trip without crying or becoming over excited.
1. Being from Canada I am, of course, an ice hockey girl through and through. Also being from North America soccer, or football as I plan to forever properly call it now isn’t as big of a deal. This being said I am half British and both my Grandpa and Uncle follow the English Premier league closely and I overhear their conversations at Sunday dinners. Also, I was really excited that I would be in Europe for the majority of the World Cup so I could get a pretty authentic experience of all the hype. So when I arrived in London at the beginning of the World Cup I was naturally going to be cheering for England. I watched the England vs. Uraguay game at my families house and listening to my family members yell and curse at the TV felt pretty similar to watching hockey back at home. While I was still in the UK, the England squad were disqualified which was met with much disappointment from my family members, lucky for me I was headed to Germany the next day and I had a brand new team to cheer on!
2. What is honestly the number one thing Europe/The World Cup taught me… how to drink beer. I was not a beer enthusiast before I left for Europe but the evening I arrived in Hamburg the Germany vs Ghana game was on. I literally got off the train, met Finn, quickly dropped my stuff off at his place, and then we immediately left to meet some of his friends at a bar to watch the game. They were only serving Jever beer at the bar and I was meeting new people and a drink was necessary so that I could keep up. After that watching a game without a beer seemed so incorrect. That feeling was further confirmed when I arrived home and the semi-finals were on and I had no one to watch them with and it was 1pm on a Tuesday. It was a weird experience as I had no one to watch the game with and I didn’t have a beer to drink, pretty much the complete opposite experience to what it was like in Europe.
3. I have never felt more German than when we watched the Germany vs. USA game at the Augustiner Bierkeller in Munich. I already mentioned my experience in my “5 Things I Learned in Munich” post. It was the craziest atmosphere with over 5000 people there and litre beers all around you. I had a pretty eclectic variation of places that I watched World Cup games but this will always be my favourite.
4. Like I previously mentioned I watched a lot of games in a lot of different places. Since I was travelling with a German, watching the games was always a priority (I should also clarify this wasn’t limited to only games that Germany was playing in… we had to watch all the games). I watched games in a bar in Hamburg, beer gardens in Munich, in apartments in Salzburg, in Irish bars in Prague, in outdoor restaurants in Berlin, and in every single hostel we stayed in all over Europe. Since I’ve been home and told people about my trip and mentioned that I was there for the majority of the World Cup everyone is so jealous and when I list of the dozen or so places I watched the games their jealousy only grows.
5. My interest level in the World Cup went from probably a 2/10 at the beginning of my trip to a 10/10 by the time I touched back down in Vancouver. I was so committed I even decided to have a favourite player (Özil, who was on the German team and plays for Arsenal in the Premier League). Even Finn said he could see with each game my interest level getting higher and higher. I will be the first person to admit I am a bandwagoner but it’s impossible not to become really excited. It was electric everywhere I went, but to have watched as many games as I did in German cities was really once in a lifetime.