Sunday, 16 June 2013

My trip to Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (part two)

You can read about part one, here.
Also on the tour, there was an opportunity to visit the trophy rooms, as well as learn more about the history of club. From entering the museum, there was a slight air of self-importance – a board en route displayed the heading “the best track record in the world” with regards to both the football and basketball team. If that wasn’t bad enough, the trophy room itself was titled the “best club ever room”. Best seemed to be a recurring theme and a superlative they often referred to themselves as. 

The room itself was impressive with plenty of things to look at (and the information was printed in English as well as Spanish). Interactive screens were down one side, with options to research former managers and squads; you could also relive goals and moments from La Liga campaigns, Champions League finals and much more. The near side was strictly memorabilia, each presented with a caption – very interesting.

An illuminated screen displayed the history of the club’s crest and from a historic point of view and there were plenty of items from the early 1900s, including old-fashioned balls, boots and shirts. Trophies lined up in chronological order, grouped together based on competition – some of which I had never even heard of and most likely were no longer existent.
The “best players of the world” was another display dedicated to former and current Los Blancos’ stars, whom had won a number of awards including the golden ball and golden boot. Ronaldo was a name that featured prominently, with both the Brazilian and his Portuguese namesake dominating the board. While this was interesting to read, it was another example of the club showing off their achievements, which after a while, seemed like arrogance.
The tribute to Alfredo Di Stefano also interested me and his various trophies and personal possessions were donated to the Real Madrid foundation’s heritage centre for the museum. Again, there were HD screens with clips on display, showing some of his greatest achievements. The interactive elements throughout made it a lot more visual and gave you the opportunity to delve more into his life.
I wish I had taken more photos inside the museum, particularly as some of the trophies were odd-looking and clearly archaic. The newer elements appealed to me a lot more, as someone who doesn’t really have an interest in the club. There was a glass cabinet with the current squad’s boots (and in the case of the goalkeepers, their gloves), but my favourite was the hall of fame. Down one of the corridors were lit up screens with snapshots of every player to have donned the famous white kit – it was quite funny spotting some of the more awful players (Thomas Gravesen) along with a few of my favourites (eye candy purposes of course: Beckham, Kaka...), but the room was quite bright.

In all, it was a lovely few hours, particularly as we were allowed to walk around at our own pace. Even though I had been before, I was still looking forward to going and if anything, it was better than my last recollection. Tickets were €19, which is reasonable considering you could spend hours there and there was plenty to see. It’s also really easy to get there, once you’ve mastered the Spanish Metro system (which isn’t exactly difficult), so it’s something I thoroughly recommend visiting if you’re in Madrid!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

My trip to Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (part one)

I recently went on a four-day break to Madrid and while there, had to go and visit the Bernabéu. I’d been a couple of times before (including on match day), but my boyfriend hadn’t and was desperate to go! No matter how many times I visit, the sheer magnitude of the stadium always overwhelms me. I think this is largely due to the fact it’s far superior to the grounds I usually visit during the season.

On arrival, we had to collect our tickets and luckily you can buy these on the day and there’s no need to book. The tour begins in tower B, which is the direction you originally come from once at the Santiago Bernabéu metro stop. After ascending a number of escalators, you find yourself in the top tier where you’re presented with a fabulous panoramic view of the while stadium. Because it isn’t a guided tour, you can spend as much time as you like taking photos and standing in awe and admiration. I’d imagine it would feel a lot higher up when full, if you were sitting at the back for a game – to me, it didn’t feel too far from pitch level, but I guess that’s because it was so empty. From here, you go down the stairs, a level at a time, with plenty of view points on the way, before reaching the pitch.

I found being on ground a lot more exciting and you’re within touching distance of the hallowed turf (although it’s obviously cordoned off to prevent it getting spoilt). Walking around the edge, there are plenty more photo opportunities, including pitch side, as well as the coaching area and players’ bench – again a far cry from anything I’d ever seen before! The seats in the dugout were even more comfortable than the ones I sat in when I visited Old Trafford! After soaking up some of the beauty up close, it’s time to walk down the tunnel, which weirdly is separated into two different walkways, divided by railings.
With it being so quiet and empty, with no buzz surrounding a game, I found the interior quite eerie – there was a weird hospital smell, which soon turned to one of strong bleach. Everything was so dark as well. The last time I visited, the home dressing room was close for refurbishment, so it was good to finally look around – even if you couldn’t sit on the benches. Pictures of the current squad and their numbered shirts hung from the walls and it was quite amazing to think we were sharing a room utilised by so many legends and world class players! It was also funny seeing where everyone’s positions were, including the fourth-choice goal keeper who sat on his own! The away dressing room was similar, but you were allowed to take a seat. There was also a couple of hot tubs, the toilets and showers (which weirdly, someone took a photo of) and a massage room. The latter was rather disappointing compared to everything else we had already seen – it was a small cramped room with four massage tables and a couple of cabinets filled with various medical products. It almost seemed out of place and like I say, was underwhelming.
The press room was the final place of note and was clearly one of the more popular areas – there was a queue outside the entrance and groups of people standing around, waiting to have their photos taken. After taking a seat in the press area while the queues died down, I took my place in the manager’s seat in the middle of the podium. Of course it was a little strange, not having an audience, but you were left imagining what it’d be like post match, in full flow.
There were also a couple of professional photo opportunities on the way round and you could have your photo taken holding a trophy, as well as with your favourite player (we both chose Kaka). You were given a ticket and were allowed to view and purchase the photos in the club shop – unfortunately, I couldn’t justify spending €12 or €17 on them, but it was a bit of fun regardless!

Look out for part two with photos and a write-up from the museum.

Monday, 10 June 2013

It’s my birthday! Competition

Two years ago today, I wrote my first post and I never thought so many people would read (and help contribute towards) so many of my rambles! As a way of saying thank you to you all for your support and feedback along the way, I thought I’d run a little competition. To clarify, I don’t receive money from advertisers or the like so the prize will be coming out of my own money, but it’s the least I could do to say thank you!
The prize
A t shirt by Cult Zeros.
If you have no idea who they are and what they do, check out the website.
A cult zero can be anyone, no matter what league or nationality and the team have a large database of clubs and players, as well as the option to create your own! You may have seen on Twitter I have a rather lovely #goalslikehydey tee, which I requested to Paul. I love it.
The rules
·         Complete the following raffle draw
·         There will be ONE winner and I will be carefully moderating the results
·         Prize is for a women/men/youth t shirt to the value of £13.99 + postage and packaging
·         Although they ship across the world, the competition will be open to UK residents only (sorry international followers!)
·         Competition ends on Saturday 15th June at 00:00
·         No returns policy, as stated on the Cult Zeros website

Thank you everyone for your continued support over the last couple of years and the future. Enjoy!

Lucy x

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