A visit to Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Madrid, Spain
The gallery above is from April 2008, during my trip through Spain. I ended up in Madrid for a couple of days, visiting some friends, without any real travelling plan.
As a football fan though, it's hard to visit Madrid and not feel the urge to at least see from the outside the Cathedral of Spanish football, Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
To be honest, I'm not a Real Madrid fan. I'm a Liverpool man, cheering for the Reds ever since I was in my 10s. But regardless of your footballing status quo, you simply cannot help standing in awe when you see Santiago Bernabeu for the first time, especially on Match Day.
I arrived at the stadium during the early hours of Match Day (I think it was a Sunday) and the queue for tickets was already half a mile long, with people coming from all over to see the Galacticos play in what was to be their title-clinching match against Bilbao (if they'd won of course).
The line wasn't all that organized though, so we split up in commando teams to try and get tickets :) My father and I standing on one line and my brother and mom at the other line. As luck would have it, they managed to somehow get in front with their line and get 2 tickets amongst the "casual fans" section of the stadium - they were amongst the last tickets sold and they didn't even have two tickets side-by-side, they were a couple of rows across. Anyway, we were extremely lucky, there were people standing in my line that were there since the early hours of the morning and couldn't get a ticket
Fast forward 9-10 hours and we're 100 minutes before the starting whistle, in front of the imposing arena. The street is cramming with people, the sidewalk shops probably making a fortune (we bought some noise-makers and Real Madrid apparel as well). Suddenly all hell breaks loose, everyone starts going to the center of the streets, with police trying to hold back the line and clear the road. Me and my brother had no idea what was going on, but we obviously joined the crowd :) The commotion was for the Real bus, which was slowly coming through the crowd and was getting the full appreciation (and noise) of the fans. I saw the players in the bus, they didn't really seem impressed by their warm welcome (possibly due to pre-match stress/concentration) and that seemed a bit odd. Robinho was listening to music in his headphones, Sergio Ramos was talking to one of his teammates, Casillas was looking at the crowd with a focused look, but didn't really return the show of appreciation. The only one that waived towards the crowd was, who else?, Raul, the legendary captain and possibly the most loved player on Bernabeu since DiStefano.
The match itself was won by Real 3-0 and three things stood out for me in the crowd around me:
1. The mainstand holding Real's gallery was well alive, but it was nothing in terms of atmosphere/noise in comparisson to what I can only imagine the stands of Anfield, or even some Romanian teams (for example, Rapid Bucharest's gallery was far better in this sense).
2. The Bilbao supporters, numbering 40 or so were sitting IN THE MIDST of Real supporters. They chanted and cheered throughout the match and there was no tension between the supporters.
3. An old supporter to my right kept booing and jeering every time Saviola would touch the ball. When Saviola scored the opening goal, he was the only one quiet on the entire stadium. Again, I couldn't see something like this happening on Anfield.
Anyway, to close things off, being able to see a Real Madrid match first hand was an awesome experience, but in some ways it was dissapointing as heck. It left the football enthusiast in me still dreaming of my trip to Anfield to see the perfect match :)
Things about Madrid you may be interested in
Read about Madrid in our travel-guide
Short trip to the Escorial Palace, Madrid
Recommended Madrid Guide
After the 11th Century, Madrid became part of the European medieval landscape and during the early years was part of a Spanish land that was split into two kingdoms, neither of which had Madrid as their capital city. For this reason, the city lacked international prominence for most of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, although the 15th century saw the time of Spanish global dominance in the world with the melding of the two kingdoms into one as well as the rise of prominence in the status of Madrid. Even so, it was not until 1561 that Madrid became the official capital of Spain, a role which it has held ever since. In the 17th, 18th... Read more »
Recent reviews for Madrid
About Royal Palace in Madrid for visitors - Apr 30, 2009, by cipristb
The Royal Palace is one of the main tourist attractions of the city of Madird and the largest palace in Western Europe. The palace is the official residence of the king of Spain and his family, but is used only at official ceremonies, while... Read more »
Short trip to the Escorial Palace, Madrid - Apr 30, 2009, by cipristb
The Escorial Palace is located in the Madrid region 50 km from it. It is a huge building-sized, with a imposing past made to commemorate the victory of the Battle of San Quintin Its construction started in 1563 under the command of King... Read more »
Madrid attractions: the Prado Museum - Apr 30, 2009, by cipristb
Prado Museum is included in the top 10 most beautiful museums in the world. It was inaugurated in 1819. The museum is located in a building from the time of Charles The third. This building houses the most interesting collections of... Read more »
More reviews you might be interested in
Kingston reviews - Ontario
Located 3 hours from Toronto and easily reachable on the scenic Route 2 if you want to drive there, Kingston is a city that offers a beautiful...
Things to know about Kingston, Ontario
Prague reviews - Czech Republic
That trip was really long ago, but interesting. We have rent a whole loft for just nothing. So we could enjoy the trip by spending money only for...
Trip to Prague
Lille reviews - France
Here are some things you shouldn't miss in Lille: - The City Center (it’s marvelous) - La Citadelle - Forum des Sciences - EuraLille ...
What you should see in Lille
Corinth reviews - Greece
Small city, that was in ancient times a big competitor of Athens. You can reach it easily by train. Main point, the city has got to offer is the...
Bridges and ancient ruins in Corinth
Repashuta reviews - Hungary
We arrived around 11 a.m. to Miskolc, where my boyfriend's (Zoli) relatives live. Miskolc is a city situated in north Hungary. After eating and...
First Day in Repashuta
Bangalore reviews - India
Bangalore Bangalore liegt mitten in Karnatak. Die Stadt ist für die indischen Verhältnisse eine sehr moderne Stadt. Bangalore bietet den...
Die beste Orte in Indien
Rotterdam reviews - Netherlands
Rotterdam is a city in South Holland, Netherlands with a population of approximately 590 000 inhabitants in the city itself and 1 600 000...
What to know before you visit Rotterdam
Lima reviews - Peru
Brazil Brazil can be visited year round. Not all destinations however, since the south can get very humid in the summer months where you will...
Weather forecast for South America
Lacu Rosu reviews - Romania
It was about 1 or 2 o'clock in the afternoon when we arrived to the Red Lake (this translation comes from the Romanian Lacul Rosu, but in Hungarian...
At the Red Lake of Romania
Anchorage reviews - Alaska
If you really like traveling you must watch this film! I really really recommend it to you! Into the Wild is a 2007 film based on the 1996...
Travels in Alaska, review of a great movie