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
Before starting the fiesta, it’s good to take care of your stomach – wines will taste better after some traditional cheese or the famous paella. Some of the best restaurants can be found around Madrid’s old district (Old Madrid): El Sobrino de Botin, Café de Oriente, Chanterella, Café Balear. A special type of restaurant is represented by tapas (the word ‘tapas’ actually refers to different types of snacks, which accompany drinks and used to be served for free in some restaurants): El Txoko, La Escondida, La Castela, Cerveceria Alemania. If you like traditional music, Madrid has a wide range of... 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
Vienna reviews - Austria
This stop over was also gonna be fun. I had never been to Vienna really. Actually, I have but I was way too young to remember. We arrived at the...
Five hours of Vienna
Prague reviews - Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is just like a Fairy tale, it's lovely scenery makes the country a noteworthy destination. The country is in the heart of...
The Czech Republic
Luxor reviews - Egypt
Luxor is one of the oldest cities in the world, with over 7000 years old. It is situated on the border of the river Nil in the center of Egypt, in...
Luxor for first time visitors
Dhelfoi reviews - Greece
The city hasn't got too much importance, it has had during the ancient greek period. It's a small town, offering the same as every other tourist...
Visit the Oracle of Delphi
Venice reviews - Italy
A nice city, showing you a huge block of history in the city center, like the palace of the Doge, the former ruler of Venice. Also the markus place...
Rent a boat for the channels in Venice
Austin reviews - Texas
Austin is a city of the Texas that possesses countless dazzling features, exciting sites to see and background to look. It is community as to...
Things to see in Austin
Boulder reviews - Colorado
Healthy food It’s amazing how many people still believe that taste and health do not go well together. We believe the contrary is true and...
Healthy but tasty cuisine in Boulder
Burnsville reviews - Minnesota
Burnsville is a nice little town near Minneapolis. I think it's a great place to live as a family, but not really a great place to visit, as there...
Short visit in Burnsville, MN
Philadelphia reviews - Pennsylvania
The historical town of Philadelphia is a famous place where you can visit the most ancient but affluent sites. For those looking for comfortable...
One night in Philadelphia
Crested Butte reviews - Colorado
Crested Butte, just as its name suggests, is a secluded resort in southwest Colorado three miles from the town of Crested Butte. Its location in...
Relaxation and nature in Crested Butte, CO