Thursday, 5 April 2018
Football fever in Vigo!
My home and year abroad lives collided when Celta Vigo ended up playing Manchester United in the Europa League semi-finals. That day I took the bus from campus into Vigo, more to spend time in the city than out of interest in the football. However, it turned into a highly memorable afternoon.
Although I had known football was big in Vigo, I didn't realise just how much the city got behind its team. Seeing blue Celta scarves on the horses at Plaza de España made me smile in surprise - but then they started appearing on every sculpture. The sense of team spirit was omnipresent, and so strong.
As I wandered through the wide, elegant streets, I saw references to the football everywhere, along with many signs of spring. It was lovely.
Ladybirds seem to be "in"!
Along Calle Príncipe there were some Hall of Fame stars for Galician filmmakers and directors.
The Merman, who I had come to love and feel a connection to, was sporting his Celta scarf as well as a giant shirt.
Even the dinosaur was in on it!
I stopped into the A Laxe shopping centre and treated myself to some frozen yogurt with my usual cookie topping.
I went down to the harbour.
I soon noticed that a long stretch of seafront had been taken over by United fans and was now decked out with banners and full of chanting and excitement.
Although I support Wigan Athletic, encountering so many people from the same area as me and hearing Northern accents was nice, albeit surreal. There was a café-bar close by that I had wanted to try, so I settled in to eat cake, drink hot chocolate and watch the fans' antics.
Oreo cocktail! I don't drink but that sounds pretty cool
Eggs with jam (they mean ham but jam with eggs might actually be nice)
A couple of brave Celta supporters in the middle of it all
Some opportunistic merch sellers were doing a roaring trade on commemorative match scarves and United hats. I resisted buying a scarf but wish I had now; it would be a way to remember a fun day. At least I have my photos.
I indulged in an ice-cream before drifting back into the old town, where I met some French-speaking friends from Uni. We sat at a bar for a bit and chatted in French. There were more United fans, arguing good-naturedly with locals. The air of anticipation for the match was quickly building up.
I reluctantly caught the last bus back to campus. I wished I could have gone to the match, after all the hype, but it was probably too late to get a ticket and getting back afterwards would have been tricky. In the end United won 1-0, but when I next saw the horses they were still wearing their scarves loud and proud.
Thanks for reading.