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June 21, 2006

Getting to the Togo game

On the day of the game Mark and I headed into town reasonably early on. We hadn't opted for the breakfast at the hotel, which would have been €5 each, so tried to find something to eat when we got there. After a wander around town towards the Fan Fest, the free entertainment laid on for the crowds of fans in the city, we found a spot to eat. We sat out in the garden at Kohler's, but battled a bit with the menu. Fortunately the waitress bought us English menus in the end, so we were OK.

One Swiss fan who was eating nearby wasn't so OK. About 5 minutes after his group had finished their breakfast he rushed back in, in an obvious state. We managed to pick up that he had lost his match ticket. There was a frantic search to no avail. I hope he found it, or somehow got into the game in the end.

Wcglasses We stopped for a pre-match beer in a different street cafe, and got stung a bit for expensive beer. They came in special Dortmund World Cup plastic glasses, but you also had to pay a €1.50 deposit for the glass, on the premise that you could then use it all over the city - which was a bit irritating because you couldn't take it to the game, and in the end we didn't have time to queue up and get our money back.

The transport to the stadium was really easy - even at Hauptbahnhoff station there were signs directing you to different routes to the stadium depending on what colour zone your ticket was in. This was really efficient, as it guaranteed an even split between the different possible routes to the stadium between the fans travelling, and everybody arrived at the stadium by the right entrances which cut down on a lot of milling around.

Wcstation

We got chatting to some English lads on the train - they'd done a similar thing to me & Mark in converging from places like Bulgaria, Dubai, Northern Ireland and Manchester to see a couple of non-England games together. I was quite amused when during the journey a bit of a cockney-wide-boy-city-trader type approached us with an over-friendly "Alright, lads?", and in reply got one of the driest conversation-stopping Mancunian "Yeah, fine thanks" that I've ever heard.

Wcschwimmbahn We got to the stadium in time to chuck back another beer at a food stall near to the station, although then we felt guilty. Just a little further along was another semi-official beer garden, only this one was being staffed by volunteers trying to raise funds to re-open the community swimming pool that is next door to the stadium.

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