Being in Europe during the World Cup was so fun. Occurring every four years, it is the sporting event to watch in most of the world. I can’t say that I am a soccer buff, or any kind of sports buff for that matter, but I have watched a lot more of it since moving to Dubai.
During our travels we tried to get dinner somewhere we could watch the games. In Croatia, we saw Germany score those crazy, record-setting 7 goals against Brazil, to make it to the final round.
We arrived in Hamburg late on Saturday, before the big game on Sunday. It’s a lovely, medium-sized, but economically powerful port city, historically part of the trading group of Northern Europe, the Hanseatic League. It reminded both of us of Portland, Oregon. The first thing we saw in town, was a huge triathlon event.
We later walked through a gorgeous park, with Adirondack chairs, flowers, fountains and a busy skate park. It’s a very active city with lots of people out running and biking.
Hamburg is incredibly friendly and genuinely welcoming. Less popular than Berlin, Munich or even Frankfurt, we kept hearing “Enjoy Hamburg!” and we did. During the day we scoped out where we would watch the World Cup final, finding the stadium, where the game would play on the big screen. We also explored the St. Pauli neighborhood nearby.
It was pretty packed and fun, but for a change of scenery, at half-time we went to St. Pauli, where there was another outdoor viewing area. It had started to rain, so we tucked into tiny Pyjama bar. This was not a 7-1 game. Fans were getting more tense as the night progressed and neither team was scoring.
The game went into overtime before Germany finally scored and won!
It was an awesome party. Everyone at the bar started this huge sing a long, that lasted hours. Fans were marching down the street shouting cheers. We went out into the crowd for a moment, but it was a bit overwhelming so we went back inside. We chimed in dancing and singing, late into the night. And yes, at one point, the bar was lit on fire.