When I went to Scandinavia and Russia in May/June of 2006 I didn’t realize it, but I ended up in Berlin during World Cup, it was a great time to go and until I can return to Berlin I’ll always wonder if the city was great of if the World Cup was great – I suspect a little bit of both.
We got into the city on the day of a Germany game, as the game was ending. I’m not a soccer fan, but WOW, the city was electric! After checking into our Hostel we were taken to the area of the fan mile and I went to a nice dinner with a group of about 10 people. After dinner a bunch of us went to the fan mile. It was an absolute mad house, mostly because a game had just ended and people were starting to leave. But I wanted in, as did a couple other people. Those of us who wanted to go to the fan mile walked single-file against a fence holding on to each other, so we wouldn’t get separated. For some it was too much and they turned back. Once we got through the crowd we were rewarded! The outfits people were wearing were crazy, funny hats and wisgs with the German flag colors. Everyone was happy and jovial and drunk.
We ended up dancing, not something I normally do when I’m sober (I hadn’t been drinking). At one point the song “Footballs Coming Home” came on. I had never heard the song before, but everyone else had and they were REALLY happy to hear it again. Everyone was dancing and jumping and screaming along with the song, it was a definite step up in the atmosphere. Now whenever I hear that song I remember that night, I even bought the live version because it reminded me of the atmosphere of the night, instead of the studio version. One of the girls I was with commented that I looked so happy that night, and I was, I was really into the environment and having so much fun there. I still don’t like soccer, but I’m certainly interested in going to another World Cup or an Olympics or other like sport that will attract international visitors ready to have fun.
One of the funniest things to me that night was that I was wearing a shirt that said “Polska.” I’m a proud American but that night everyone thought I was Polish and liked that, so I adopted Poland for the night.