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The one step from El Clásico (ep. 3)
I met spring in the capital of Spain. During the 1-3 March I was in one city break in Madrid. It is the 3rd largest city in Europe, after London and Berlin, and the largest tourist city in Spain. In addition to tourist attractions, huge parks, rich and well-preserved history, Madrid is known for its nightlife, but also for the shows and sporting events that take place annually.
Madrid is applying for the 2020 Summer Olympics
Currently, Madrid is applying for the 2020 Summer Olympics, alongside Istanbul and Tokyo. With regard to sporting events, the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament, is organized in Madrid. From 2009 it is played on the Caja Mágica arena. Also in Madrid there is Circuito del Jarama, a circuit that hosted events such as: Formula One Spanish Grand Prix, Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix, SBK.
But Madrid is recognized as the city of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, two bands with European and even world renown. FIFA declared the Real Madrid team the best of the 20th century, after winning 9 European Cups, a record. Atletico Madrid is not even worse, winning 2 UEFA Europa League cups in the last 3 years.
The second cup was won at the National Arena, in Bucharest, in 2012. The UEFA Europa League final 2012 was played between Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid and ended with the score 0-3. Falcao scored two beautiful goals and was close to the 3, and Diego closed the scoring table with the 3 goal of the match scored in the 85 minute.
Madrid is one of the 4 cities in Europe where there are two 5-star UEFA stadiums: Santiago Bernabéu - home of Real Madrid and Vicente Calderón - home of Atletico Madrid.
Santiago Bernabéu and El Clásico
Together with paravion.ro I chose the period of the city break and got into the weekend with El Clasico. I was pretty inspired, wasn't I? Well, when I set the period I didn't take into account the match. Good luck to Teo because he reminded me of El Clasico.
Real Madrid played "at home" with FC Barcelona and beat 2-1. On this occasion I visited the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, but only outside. We arrived in the area shortly before the start of the game and left near the end.
I did not have a ticket for the match, but it was a pleasure to be close to El Clasico and to watch it with the locals. We took pictures with them, we took each other, we enjoyed the 2 goals scored by Real Madrid, it was an unforgettable atmosphere. This is how I discovered that the Spaniards are extremely friendly, maybe too physically loving. They kiss when they meet, they kiss each other, they compliment each other, they take part in a whole greeting ritual.
Beer at EUR 1 glass - promotion during the match
I was impressed with how the Spanish take advantage of such special moments. In many areas of the city I saw promotional offers during the 2 hours of football. The premises have at least one TV on which El Clasico could be watched. The bars in the stadium area were full of tourists and Spaniards. The draft beer was sold at 1 EUR for the glass, the menus were reduced by up to 40%, a pizzeria offered 2 pizza at the price of only one during the match. Plus I saw a lot of mobile tones with scarves, T-shirts and many other souvenirs, but also with soft drinks, sandwiches, barbecues, etc.
I took a tour of the stadium, photographed it on all sides, and analyzed every move around it. First of all, Santiago Bernabéu is a very soundproof stadium. Except for the screams from the holes, nothing is heard outside. The Spaniards do not come with the cars to the stadium, there are not many parking spaces. But I saw many scooters and motorcycles. Plus they use a lot Metro de Madrid, the means of public transport. Around the stadium we did not see taxis parked like us, there is no such thing. They only come to order.
Those in the province came with rented coaches, and they were parked on a secondary street blocked by Madrid police. Everything takes place in a controlled madness. The sanitation staff always acted on the streets around the stadium and collected garbage. At the end of the match, there was no mess in the area.
It was a beautiful experience and I had unique moments. I had a little dream of being close to a big game and visiting the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. I hope to be in the stands next time.
City break El Clasico
In the short walk to Madrid, I realized that you do not need much money to live beautiful moments anywhere in the world. For El Clasico fans, I advise you to watch the schedule of matches, look for cheap airfares, decent accommodation and never stop thinking. Tickets for the matches between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are sold many months in advance and it is not easy to find decent prices, but the experience is worth the effort. It would be interesting for a travel agency to organize city breaks according to El Clasico and with match tickets included in the price.
I stayed less than 48 hours in Madrid and came with many beautiful memories. So you can set yourself a weekend getaway, depending on different sports competitions, events, shows, concerts, etc.