Before I came to Europe, I’ll admit I didn’t even know what the World Cup was. Surprising right? It’s one of the biggest sporting events in the world and hugely popular – though I think part of that has to do with social media and the exposure it provides to the world, who previously had to rely on TV and paper news to know what was happening. You see, Canada doesn’t even make it to the competition, let alone have a chance of winning it (hockey is our sport), so it’s only in recent years that we’ve really jumped on the FIFA World Cup excitement in a big way.
As I spent more and more time in Europe however, I quickly learned that that this event huge! My first taste of it was in the Athens airport, where people were huddled around television screens while waiting for their flights. Then, when I got to Amsterdam, the Netherlands beat Brazil and the city went bizurk! So much pride. So much orange. It was awesome.
The next day, I arrived in Cologne when Germany made it to the semi finals – again, the city went crazy. A couple days later, arriving in Madrid I saw Spain take on Germany and secure their spot in the final match. Yep, you guessed it, city when manic with people partying in the streets.
But the real fun happened when Spain took on Netherlands a few days later while I was still in Madrid. Being on a one year trip around the world, the chances of me being in the capital city of the country that would win the FIFA World Cup 2010 final were pretty slim, but somehow, it happened. My local friends and I watched the game from an ‘oh so Spanish’ cantina and with the game tied right until the end, emotions and anxiety were running hi.
I’ll never forget the moment they scored.
Hugging, crying, screaming, cheering, dancing. I thought some people were going to explode with happiness. It was magical. The patrons quickly poured out into the streets and so began the biggest street party I could even imagine. Tens of thousands of people came together to celebrate and show their pride for what their team had just achieved, and me, the little guy from Canada who’s country doesn’t even qualify, was welcomed with open arms to share in their celebrations.
It’s most likely this will never happen again. Often with travel it is important to stop and fully take in a once in a lifetime experience. This was one of them. I danced the night away with my friends and their fellow Spaniards and when the sun began to rise and I finally went to sleep for an hour before catching my train to experience what to see in Barcelona, they continued to party, right through the morning.
Join me in this video as I take you through one of the most exhilarating nights of my life and hopefully you can feel the energy of Madrid on that iconic day!
Join me to take your through one of the craziest nights of my life.