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My Euro 2016 story: Day One – The Journey Begins

It started as an idea in 2012.

Euro 2016 sign

A conversation down the pub with a few friends dreaming of going to see England in an international tournament. As a 21 year old lifelong football fan, I was totally game! Who wouldn’t want to go to a distant land and support the mighty England compete in a major tournament with the hope in your heart that they’ll come home with the trophy at the end?

Although I am always the optimist, I am also a realist, and the original idea was the World Cup in Brazil 2014 I felt was a little farfetched, and certainly wasn’t possible in my eyes. But France 2016? Yes absolutely.

I belatedly got my England membership, so I had to play catch up with my friends, Coatesy, and Trigg, who had gone to many games already and accumulated many “caps” which are required to apply for tickets for matches at major tournaments. Along the way we have seen some great games (Away to Scotland 3-1 at Celtic Park was a standout), and some major drosses (A midweek painful viewing of a 1-0 win against Norway, a converted Wayne Rooney penalty was the difference).

It’s come down to this, over the last four years we’ve gone to so many England games that we are able to get tickets for all three group games and the four conditional games in the knockout phases, depending on how far we get.

First up, Marseille. So Trigg, Coatesy and I got up early and luckily transported to Stansted Airport (Thanks Sammy) where we met Trigg’s uni friend, Nick, we then flew to the south of France and got going on our tour of France.

Italy stop off

Oh yeah, it turns out that airlines are clever and bump up prices for major tournaments such as the European Championships. A bit priced out of a direct flight to Marseille, we first went to Rome Ciampino, then got a taxi from there to Rome’s main airport, Fiumicino.

Now it sounds hectic enough, but let me ask you a question. Have you ever been in a taxi that goes 20 KM/H over the speed limit at all times, go from overtaking someone in the outside lane by using the hard shoulder to cross over three lanes to get back to top speed? No? Well we have. The funniest part was the fact he had the audacity to moan at other driver who was sticking to the speed limit, then looking at yours truly to concur with him.

How much did we save by doing this crazy act, you ask? a mere £70 each! Totally worth it.

Marsielle train station

Okay, so eventually we would have to get onto the subject of the trouble which was widely reported in the press. Yes, it happened, its all there on the internet for you to see. I had messages from a schoolfriend who was also out for the Russia game in Marseille,about the trouble he said “Don’t go down dodgy streets”, and even claimed he had a knife pulled on him by a local on his first night there. My friend kept messaging me reporting when things were “kicking off”, especially on the Thursday night prior to us arriving. So its fair to say although I wasn’t afraid – I was apprehensive. More on this later.

We arrived in Marseille around 7pm local time and as we arrived, there was hoards of cars full of Turkish fans waving their flag, leaning outside their cars, cheering and beeping their horns. It was good to see them enjoying themselves. We got a bus into centre of Marseille and the roads were busy. I was thrilled by what I originally saw of Marseille, it seemed a bit run-down, nothing much to look at. However, once we got to the centre it was a bit more promising.

Marseille

It took a while to find a taxi – the streets were so full of cars it was difficult to pick one out. Eventually we succeeded, but it wasn’t until we got to the hotel where I was made to look like a fool.

We walked through the door of the hotel with the hotel manager looking a little perplexed the fact we arrived. I said the booking was in the name of Appleyard to which he looked through his papers. Around 90 seconds later he asked for my confirmation. His English wasn’t perfect and after a slight gaze at my paperwork he simply said the word “Non!”.

He pointed out to me that I had booked the wrong day, and wasn’t scheduled to arrive until tomorrow.

After a few minutes later we realised we booked the flights after the rooms and didn’t clock they didn’t match. We negotiated a room for the night and then cancelled the one for Sunday. At a cost of around 135 Euros extra between the four of us.

I’m lucky Trigg, Coatesy and Nick took it in good heart.

My Euro 2016 story: Day One – The Journey Begins

It started as an idea in 2012.

Euro 2016 sign

A conversation down the pub with a few friends dreaming of going to see England in an international tournament. As a 21 year old lifelong football fan, I was totally game! Who wouldn’t want to go to a distant land and support the mighty England compete in a major tournament with the hope in your heart that they’ll come home with the trophy at the end?

Although I am always the optimist, I am also a realist, and the original idea was the World Cup in Brazil 2014 I felt was a little farfetched, and certainly wasn’t possible in my eyes. But France 2016? Yes absolutely.

I belatedly got my England membership, so I had to play catch up with my friends, Coatesy, and Trigg, who had gone to many games already and accumulated many “caps” which are required to apply for tickets for matches at major tournaments. Along the way we have seen some great games (Away to Scotland 3-1 at Celtic Park was a standout), and some major drosses (A midweek painful viewing of a 1-0 win against Norway, a converted Wayne Rooney penalty was the difference).

It’s come down to this, over the last four years we’ve gone to so many England games that we are able to get tickets for all three group games and the four conditional games in the knockout phases, depending on how far we get.

First up, Marseille. So Trigg, Coatesy and I got up early and luckily transported to Stansted Airport (Thanks Sammy) where we met Trigg’s uni friend, Nick, we then flew to the south of France and got going on our tour of France.

Italy stop off

Oh yeah, it turns out that airlines are clever and bump up prices for major tournaments such as the European Championships. A bit priced out of a direct flight to Marseille, we first went to Rome Ciampino, then got a taxi from there to Rome’s main airport, Fiumicino.

Now it sounds hectic enough, but let me ask you a question. Have you ever been in a taxi that goes 20 KM/H over the speed limit at all times, go from overtaking someone in the outside lane by using the hard shoulder to cross over three lanes to get back to top speed? No? Well we have. The funniest part was the fact he had the audacity to moan at other driver who was sticking to the speed limit, then looking at yours truly to concur with him.

How much did we save by doing this crazy act, you ask? a mere £70 each! Totally worth it.

Marsielle train station

Okay, so eventually we would have to get onto the subject of the trouble which was widely reported in the press. Yes, it happened, its all there on the internet for you to see. I had messages from a schoolfriend who was also out for the Russia game in Marseille,about the trouble he said “Don’t go down dodgy streets”, and even claimed he had a knife pulled on him by a local on his first night there. My friend kept messaging me reporting when things were “kicking off”, especially on the Thursday night prior to us arriving. So its fair to say although I wasn’t afraid – I was apprehensive. More on this later.

We arrived in Marseille around 7pm local time and as we arrived, there was hoards of cars full of Turkish fans waving their flag, leaning outside their cars, cheering and beeping their horns. It was good to see them enjoying themselves. We got a bus into centre of Marseille and the roads were busy. I was thrilled by what I originally saw of Marseille, it seemed a bit run-down, nothing much to look at. However, once we got to the centre it was a bit more promising.

Marseille

It took a while to find a taxi – the streets were so full of cars it was difficult to pick one out. Eventually we succeeded, but it wasn’t until we got to the hotel where I was made to look like a fool.

We walked through the door of the hotel with the hotel manager looking a little perplexed the fact we arrived. I said the booking was in the name of Appleyard to which he looked through his papers. Around 90 seconds later he asked for my confirmation. His English wasn’t perfect and after a slight gaze at my paperwork he simply said the word “Non!”.

He pointed out to me that I had booked the wrong day, and wasn’t scheduled to arrive until tomorrow.

After a few minutes later we realised we booked the flights after the rooms and didn’t clock they didn’t match. We negotiated a room for the night and then cancelled the one for Sunday. At a cost of around 135 Euros extra between the four of us.

I’m lucky Trigg, Coatesy and Nick took it in good heart.

My Euro 2016 story: Day One – The Journey Begins

It started as an idea in 2012.

Euro 2016 sign

A conversation down the pub with a few friends dreaming of going to see England in an international tournament. As a 21 year old lifelong football fan, I was totally game! Who wouldn’t want to go to a distant land and support the mighty England compete in a major tournament with the hope in your heart that they’ll come home with the trophy at the end?

Although I am always the optimist, I am also a realist, and the original idea was the World Cup in Brazil 2014 I felt was a little farfetched, and certainly wasn’t possible in my eyes. But France 2016? Yes absolutely.

I belatedly got my England membership, so I had to play catch up with my friends, Coatesy, and Trigg, who had gone to many games already and accumulated many “caps” which are required to apply for tickets for matches at major tournaments. Along the way we have seen some great games (Away to Scotland 3-1 at Celtic Park was a standout), and some major drosses (A midweek painful viewing of a 1-0 win against Norway, a converted Wayne Rooney penalty was the difference).

It’s come down to this, over the last four years we’ve gone to so many England games that we are able to get tickets for all three group games and the four conditional games in the knockout phases, depending on how far we get.

First up, Marseille. So Trigg, Coatesy and I got up early and luckily transported to Stansted Airport (Thanks Sammy) where we met Trigg’s uni friend, Nick, we then flew to the south of France and got going on our tour of France.

Italy stop off

Oh yeah, it turns out that airlines are clever and bump up prices for major tournaments such as the European Championships. A bit priced out of a direct flight to Marseille, we first went to Rome Ciampino, then got a taxi from there to Rome’s main airport, Fiumicino.

Now it sounds hectic enough, but let me ask you a question. Have you ever been in a taxi that goes 20 KM/H over the speed limit at all times, go from overtaking someone in the outside lane by using the hard shoulder to cross over three lanes to get back to top speed? No? Well we have. The funniest part was the fact he had the audacity to moan at other driver who was sticking to the speed limit, then looking at yours truly to concur with him.

How much did we save by doing this crazy act, you ask? a mere £70 each! Totally worth it.

Marsielle train station

Okay, so eventually we would have to get onto the subject of the trouble which was widely reported in the press. Yes, it happened, its all there on the internet for you to see. I had messages from a schoolfriend who was also out for the Russia game in Marseille,about the trouble he said “Don’t go down dodgy streets”, and even claimed he had a knife pulled on him by a local on his first night there. My friend kept messaging me reporting when things were “kicking off”, especially on the Thursday night prior to us arriving. So its fair to say although I wasn’t afraid – I was apprehensive. More on this later.

We arrived in Marseille around 7pm local time and as we arrived, there was hoards of cars full of Turkish fans waving their flag, leaning outside their cars, cheering and beeping their horns. It was good to see them enjoying themselves. We got a bus into centre of Marseille and the roads were busy. I was thrilled by what I originally saw of Marseille, it seemed a bit run-down, nothing much to look at. However, once we got to the centre it was a bit more promising.

Marseille

It took a while to find a taxi – the streets were so full of cars it was difficult to pick one out. Eventually we succeeded, but it wasn’t until we got to the hotel where I was made to look like a fool.

We walked through the door of the hotel with the hotel manager looking a little perplexed the fact we arrived. I said the booking was in the name of Appleyard to which he looked through his papers. Around 90 seconds later he asked for my confirmation. His English wasn’t perfect and after a slight gaze at my paperwork he simply said the word “Non!”.

He pointed out to me that I had booked the wrong day, and wasn’t scheduled to arrive until tomorrow.

After a few minutes later we realised we booked the flights after the rooms and didn’t clock they didn’t match. We negotiated a room for the night and then cancelled the one for Sunday. At a cost of around 135 Euros extra between the four of us.

I’m lucky Trigg, Coatesy and Nick took it in good heart.

My Euro 2016 story: Day One – The Journey Begins

It started as an idea in 2012.

Euro 2016 sign

A conversation down the pub with a few friends dreaming of going to see England in an international tournament. As a 21 year old lifelong football fan, I was totally game! Who wouldn’t want to go to a distant land and support the mighty England compete in a major tournament with the hope in your heart that they’ll come home with the trophy at the end?

Although I am always the optimist, I am also a realist, and the original idea was the World Cup in Brazil 2014 I felt was a little farfetched, and certainly wasn’t possible in my eyes. But France 2016? Yes absolutely.

I belatedly got my England membership, so I had to play catch up with my friends, Coatesy, and Trigg, who had gone to many games already and accumulated many “caps” which are required to apply for tickets for matches at major tournaments. Along the way we have seen some great games (Away to Scotland 3-1 at Celtic Park was a standout), and some major drosses (A midweek painful viewing of a 1-0 win against Norway, a converted Wayne Rooney penalty was the difference).

It’s come down to this, over the last four years we’ve gone to so many England games that we are able to get tickets for all three group games and the four conditional games in the knockout phases, depending on how far we get.

First up, Marseille. So Trigg, Coatesy and I got up early and luckily transported to Stansted Airport (Thanks Sammy) where we met Trigg’s uni friend, Nick, we then flew to the south of France and got going on our tour of France.

Italy stop off

Oh yeah, it turns out that airlines are clever and bump up prices for major tournaments such as the European Championships. A bit priced out of a direct flight to Marseille, we first went to Rome Ciampino, then got a taxi from there to Rome’s main airport, Fiumicino.

Now it sounds hectic enough, but let me ask you a question. Have you ever been in a taxi that goes 20 KM/H over the speed limit at all times, go from overtaking someone in the outside lane by using the hard shoulder to cross over three lanes to get back to top speed? No? Well we have. The funniest part was the fact he had the audacity to moan at other driver who was sticking to the speed limit, then looking at yours truly to concur with him.

How much did we save by doing this crazy act, you ask? a mere £70 each! Totally worth it.

Marsielle train station

Okay, so eventually we would have to get onto the subject of the trouble which was widely reported in the press. Yes, it happened, its all there on the internet for you to see. I had messages from a schoolfriend who was also out for the Russia game in Marseille,about the trouble he said “Don’t go down dodgy streets”, and even claimed he had a knife pulled on him by a local on his first night there. My friend kept messaging me reporting when things were “kicking off”, especially on the Thursday night prior to us arriving. So its fair to say although I wasn’t afraid – I was apprehensive. More on this later.

We arrived in Marseille around 7pm local time and as we arrived, there was hoards of cars full of Turkish fans waving their flag, leaning outside their cars, cheering and beeping their horns. It was good to see them enjoying themselves. We got a bus into centre of Marseille and the roads were busy. I was thrilled by what I originally saw of Marseille, it seemed a bit run-down, nothing much to look at. However, once we got to the centre it was a bit more promising.

Marseille

It took a while to find a taxi – the streets were so full of cars it was difficult to pick one out. Eventually we succeeded, but it wasn’t until we got to the hotel where I was made to look like a fool.

We walked through the door of the hotel with the hotel manager looking a little perplexed the fact we arrived. I said the booking was in the name of Appleyard to which he looked through his papers. Around 90 seconds later he asked for my confirmation. His English wasn’t perfect and after a slight gaze at my paperwork he simply said the word “Non!”.

He pointed out to me that I had booked the wrong day, and wasn’t scheduled to arrive until tomorrow.

After a few minutes later we realised we booked the flights after the rooms and didn’t clock they didn’t match. We negotiated a room for the night and then cancelled the one for Sunday. At a cost of around 135 Euros extra between the four of us.

I’m lucky Trigg, Coatesy and Nick took it in good heart.

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