Saturday, 11 June 2016

Day 3 - Hal Robson-Kanu

Miles - 26 (just the car rides in and out of Bordeaux from the hotel)

French word of the day - Biere (Beer)

"Excuse me sir, what does it say on the back of those t shirts" the elderly French gentleman said to me. "I think it's meant to say in French that they have sex with sheep" I replied. "Yes, but the translation is very poor and it makes no sense" a nearby French girl on a bicycle chipped in. "Don't tell them" I said, "they're having a good time".

And they were, and so were around 24,000 other Welsh fans in Bordeaux. It's a great city, and has managed the influx of fans with total ease. The bars and cafes have been packed, the weather has been reasonably kind, and there's been a very relaxing atmosphere all around.

After a morning stroll down Rue St Catherine, France's longest pedestrianised street as you all know, we ventured to the Blarney Stone. I always think it's vital to really try to get to know a city when you travel, and nothing achieves this less than visiting a faux Irish pub to drink a pint of carlsberg out of a plastic cup, surrounded by people from your own country.

From there, we had an enjoyable catch up with some fellow Montgomeryshire lads, and after a decent pizza, more beer, a glass of wine and a shot of limoncello, we headed off to the Cathedral, then another couple of bars for more beer and wine, and then headed off to the stadium.

To be honest, the alcohol was kicking in at that point and I joined in perhaps over-heartily with the Welsh songs on the tram on the way there. The Welsh have really upped their game in terms of songs and decent airings were given for both 'Give me hope Joe Allen' and 'Ain't nobody like Joe Ledley'. However, neither of these could touch the 'Hal Robson-Kanu' rave-up.

Ah, Hal. A proper cult hero. I'd even worn my Hal t shirt as a tribute to the man. Says everything about Wales that's man who has been released by Reading and essentially is currently eligible to claim unemployment benefits is just as revered by the fans as one of the top 5 footballers in the world.

Not going to rattle on too much about the game. If you're interested, you will have seen it yourself so you'll know how it went. And if you're not, well then you're just waiting for me to go back to amusing anecdotes aren't you?

All I can say is that the Welsh fans and team were superb. Brought, emotion, passion and humour to the stadium in bucketfuls. Kept together when Slovakia threatened to overrun us second half, and then of course Hal came on and with eight minutes to go, and gave us the result that we've all dreamed of. The last few minutes with the wall of sound in the stadium was just terrific. 

A perfect day. Spent an hour or so more in Bordeaux with another beer and a ham and cheese sandwich with the ham taken out (the vegetarian option) and then back to the hotel in time to see the end of the England game with a nightcap.

Plenty of alcohol. Plenty of singing. Plenty of magic. 

And Hal.

Off to Lyon tomorrow. See you there. 

1 comment:

  1. Class mate. Great read. Cant wait for HRK to rock up down the liberty...