Miles travelled - 444
French phrase of the day - Un bise (a kiss on the cheek)
Funny really, today ended up being all about the football, when pretty much everything else on the trip has been about other things, with the football matches just hanging it all together. A new country, new acquaintances, old friends, good food and wine, plenty of wine, some beautiful scenery and just hundreds of thousands of different people from all over the world enjoying themselves. Those have been the special moments for me, but made even better by it being linked to following Wales around, even if only for their first two games.
But today felt much more like we were all there just for the game. An important one, but not a special one. There was clearly rivalry in the air, but not a hint of trouble, and Lens gave us everything we needed by way of a welcome to at least have a beer and make some noise in the sunshine. Both Dad and I had been sorted out with tickets thanks to some very kind Welsh fans (neither of whom asked for a penny above the face value of the ticket), facilitated by another kind Welshpool soul.
Bale's brilliance again gave us a fantastic moment, and the team gave everything but even though it came in a cruel way, England's late winner saw the right team get the points. Let's hope Wales have something left in the tank for the game against Russia, and hope that Gareth Bale can be Mr Monday Night and extend our dream for a little longer. Even if they don't, it's been quite some achievement by this set of players.
On the way out, one of the volunteers, a girl about 20 or so, approached me to ask if she could have my flag for her young brother. I initially said no, thinking I'd keep the flag as a memento for myself, but a few steps later, I realised the pointlessness of keeping a flag I'd bought from EBay just a week ago, and which would end up gathering dust in our loft pretty soon. I've already got plenty of mementos and memories, and I'm sure her young brother will treasure it more than me, even if only for a short while.
So I returned to her, handed it over, and she gave me an unexpected big hug and a kiss on the cheek. So very French. And it was a very nice moment for me to sign out of these championships in person.
Thanks to pitchside photographer Matt Ashton, for getting a nice shot of me with said flag.
After the game it was back to the hotel just north of Lens, another two star job, but at least the two stars here haven't been secured to the wall with blu tack like our first one.
Home tomorrow, and one final post from me to close off this blog, and this remarkable experience.