Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'm a Brondby soccer fan now

What a day I've had. I woke up at 4 unable to get back to sleep. Took a shower, watched the BBC, read a little about Copenhagen, but got restless quickly. I went down to the front desk and rented a bicycle for 100 krone. I looked for the street names I would need, but almost instantly forgot them because these words are incredibly long and impossible to pronounce. It was morning rush hour and I just joined up with the hundreds of happy Danes biking to work. They have special lanes for the bikes and the rules for bicycles take presidence over cars... bikes get the right of way. So I'm all over the place and get lost. I stop to figure out where I am and guess my way over to the National History Museum. It's free museum day so cruise in with my ipod playing and take about 3 hours reviewing Danish history... quite enlightening. These guys were major players in the slave trade, on the forefront of women's rights and basicly open to alternative lifestyles before anyone else in Europe or the U.S. I pop out of the musem dripping with sweat... it was 90 degrees and even hotter inside... they don't have air conditioning. For them it's like bringing sand to the beach. It was 2 pm when I got back to the hotel. I went down stairs to get some coffee because I slept for 2 hours and thought it a bad idea in coping with my jet lag. I was watching the tour (live) with this guy and his wife (german) and this Danish dude walks in starts asking all these questions about the tour and they broke into English. After a spell, the guy asked the german dude if he wanted a ticket to a local soccer match, he declined, I raised my hand and he gave me the ticket! He was happy to give me the ticket, but said I would have to find my own way there because there was no room in his car. Then I found out where the stadium was... about 30km away. But its all flat here and I still had my bike rental. How bad could it be? So I go to get directions from the front desk guy and he starts talking about a right turn here and left turn there, get on the freeway... wait dude, I'm on a bicycle. Really?! OK...and he starts drawing a line through the streets I would have to take on his map, turns the page in the book and continues the line. Turns the page again and continues, turns the page again and circles the stadium. He said it took him 20 minutes back when he was fit... I had a rental bike without 3rd of 3 gears and a wobbly rear wheel that squeeked. he said it would take me 45 minutes to an hour with the bike I had and accounting for getting lost. I went to my room and made a cheat sheet so I wouldn't have to pull out a map every intersection and it worked, I didn't get lost once, but it took me just over an hour to get there, plus I stopped for dinner. The ride was easy. I was just on high alert for every street I was looking for but I had my ipod on and was just cruising at C+ effort not really concerned with being on time. The city landscape quickly turned industial after passing through what I now realize was the red light district. No, I didn't stop there. Once I got out to the suberbs I felt very at ease. It was warm, I had water and I stopped at the hot dog stand for a quick snack. All of a sudden out of the forrest I rode through this stadium apears, the same one I flew over when I arrived. I was also worried about where I was going to put my bike. As I pull up I heard the crowd roar and knew I had missed something. No longer was I worried about the bike. There were literally thousands of bikes just everywhere and I put mine near the entrance without a thought... who cares, it's a rental! I missed the first 8 minutes of the game and the first goal scored by Vejle! That's the town we will pick up the boat I'll be using for the Gold Cup. Vjile was the guest team playing Brondby IF. I locked the rear wheel of my bike up next to the thousands of other bikes and walked in. Within seconds the guy who gave me the ticket came up to me with this look of astonishment and said, "You made it!" I said no problem and showed him my cheat sheet that read: right on Norre Sogade go through Jorgens Alle right on Vesterbrograde left on Enghavevej right on Kirke cross train tracks right on Vigerslev alle left on Vigerslevvej right on Fole Hoven\Holbokmatorvejen cross freeway right on Sonderkaer left on hvidovbevej right on Arnold Nielsens Blvd. right on Kettegard alle left on Kettegars alle (yes, they are different) right on Kettevej right on Byvej\ Brondbystervej left on Park alle left on Commel Kirkevej The stadium is 100 m down the road, you can't miss it. Bingo! Brondby Stadium I took some pictures and made two short videos to capture the sights and sounds of a real passionate futbol game. Brondby scored two goals in the 2nd half After the game I had to buy a Brondby team jersey, then it was back on the rental bike and head for home in the twilight\dusky warm evening after glow. Made it to the hotel in about an hour, took a shower, grabbed a beer and started typing this... pretty cool, huh? Not bad for a first day in Scandinavia.

Click on this link to get a sense of how rowdy the crowds get at a Danish Soccer match.

This is the guy who just gave me a ticket to the game.

A lot of yellow cards were issued in this match.

Lining up for a corner kick.

The fans in Red are from Vjile... they were drunk, loud, religated to this one section and were throwing all kinds of junk on to the field. They had to stop the match twice to clean it up.


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