We have all been watching the wonderful performances of our sporting heroes in the Commonwealth Games. I was thrilled to see Manika Batra win a gold in Table Tennis, as this was a game I once played. And I remember training at the community center in Panchkula with the dream of winning a medal and Manika just lived my dream. I had tears in my eyes.
With some pride and satisfaction, I started working on my travel blog. My thoughts were still inside the stadium and I wondered why are we not traveling with the sports events? As it happens on the internet, one thing leads to another and I ended up looking at the upcoming sports events. The search got refined to see what is happening in the cities that I would like to visit.
So, I landed on the UEFA Champions League page. This popular and prestigious continental club football league has its semi-finals and finals coming up in April and May. Surfing around the UEFA website, my eyes stopped at the destination where the last 5 matches are to be played. I also stumbled upon this the Axis Bank Mastercard UEFA Champions League Offer that would give two winners a free trip to the finals of the Champions League. The idea is more you spend the more are your chances of winning a trip for two to the finals at Kyiv. Others can win autographed merchandise from UEFA.
Now, you can surf and find these destinations or come with me on a virtual dream journey across these 5 cities in 5 different countries.
Liverpool – United Kingdom
Remember when I spoke about 8 English Cities you must explore, Liverpool was one of them. I mentioned how this city of the Beatles is a football crazy city. It is home to two football teams Everton FC and Liverpool FC. What makes this city very interesting for me is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City.
Now this UNESCO tag has not one but six different locations in the Liverpool city. All of these are somehow related to the maritime history of the city. These are the Pier Head, The Albert Dock, The Stanley Sock Conservation Area, Duke Street Conservation Area, the Castle Street conservation area or the commercial quarter and William Brown Street Conservation Area or the cultural quarter. You guessed it, it is the last area that I would be spending time at – as it promises art galleries and museums.
Besides this, Liverpool is the pop capital of the world, so it must be a good place to introduce yourself to some pop music.
Liverpool is the venue for the first leg of the first semi-final of UEFA Champions League 2018 between Liverpool FC and AS Roma on April 24th.
Munich – Germany
Do you know the city of Munich is named after monks who once ran a monastery here in the area that is now known as old town? Munich is best known for Oktoberfest – but that happens in September-October and we are talking about April-May.
I would like to see the old town that pretty much dominates the skyline of Munich followed by a visit to the residential palace of Munich. And I am told it houses one of the best museums in Europe. I am keeping one morning for a walk around the English Garden. It is fun to compare English gardens around the world. Remember, we have already taken you to English Gardens in Kandy, Singapore, Victoria BC.
Since my mind is still stuck in sports, I would love to take a guided tour of the Olympic stadium of Munich. Built for summer Olympics of 1972, it was a futuristic design aping the Alps.
Munich is the venue for the first leg of the second semi-final of UEFA Champions League 2018 between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid on 25th April.
Madrid – Spain
Apart from being the capital of Spain, I have always known Madrid for being the headquarters of the World Tourism Organization. What excites me about Madrid is the fact that its streets are full of sculptures.
Plazas of Puerta Del Sol stand for the ceremony of the eating of 12 grapes to bring in the new year here next to the clock tower. Who would not want to visit Plaza Mayor for the world-famous bullfights of Spain and Madrid? A guided tour of the Royal Palace that is still the official residence of Spain’s royal family is a must-see for any history enthusiast like me. Then, there is a museum triangle the various parks to stroll around.
“No one goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night,” said Hemingway about this city. So, you have to explore its nightlife and find it out for yourself what is it that keeps the city awake through the night. For the football fans, there is a mandatory tour to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium or the Real Madrid headquarters.
Madrid is the venue for the second leg of the first semi-final of UEFA Champions League 2018 happening on 2nd May.
Rome – Italy
If you are a regular reader of IndiTales, you know that I love ancient cities. Rome remains on top of the ancient world cities that I want to visit. I can only imagine myself walking around in the streets of Rome bumping into sculptures, ancient buildings, talking to them, observing the modern Rome peacefully co-existing with the ancient one.
While I have to see the popular tourist haunts like the Colosseum, the Forum Romanum, the Pantheon, throw coins at Trevi Fountain and pay my respects to its museum, I am keener looking at the life as it has changed in the same living quarters overages. In between all these, I have to taste the Italian Expresso Coffee and some wood baked Pizza.
Olympic Stadium at Rome is the venue for the second leg of the first semi-final of UEFA Champions League on 3rd May 2018.
Kyiv – Ukraine
Navigating the cities of Semi-finals, I reach the city of finals – Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. Now, this is a city I do not know much about. So, Google came to rescue once again and as I started reading, I discovered yet another ancient city living on either bank of the River Dnipro.
The moment I read about the Chernobyl Museum, I was able to connect it to the dominating news of the 1980 – the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, one of the worst tragedies in human history. Then I discovered that Kyiv is home to St Sophia’s Cathedral – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Instagram shows me lovely images of gardens and piano players in the streets of Kyiv. I am sure there is a lot to explore and discover.
My reading tells me that I am going to have fun with tongue twister names of the places in Kyiv. Kyiv or Kiev itself is an interesting controversy.
Kyiv is the venue for the finals of UEFA Champions League 2018 happening on 27th May.
Planning to Travel with Sports
As I was mentally planning this trip in my head, yes, this comes naturally to travel bloggers. I wondered how I would be jumping 5 countries, not counting the ones I would pass by. There are 3 different currencies that work in these 5 countries. How do you plan your day to day expenses? A potential answer lies in the Forex Card instead of carrying cash in any currency. Visas are another story though – that would take another day and another post probably.
Would you like to Travel with Sports events? Which sport and which event would be your choice?