August 22 – 27, 2019
Dan and I do enjoy a good game of Rugby and have been wanting to see a live game for a few years now. When Dan knew when we’d be in London he looked at the schedule: there was a “friendly” game between England and Ireland on that Saturday. We were going!
It was a 40 minute bus to Twickenham, and it was a nice tour of the small towns and neighborhoods along the way. It was another hot and sunny day; good thing Dan bought some shorts for the trip. I’m not sure what weather forecast he had checked, but he thought it was going to be wet and cold. Meanwhile, the forecast I saw was for hot and sunny. I’ll let you guess what I packed…
We got off the bus and followed the early crowds towards the stadium, but stopping off for lunch at The William Webb Ellis pub. Despite enjoying the games, I really know nothing about rugby, so the name on the front of the pub meant nothing to me. However we apparently picked “the place” to be, pre-game. We barely found a place to sit and as we waited on our food, the crowds streamed in, filling in the nooks and crannies of the place.
Post fish ‘n chips (I gotta get ’em while I can!) we followed even more crowds the rest of the way to the stadium. There was an air of excitement in the crowd and it was a good feeling.
We entered the stadium gates and had plenty of time to walk around and explore the area. The crowds were light – for now – and the beer tents were sparsely attended. This would change, I had no doubt. What did comes as a surprise was that there was no cash payments anywhere within the stadium grounds. Everything was to be paid for via credit card.
Mobile beer vendors
Dan gets his!
And I get mine!
Along the outside ring of the stadium there were many free-standing food stalls / trucks. I wish that I had more stomachs so that I could have tried all of them!
Pre-game talking heads
Me and 81,000 of my closest friends
Truly a “sea of humanity”
Oh look! Someone else brought their camera!
Rugby is pretty much non-stop action and fun to watch. We were really fortunate that tonight’s Ref was Nigel Owens, probably one of the most famous and most loved referees in Union rugby. He is so charismatic and fun to listen to (the refs wear mics so that we can hear what they are saying to the players out on the pitch).
Zooming in on the action
Nigel Owens following the action
You know its bad when the player doesn’t get up right away
Nigel continues to rule the game
It was a good, albeit one-sided, game. England had the upper hand for most of it, and the final score reflected that: 57 – 15. Yikes. I was rooting for Ireland, if for no other reason than Dan was rooting for England. As it was a “friendly” game, everyone around us was good-natured and cheered appropriately.
When the last play had been played, e streamed out of the stadium with everyone else. We walked for a few blocks to find a bus, and waited for a few of them before one came along that had room for us. We got back to the hotel, and then went right back out for some more sightseeing. Did I mention that we were averaging about 23 kilometers a day in walking?
Remind you of anything?