Monthly Archives: February 2016

Well played, U.S. Soccer

An unexpected package arrived this morning.

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It was quite the flashy presentation.

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Congratulations on the new crest, U.S. Soccer!

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It will undoubtedly look fantastic paired with our extensive collection of patriotic leggings.

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Another Round of Ticketing

There is something very strange about stalking the pending charges on your credit card account multiple times a day for an entire week. But, in the name of securing tickets to Euro 2016, these strange things must be done.

For those of you who may be looking to be anxious about ticket allocation for a big event, I will let you in on a little secret: your card is charged before you get notification.

This morning, there was finally a magical pending charge.

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The amount made it clear that we only snagged one of the two games we applied for. Which one? At the moment that was a mystery, but we felt confident guessing that it was the Round of 16 match in Saint-Étienne.

The other match we applied for (Round of 16 game in Lyon) is very likely going to feature the home side, France, and that just has to be the harder ticket to obtain.

There is usually some lag between when the charges go through and when purchasers are notified of what tickets they won (this is pure torture when you apply for a lot of games), so were prepared to wait until Monday to get our confirmation email from UEFA.

And then UEFA came through early!
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AND WE GOT TICKETS TO THE MAYBE-FRANCE R16 MATCH.

This is basically a miracle.

We have never seen the host country play a game in a major tournament, let alone attend a knockout match for the host country.*

In the unlikely event that France stumble and finish second in its group, we will (hopefully) have that covered, too. We are going to continue to fight the good fight and keep trying for tickets to the Round of 16 match in Saint-Étienne, which features the runner up of France’s group.

The next round of ticketing is first-come, first-served — with the extra bonus of tickets being released at all times of day and night. Constant and obsessive surveillance of UEFA’s website will ensue. Stay tuned.

 

*Sorry, France, for almost certainly jinxing you with these statements. 

Loungin’

While we are waiting to hear from the results of UEFA’s latest ticket lottery (please send us your best and luckiest vibes), we thought we would fill you in on the latest and greatest.

After booking our tickets through The True North Strong and Free, we were left with a slight conundrum: how to spend our 6 hour layover in Toronto.

Initially, we were eyeing a quick trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Sure, we’ve visited before but it’s been a long time since we made annual pilgrimages to Toronto for hockey tournaments. Not to mention that it sounds a hell of a lot more entertaining than burning the time in a terminal at Pearson. FullSizeRender

Our exhaustive (not really) internet searches recommended against a quick trip into Toronto. Our layover wasn’t quite long enough to justify the hassle. But we could catch a taxi and make a pilgrimage to the nearby mall. Or we could  buy tickets on eBay to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge.

We never would have even considered these other options! That is why obsessive internet searching prior to trips is a highly recommended activity: you’re harnessing the wisdom of, like, all of humanity. Or at least those who have internet access and like to share their travel tips and recommendations. So, basically: nerds. But very helpful nerds. That insider nerd knowledge goes a very long way towards planning a great trip.

Within a few days of booking our tickets, and $60 and a modest amount of eBay bidding later, we had secured two passes to the Maple Leaf Lounge and therefore a way to eat and drink (unlimited coffee! unlimited sandwiches! unlimited alcohol!)  and WiFi our way through our layover in Toronto.

Will the amenities in the Maple Leaf Lounge be worth the money? Will we get kicked out for consuming all of the pasta salad? Will the wireless signal be strong enough that we can stream Orange is the New Black? Stay tuned. 120 days to go.

O, Canada

canada_heartEarly in our trip planning, we got a tip from a friend that travelling to France via Toronto was significantly cheaper than flying out of Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Like, $500 per ticket cheaper.

This information seemed far too good to be true. We investigated this urban legend and: confirmed. It costs way less to fly out of Toronto.

Since the drive from Detroit to Toronto is only about four hours, and the train running from Windsor to Toronto takes about the same amount of time, it was worth considering.

(Windsor, for those of you who may not know because maybe you live in Israel, is the Ontario city sitting directly across the Detroit River from Detroit.)

We looked at the train schedule and different Delta flight options running out of Toronto Pearson International Airport and we could definitely make it work.

It wasn’t until late in the game that we did a search of flights from Windsor’s airport. Which we should have done straightaway because that’s just common sense; it only takes an hour to fly from Windsor to Toronto.

Tickets — not on Delta (which is the airline we had focused our searches on initially) — were $1,000 less than if we were to fly out of Detroit.

ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS EACH.

No exaggeration.

Okay, very slight exaggeration. On the day we bought our tickets, flights from Detroit were running $1882. We paid $885. $997.

Crossing the border into Canada just to catch a plane will probably be irritating but so is paying an extra $1,000 per person.

And that is why we love you, Canada. For your hockey. For your poutine. For your cheap airfare to France.

Hey, Christiano, hey!

IMG_0457There is a group-stage game in Lyon on the day that we arrive.

We’ve been considering this match all along but we were noncommittal about attending the game because sometimes those last games in the group stage can be a big snooze. Both teams know they’re moving on and just want to get through the game without major injuries, neither team is moving on and they’re playing only because they have to play or some other boring combination of the two.

(On the contrary, third game in the group stage can also be thrilling because a team is playing for its life in the tournament.)

But then Portugal was drawn as the first seed in group F and GOODBYE, DOUBT.

Hello, Cristiano Ronaldo.

We have always wanted and never had the chance to see Portugal and the fantastic Cristiano Ronaldo, two-time winner of the Ballon d’Or and all-around stud. How could we possibly resist?

We cannot. Exhausted from travel we may be but that will not keep us from gracing Mr. Ronaldo, his teammates, the Hungarian national team and all of the others at the Stade des Lumières with our presence.

Bonus: rather than jump through UEFA’s silly ticketing hoops, we’re buying extra tickets off of a lovely British ex-pat who happens to be one of the poor souls who joined us on our gong show of a trip to Natal to see Italy/Uruguay.

Saved once again by the kindness of (semi) strangers.

We’ll be doing the ticket exchange via mail, of course. Just to avoid the awkwardness of showing up significantly late to a prearranged meeting.

Not that we would ever do such a thing.