World Cup

Marc and Ryan head to the World Cup … in BRAZIL

Marc always regretted not planning one of the trips to Europe to coincide with the World Cup in Germany, as that would have been a great Father and Son trip.  Then came along the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  Now there’s a trip they simply could not pass up.

After a couple of long long flights, they arrived for the first game in Belo Horizonte.  The Belgian fans were out in full force, the street parties were everywhere, and the Red Devils eked out a 2-1 win against Algeria.

Then the fun began.  Marc had decided to rent a car, and assumed that they would be able to cover the 1,360 kilometres up to Salvador de Bahia (where Marc & Deanna got married) in 12 or 13 hours.  WRONG !  First of all, the rental car wasn’t ready, and the early morning start was of course delayed.  Then they realized that the “highway” that meandered through the Brazilian jungle was, for the most part, a two lane road where you had to fight to survive against traffic that would be passing blind at every hilltop.  They eventually arrived in Salvador de Bahia in the middle of the night after a 17 hour trip and an average speed of just over 80 km/h …

Fortunately, they had a whole day and a half to recuperate before the match between France and Switzerland.  They wandered along the beach and through the very picturesque and colourful old town (after paying, not the city for the right to park, but some young “entrepreneurs” for “protection” for the car …).

Marc decided that they should leave for Rio immediately after the evening game and try to get a head start towards Rio (1,700 km away) in lighter traffic.   But first there was the small matter of the game between France and Switzerland.  They managed to catch a ride to the stadium on a bus full of French supporters, and Ryan was having a great time listening to them sing their way into the stadium. Their seats were right behind the Swiss goal, so they saw a lot of action up close and personal, as France built a 5-0 lead, and as La Marseillaise echoed through the stadium, before giving up 2 goals at the end of the 2nd half.

Back on the road at 9PM and then the loooooong trek towards Rio. The 1,700 km trip was even better than the fist trip, since it took 21 hours (!!!) to arrive in Rio, eating in the car, and with just a couple of roadside stops for nature calls.  What a crazy experience – but what a way to bond too …

Rio was amazing.  Ryan and Marc took on all the touristy sites, but also wandered around quiet (and no so quiet) neighbourhoods to get a better feel for that large and vibrant city.  They also watched two other matches at the Maracanã Stadium (along with another 80,000 chanting fans), and soaked in the atmosphere on Copacabana Beach, where the matches were being broadcast on the largest screens they had ever seen.

Unfortunately their trip had to come to an end, but maybe it was just as well they left Brazil before the drubbing inflicted by the German team on the local favourites (did ANY bookie have Germany winning 7-1 ??? ) …