Monday, June 01, 2009
Now that's what I call a party....
We went to Bordeaux for the week-end.
The mayor had put up a giant screen on the Place des Quinconces (reputed to be the largest square in Europe) showing the Girondins football team trying to win the championship.
We booked into a hotel right by the square and wandered around town soaking up the atmosphere. The streets were buzzing and whole families were wearing their colours and filling up the bars.
Even though it was blistering hot the square started filling up from around 4.00pm (the match didn't kick off until 9.00pm) and at around 7.00pm the mayor had lined up live music with the excellent Mark Brenner band providing the entertainment.
Before kick off J-A and Holly went into the disabled area in front of the stage (you can just see them in the photo) as Holly has done her knee in again.
I've never been in such crowds as 80,000 people tried to fit into a square that holds 50,000. Of course, Katie wanted to be in the middle at the front with the big boys and their flares. I hoisted her onto my shoulders and we gradually made our way into the mass.
The match kicked off and it was bedlem with banners, flares, air-horns and non stop chanting. It was still red hot and we'd been getting through litres of water.....so when half time came I heard the words that every father knew were coming:
"Dad, I need a wee".
We made our way out, which took at least 10 minutes, and decided the best bet was to nip back to the hotel.
Duty done and we were just coming out the door when there was an almighty roar and the sky turned bright orange. Bordeaux had scored. We ran back the 200 yards to the square but simply couldn't make our way back in again and ended up perched by a tree with Katie again on my shoulders waving her flag and singing her heart out.
Bordeaux won and suddenly the streets were full of motorbikes and cars with people hanging out and standing on the roofs. Horns were blaring, flags were waving and the city was a heaving mass. We met up with J-A & Holly and the four of us wandered about joining in the party which eventually began to quieten down around 4.00am.
What was remarkable is that we didn't see one hint of trouble or aggression...it was simply a celebration. The policing was excellent and low key...full marks to them and the city's administrators.
We were up early to watch the clean up operation and to read all about it over a leisurely breakfast and a wander through the market on the quay. Then it all started again as the team came back to be presented with the trophy.
Terrific scenes and something that will live in the girls memories for ever.
Now though I need a cool bath and lashings of deep heat....my days of jumping up and down with an eight year old on my shoulders are surely numbered.