Home > South Africa 2010 World Cup, Travel > Anyone for the last of the World Cup updates

Anyone for the last of the World Cup updates

It is just 24 hours to the end of my World Cup but is has been a memorable last few days and trip overall. I took in a classic World Cup upset, was last man standing in Jo’burg and made a move down to Cape Town with it’s more welcoming atmosphere.

I picked up a category 4 locally priced ticket in our pension/hotel for the Italy v Slovakia game. €15 gets you a seat in the second highest row in the stadium. A seat beside some very annoying English fans who despite being surrounded by Italian fans insisted on shouting things like “get up you cheating I-tie diving cant”. Thankfully elsewhere  we have met some decent English fans at this tournament (like other competitions). The Italian team never really got going until they were too far behind a Slovakian team who punished their mistakes. 1-0 down at half time, it got worse after. They pulled a goal back but another error allowed the subs first touch get them 3-1 up. Pirlo off the bench tried his best and Italy got a stunning goal to make it 3-2. They pushed for the equaliser which would have put them through with New Zealand getting another draw in the other game but it wasn’t to be. The World Champions out.

I said goodbye to Jo’burg the next day and everything I have seen on Cape Town means I’m not exactly missing JB. Little example of the night the South African sports minister was at the game I was at watching South Africa lose to Uruguay somebody broke into the minister’s house robbed it and then set it on fire! I was the last of our group of 8 to leave Jo’burg and we managed to leave with all wallets in our possession something I couldn’t manage at the world cup playoff in Paris! No more games for me but at least I won’t have FIFA checking what is on the flag or as they did to some of the lads check their leprechaun hats didn’t have Guinness written on them (not a FIFA sponsor).

With Table Mountain shrouded in cloud, I hiked up to the slightly lower Lions Head and signal hill during the weekend. Magnificent views across the Cape with the Green Point World Cup stadium nestling below. With Ghana being the only African side to make the knock out stages, the locals have thrown their support in behind Ghana. I watched their extra time win in a restaurant on Long Street. In homage to the 2002 World Cup, it was a sushi bar. Nothing like grabbing your food off a conveyor belt.

For me Sunday was the big game between England & Germany and a trip to Robben Island. That was certainly emotional as I joined a large group to see that story unfold. How a group of men battled and won their place in the quarter final, well done Germany! I usually avoid Irish pubs on my travels but with so many English at the Fan Fest thought it would be better to go to the Dubliner which is close to where I’m staying. However, it seemed to be mostly English there but it didn’t stop me celebrating their embarrassing defeat, made even better by the ridiculous over the line shot by Lampard.

The trip out to Robben Island was amazing. It is a sombre place despite the incredible view back towards Table Mountain. A former inmate gave us the tour. A man who served time for planting a bomb in the secret service HQ which injured 47 people. He also outlined how he was tortured (beaten, electrocuted and given cigarette burns in unmentionable places – policemen testified to this at the truth commission). We saw the lime quarry where “Mr. Mandela” spent 8 hours a day breaking stones and his small 2m x 2m cell. It is amazing to think how far South Africa has come in the last two decades.

This morning I got the train down to Simons town as was treated to three different “preachers” screaming at the top of their voices about repenting before the lord. They operated some tag team system so when one was finished the others joined in. Most of the carriage didn’t seem to mind and when some hymns were begun everybody joined in. Can’t see that happening on the Luas or Dart.

I went for a mornings Kayaking down to Boulder beach where the African penguins hang out. They bobbed into the water and swum around the kayak. Bit bizarre especially with the south African navy on manoevres in the area as they are based in Simons Town. Managed not to get mown down as they left the harbour as we were coming back in.

Sitting down to view Holland game at the Cape Town fanfest.

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