The Euro’s are underway. I have seen bits of various matches, but the real deal starts tonight when Holland take on World Champions Italy. The thing is that tournaments like this are not about the football. The matches are tense and scrappy. The fun lies in the sense of vacation that accompanies these three weeks of football. The Dutch fans just go nuts. It’s as if the country gives itselve a licence to be silly. And everythng turns orange for as long as it lasts. Streets and neighbourhoods come together. Bars fill themselves and everyone over-endulges. It’s impossible to remove yourself from the football.
On my way from the library in the centre to the library on campus, which is a ten minute bike ride I spotted tens of people already wearing orange and every third street had orange flags running across it. The papers, news programmes and various websites offer every range of information from the practical (team guide, in depth reports) to the banal (more women head to campsite-for-fans than at the world cup in Germany two years ago.) Hour by hour more and more orange clad lunatics arrive in Bern hoping to get into the stadium. The alternative is watching it on a large screen in the town square. Italians and Dutch drink together and will probably fight together later. The harmony is indescribable.
I myself will be heading to the ‘Stairway’ café where I also watched the world cup. I hope I don’t forget my camera. because I wnt to document the lunacy.