As many other trips the one to Cardiff was not planned either. Of course, as a Juventus fan, I was hoping my team would get to the big match in the Welsh capital. And they did, their competitor was the ruler of Europe – Real Madrid.
Getting to Cardiff
The fastest and cheapest option is through Bristol. Wizz Air has three weekly flights from Sofia on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. There are busses from there which go on a 1-2 hour interval, and the trip lasts from 1.5 hours to 2.5 hours. Another option is to fly to an airport in London and take a bus or train to Cardiff. We decided to rent a car, because it was cheaper. Another bonus was that there were no toll taxes, just a toll bridge tax amounting to £6.70 when entering Wales. It took us about 4 hours to get from London to Cardiff with a short stop on the way. The organizers had provided a significant number of parking spots, we had reserved one in advance, which turned out to be in a local school yard.
This is the capital and biggest city in Wales. Located in the southern part of the country where the Ely and Taff rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean. According to the last counting in 2011 the population is about 346 000 people. This is the most visited Welsh city.
The most famous landmark is Cardiff Castle, which has an international meaning. It’s located in the heart of the capital and hides a story of more than 2000 years. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to visit it, but at least we saw the huge walls that surrounded it. At the end of the final there were banners with football players from all 32 clubs that took part in the Champions league hanging on the walls.
The mood before the match was exceptionally high. Fans of both teams were hugging, taking photos and having fun. Juve and Real’s fans were divided in different parts of the city due to security measures. Thankfully it didn’t come to any accidents, on the contrary the atmosphere was more than great.
After the emotions at the center we needed to go to Cardiff City Stadium to get the tickets for the match. They were generously provided by the Juventus Bulgarian fan club, which is the official Juventus fan club in Bulgaria. Tickets are named and received only after showing personal ID.
After getting the very important pieces of paper we headed for the stadium‘s sectors. As expected security measures were severe. Due to the possibility of a terrorist attack the match was played with a closed roof.
It’s currently called Principality Stadium and has a capacity of 74 500 places. Wales’ national rugby and football teams play their games on this stadium. It was built in 1999 for the World rugby championship. The stadium hosted many large scale concerts, Wales Rally GB as well as other events. Since its inauguration it welcomes an average of over 1.3 million visitors per year. This is the first stadium in the UK that has a completely foldable roof. It has been rated by UEFA with 4 stars. This is without a doubt one of the most modern stadiums not only in Europe, but the world.
The atmosphere before the meeting was fantastic. The opening ceremony of the most important football event in Europe started about an hour before the first signal. The Black Eyed Peas performed a mini concert.
To our biggest disappointment the ending score was not in our favour. Juventus lost with 1:4 from Real Madrid and the long awaited cup got away from the football players in the black and white stripe.