Ilivetolearn's Blog

February 26, 2006

Real Madrid

Filed under: Spain — ilivetolearn @ 3:48 pm

Last week we had the Lloyd-Karrel family visiting—a good excuse to attend our first Real Madrid soccer game. We watch them on TV a lot, and Evan now has a collection of apparel sporting their logo (scarf, jersey, pajamas), but we had thought tickets would be expensive and games would be unbelievably crowded. Well, it was cheaper and easier than anticipated and now we are plotting more outings.

We saw them play a team they had already beaten, on a rainy night, but the 80,000-seat Santiago Bernabeu stadium was still almost full. Built in 1947 so Franco’s favorite team would have a state-of-the-art place to play, it has remained state-of-the-art because of frequent renovations. We enjoyed the generous overhangs equipped with huge heat lamps; the spectators stay toasty while the soaked and muddy players battle it out. From our seats literally 8 rows from the very top, we could just about read the numbers on the jerseys, but it was a great view and very different from TV—you weren’t forced to focus on the ball and could watch the overall movement and passing strategies.

It was slightly alarming that we were seated in “Vomitorio 259.” I had visions of drunk and rowdy fans acting like overfed Romans. Actually, the crowd was incredibly polite, applauding every good pass, shot on goal, etc. There was very little drinking and no one hawking peanuts, pretzels, sodas, ice cream, or souvenirs; aside from a couple of nearby fans with cigarettes, it was entirely pleasant.

When I looked up “vomitorio” in our three English-Spanish dictionaries, I was not enlightened. They all defined it as “an emetic.” It took an online Spanish-to-Spanish dictionary to tell me the secondary meaning: a large door, as in an ancient circus or theater, through which many people can ascend to spectator areas.

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