Unraveling the Stadium

(Featured image of Signal Iduna Park at field level. Don’t know why I didn’t get that from the middle :()

So on day 3, we were once again up in the air to rush to another part of Germany. This is actually the 4th flight in 4 days (tues: LAX-MUC, wed: MUC-TXL, thurs: TXL-NUE, and now NUE-DUS on friday). Running around by train was an option, but prices went up as we got closer towards the trip and hadn’t booked tickets. But we were better off this way, as flying around gives us more time to explore and less time sitting/traveling.

We were trying to get to Dortmund for the weekend for the match, which is the home derby (derby is a rivalry game between teams in the same region). Couldn’t find flights from Nuremberg to Dortmund, so we decided to fly to Dusseldorf via Eurowings A320 (same aircraft JetBlue uses for pretty much their entire fleet) and train over to Dortmund. Apparently Eurowings has its hub base in Dusseldorf, and Borussia Dortmund’s team plane is housed here as well. We were lucky to catch a glimpse of it parked in the distance upon arriving in Dusseldorf. And Dusseldorf int’l is a very clean open airport, apparently the 3rd busiest in Germany (behind Lufthansa hubs of Munich and Frankfurt).

Also, Eurowings crew went on a 24 hr strike on Thursday. Luckily, our Eurowings flight was on Friday. We dodged that bullet. Whew. (Eurowings is a low cost carrier (LCC)/subsidiary of Lufthansa, so I guess part of the Star Alliance.) Here’s a cool video about how LCC’s are profitable (which isn’t working out for Eurowings/Lufthansa unfortunately).

Our hotel in Dortmund was a little ways off from the city center, as again we were trying to finalize plans before pulling the trigger, and this was the option left to us upon booking. It was a 10+ minute walk to the S-bahn (street train, which is faster/goes further than the underground or U-bahn) station, and as I found out Saturday morning, S-bahn runs once every 30 minutes. So travel tip: if you’re looking to pick lodging in Germany, U-bahn stations are better than S-bahn stations.

We arrived and met up with my friend’s friend, who’d be waiting for us at the hotel room. We were greeted in the room with our box of goodies, including our game tickets, scarves, fan shop voucher, stadium food voucher (left unused :(), and online vid voucher. The room was a double room, with a third bed thrown in for me. We paid 239 Euros per person for the room, tickets, and welcome package (Adrenlain trip). I guess to guarantee tickets to a sold out intense rivalry (#revierderby), it’s nice, but monetary wise, with ticket price listed as 45 euros each for upper deck seats, that leaves 194 per person or 582 euros we could’ve spent on lodging ourselves for two nights. Ah, the price you pay for convenience.

Oh, and we also had to pay a 3% forex fee (on 717 Euros!!!) bc package was paid with a debit card with foreign transaction fees. One of the biggest things I’ve been pushing people I know is to get a good rewards credit card, and especially a credit card with no forex fees for traveling. I screamed internally when I heard about this forex fee issue. It’s not about the money, but the principal of how easy it is to avoid. That’s just a damn shame.

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Us 3

Once again, we only had one plan for the day (I’m sensing a pattern here), and that was to go to the stadium tour (auf Deutsch. Because English was unavailable. Too bad.). Which is totally an awesome plan (I want to do one for the Rose Bowl! haha). Friend’s friend was in contact with another BVB fan, and on we went to the tour. After seeking out a detour because the particular U-bahn line to the stadium wasn’t running this particular day. Good thing I can kinda/not really read enough German for context clues lol.

For some reason we had trouble trying to book tickets for this Stadium tour online. The website wouldn’t take any US credit cards, whether it was Visa (CSR/CSP), Mastercard (Barclay A+), or Amex (Plat). Very strange. The BVB fan we met up with helped book our tix.

While I enjoy photography on its own, one of my biggest pet peeves is to be asked to take a picture and not have it reciprocated. I feel like it’s just a common knowledge of quid pro quo. And as I’ve never really had a happy go-lucky personality, it took a lot more from me to maintain a pleasant demeanor (which probably didn’t hold out, but it could’ve been worse). It didn’t help that I often seemed to be fall behind as the two got caught up with this or that elsewhere.

It also seemed like the friend and I didn’t have many pictures together documenting our presence in various locations for the first part of our trip. Oops. Should’ve been more aware to fix that. I mean, I enjoy taking photos (thus the smugmug site), but rarely find the chance to be in photos. Guess I should just travel with a photographer huh? lol.

 

Stadium tour took us through the various areas of the grounds, including close to field level, the various fancy boxes, players locker room and tunnel they come out of, their bench seats (which’re pretty comfortable). I only got a pic on the visitors bench, and not the home bench. Damn. The BFF-ness was also going strong, aka some loud whisperings and laughter while the tour was given. I’m glad they were having fun (bc that’s the point right? to travel and have fun doing it), but the tour guide and native German speakers trying to listen were less than pleased, as evidenced by the many long side looks given. Whatchagonndo. =/ And it’s hard to jump into it when there’s inside jokes, past history, and constant phone usage to battle. It’s not a lot of fun when you’re “traveling together” to be left behind both physically and topically.

We ended up back in the hotel at 6:30pm. Idk if it’s because we were tired, cold, or had nothing to do, but apparently that was that. I’m not used to such a slow pace of travel activities and early end to the day. Then the rest of the night was spent catching up on  social media posts, to which I did not have the same enthusiasm for, so just hopped into bed at 8:30pm, tossing and turning because the windows were closed and it was hot/stuffy in the room. (I’m a sleep-with-the-windows-open person. Even if it’s cold. Esp if its cold.) Got drenched in my sleepwear, and it wasn’t comfortable. Lights went off at about 11, and I guess I finally fell asleep at 11:30pm.

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