Thursday, 28 January 2016

Planning ahead...

My last post was about how 2016 could be a very exciting year for disabled people in general with the media (just Channel 4 at the moment) stepping up coverage. Since Monday, it has emerged that LEGO are launching a figurine of a 'Wheelchair Boy' ( which again is extremely positive news because young kids are the main target audience and, as I have mentioned before, the only way society can change is if children are taught from an early age that disabled people are just like them. All this talk of what a promising year it could be has reminded me that I have quite a busy one lined up... although after researching flights to Barcelona, I probably will not be able to tick everything off my list.

First up on my 2016 itinerary is a couple of nights in Barcelona. Unlike most intellectual beings, my main reason for visiting Catalonia is not to soak up the culture. Some of you have probably guessed why I am looking to go there and it's for the Arsenal of course. Why else would I go away for a few days in March? I would probably enjoy looking around the Gothic architecture and other tourist attractions but it is the Nou Camp that excites me the most. We have got a Cathedral in St. Albans but not Europe's largest football stadium.

Before any bitter Tottenham Hotspur or Manchester United fans chirp up (by the way, they are not even in this prestigious tournament so it is just jealousy), I am 99% sure we will be sent home with our tails between our legs but the home of FC Barcelona is at the very top of my 'stadiums I want to visit before I die' list and I want to see first-hand what it is like. Also, anything is possible in football. Even if the inevitable does happen and we do lose, just like in M√ľnich, I will not regret making the journey as it will no doubt be a once in a lifetime experience.

I was just looking through a list of the largest football stadia in Europe and as of writing, I have been to four of the top 10 (Signal Iduna Park, Allianz Arena, Old Trafford and Wembley). As I said earlier in the post, hopefully that number will rise to five in March. Then, all being well, I will be going to three other stadiums in France for the 2016 European Championships in the summer. I have had the tickets for almost a year but only discovered in December that the first match I will be attending in Paris is going to be the World Champions versus Northern Ireland. I was over the moon when I heard that draw because I desperately wanted a home nation and the fact it is against Germany makes the game an even more exciting prospect.

You are probably wondering why I have bought tickets for the Euros, especially when I have explicitly said that I do not enjoy International football as much compared to the club game. The truth is because France is not that far away and it is a better way to spend my life than sitting around, waiting for Arsenal to return. Also, ferries are cheap and we will definitely need the car during this trip. The other two matches are a few days later in Lille and Lens respectively (only twenty minutes between each other) so after watching the match in Paris, we can stay in the Capital for a couple of days before driving Northwest to the Lille area for the two remaining fixtures.The teams who will be playing are not clear as it depends on how the final group table looks.

Last on the list is a return to Cyprus for a family holiday (obviously it depends on how much I spend on the other two). We had such a brilliant vacation last year but hopefully my older brother and his girlfriend will be able to join us this time. I still want to go to California but I guess that will have wait for another year. I am not made of money and after those two football excursions, I will most definitely want a relaxing break; chilling by the pool and soaking up the sun. I envisage visiting the West Coast of the USA to be more of a sightseeing trip.

Bye for now!

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