Four days in London/Cardiff
Last weekend (2-4 June 2017), I had the opportunity to make a dream a reality. The dream: to watch my team (Juventus) in the UEFA Champions League final in Cardiff.
Football is in my DNA. I grew up playing and watching it with passion. The banter with friends, the exhilarating (and nervy) moments, waking up the neighbourhood on match night, and the love for Juventus.
Spending four days in London/Cardiff was magical. The result of the match on the night didn’t quite go the way I wanted (4-1 to Real Madrid), but that’s sport and we play on. The real result was the emotions and delight I felt from the weekend’s experience and deciding to go. The journey and sheer magnitude of it will be something that I cherish forever. It is a reminder that life is short, so dream, work hard, play harder and make things happen before you can’t anymore.
To sum this past weekend up, I have highlighted five #hashtags that made it what is was…
One of my favourite cities. I love the accessibility to different areas by the easy use of its underground. For example, one moment I was unpacking my bags in Bolton Gardens, the next, I was walking the streets in the heart of London’s west end – Carnaby Street. I love this street for its vibrancy and detail. On the day, we had lunch in Knightly Court at an Asian restaurant called Shoryu Ramen, where I strongly recommend trying the Ramen (noodles in a broth with various toppings), delicious and the atmosphere surrounding it is awesome!
Being part of a lifestyle business (CN&CO) that is very much about communications and sharing stories, moments and experiences, I was truly impressed with how easy it was to get connected in London. Moments after exiting the Heathrow arrivals, I purchased 10GB of data and a local sim card and had fast-connectivity on my iPhone to start snapping and sharing away – after all its important to share stories and experiences.
I spent the weekend with my Uncle, Aunt and gorgeous little cousin who live in London. This was a blessing in disguise as I got to catch up and share precious time with them which included home made pasta and lots of Italian energy.
In addition, on my flight back to Joburg, I stopped for a few hours in Dubai and got to hug and see my little sister who lives there.
The journey on Saturday, 3 June 2017 to the UEFA Champions League final literally kicked off at 10am. One of my best friends (Jason Campos) and I left a packed Paddington station for Cardiff Central amongst thousands of supporters traveling to Cardiff. When we touched down in Cardiff, it was football fever in overdrive. Between the train station, city centre and the majestic host the Principality Stadium it was a five minute walk and the atmosphere of over 100 000 people coming together for the occasion was spine-chilling. Before the match we enjoyed a few beers at a pub which was infiltrated with Juventus supporters, chanting the clubs songs. seeing past legends, and exchanging friendly banter with the Real Madrid fans surrounding the streets. I was so impressed by the organisation and logistics that combined to make this event happen – world class.
The match itself was a dream come true. The stadium, an arena fit for a sporting duel of this magnitude with his steep stands, closed roof and acoustics that reverberated through all our bodies. The result… wasn’t what I was after, however it delivered a football spectacle that saw Real Madrid lift the trophy for a historic second year in a row. My emotions were on a high and it will be a moment I cherish for years to come.
Our final day in London allowed us to explore the city a bit, which I always appreciate. This included a walk through the green-infused gardens surrounding Buckingham Palace to the beautiful view of the Big Ben and London eye. It finally led us to Gordon’s Wine Bar (London’s oldest wine bar), recommended by Carel Nolte, where we selected a bottle of wine and enjoyed the surrounding buzz and people. It is a particularly special location, as with a drink in hand, good company and people, you appreciate the moment and enjoy the conversation.
All in all, these four days reminded me of the power of having dreams. Pursuing them and making the most of every occasion, no matter the result.