Sunday, 12 October 2014

Estonia v England. 12/10/14

"You came all the way to Estonia and have just slept through the game? You English are so crazy."

Estonia 0-1 England. A. Le Coq Arena.
Sunday 12/10/14
London Gatwick to Tallinn is, according to the ever accurate source that is Google, 1125 miles as the crow or in this case, Air Baltic plane flies. So a return trip to Estonia's capital weighs in at a hefty 2250 miles. You would therefore have to be a total idiot to travel all that way for a game of football which you end up sleeping in your hostel through then, right?

Right. And that well and truly leaves me in the idiot category. A  browse through previous entries will quite quickly highlight that that is clearly the case, but even in the unruly world of McCarthy Football Travel's nobody has ever gone on a trip for a game of football and failed to make the game.

Pint of Coq
How did this happen? Quite simply, beer and women. It's a dangerous mix, like a wheelchair and an escalator. One minute you are looking forward to England taking on Estonia, the next you are drinking test tubes of a vile green substance suspiciously called cocaine, the next you are going home hammered at 3am, the next you are going out again with a girl you've just met at 3.30am and finally you are leaving a nightclub with the sun already up and people heading to church.

There were such high hopes for this Estonia trip as well. Leaving Riga - the capital of wonderful Latvia - early on Saturday morning, a swift four hour luxury coach journey was all that was required to reach Tallinn.

Russian flag flying in Tallinn - might be revisiting
this photo in a few years if Mr Putin get's his way
The main bus station in Tallinn was handily placed miles out of town and with the six other Brighton fans who had rendezvoused on the bus, the decision was taken to try and walk into the Old Town. Nobody seemed prepared for how cold it was going to be (Estonia, a former part of Russia, cold?! Who'd have thought it) and so the search was called off early in favour of "a quick beer and food stop" - which lived up to its name if you define "quick" as five pints and three hours.

Test tubes of cocaine
That was the start of a slippery slope. From there the famous Pub With No Name was found. This is a pub genuinely called the Pub With No Name, as opposed to a pub that hasn't got a name and it became apparent this was the main place to drink for England fans. The beer of choice? A pint of cock, or A Le Coq to give it its full and proper name which was surprisingly good and easy to drink given the standard of some of the stuff you get in the Baltics. Too good, in fact.

Nels returns with another round of test tubes. A dangerous game
After The Pub With No Name came a bar where said cocaine was taken. These were strange, luminous green shots that came in test tubes and were meant to leave the drinker feeling legless. They certainly did that at €1 a pop and after an unhealthy amount of cocaine and 3am beckoning, it was home time.

Or at least it should have been. Back in the hostel you see was a girl who worked there and, having finished her shift,  was desparate to go out. And what better opportunity for a young English chap to soak up the sights and sounds of Tallinn then with a local taking him clubbing at 3.30am on a Sunday morning? Only an idiot would turn it down....

Future wife number 137
Early confusion led to me accusing her of just wanting to go out so she could marry me and get a visa. Once we'd established that as an EU citizen she didn't need one, things went swimmingly including visiting a club that had a cage around it's dancefloor and a heated debate with a passionate local after a song involving the terms "Vladimir Putin" and "he's coming to you" came to the fore.

Leaving a club at sunrise - never a good sign
It's always a risk when you leave a club and it is daylight and that risk came back to bite me well and truly on the bottom by the time I finally woke up - at 3pm local time. No worries - a quick walk around the city to do some sightseeing, a quick beer in the Market Square and then a quick nap and kick off at the Le Coq Arena would definitely be made. Famous last words those, as that quick nap ended with half time already out the way and England about to score through Wayne Rooney to win 1-0.

England fans gather ahead of the big game

Old Town Square
Missing a game you've traveled over 1000 miles to should be lesson learnt. Well, no not quite as having slept all day we powered through the beer again all night, being the only people in the quaint Venus Bar until 3am when  the entire club was quite incredibly shut for Mike attempting to take his t-shirt off for the 3rd time.

Beautiful Tallinn - if you are awake to see it
Tallinn was a beautiful place, England got a vital three points in the same round of games that the likes of Spain, Germany and the Netherlands all struggled - and I missed most of it in bed. Still, at least there was plenty of Coq to be had.

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