Undeterred by Russian hooligans, French transport chaos and England’s inconsistent displays I went back to France on Monday to watch the game against Slovakia.
If Marseille was like the Wild West in terms of security and organisation St Etienne was an improvement but still had an element of the good, bad and the ugly about it.
There was no crowd trouble and the Slovakian fans were great fun. Lots of singing, banter and laughing and thankfully not a flying chair in sight.
And French medical care is great – I’ll explain more below.
Now I understand the supply and demand principle. If you have something to sell which lots of people need or want you can charge more. I don’t have a problem with that.
But paying 650 Euros for two nights in a 2 star hotel stank of profiteering. In fairness to the French hospitality trade they have to make hay why the sun shines and that’s a business lesson for all of us running our own firms.
Now those of you who know me probably won’t be surprised by what I’m about to say. While enjoying myself in a bar with the lads I’d headed over to France with, I attended a call of nature.
Walking down the marble steps to return to my mates I slipped, went head over elbow and landed on my ribs were a loud crunching thud.
This accident was added to past scrapes including getting hit by a van on the way to Amsterdam and stumbling out of a train in Belgium and landing on my face.
An hour of trying to grin and bear (more like gin and bear it) didn’t work. So off to the hospital I went and was really impressed with the service.
No queue, polite, professional staff and in and out in just under an hour. I was told I had cracked ribs, given some painkillers and wished bon voyage.
Compared to this tournament’s security, transport and stadium organisation the hospital stood out as a positive experience in the midst of bad luck.
Contrary to rumours I am not travelling with bubble wrap rolls on my future European escapades.
All jokes aside I’m still in bloody agony and the muscle spasms are intensely painful – not that I expect any sympathy given the general reaction to my tumble.
Thanks for reading.