Amazing Race through Stuttgart to get tickets for Aussies vs Italy

Mannheim Travel Blog

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This was what I'd be training for with all my reality show viewing in the past year or two, Football Australia had set up an "Amazing Race" (American travel reality show for those that don't know it) style dash for Australians wanting tickets to the Australia vs Italy match. Here´s how it worked....

Basically there were 1500 tickets to be made available in Stuttgart for individuals holding an Australian passport but the catch was that the location of where you could get tickets wouldn't be revealed until 9 a.m. when it would be published on a website.  So I was up at about 6 a.m. to hike down to the station and make sure I could get a left luggage locker for my big backpack, there's no way I want that weighing me down if running is involved.  Then I met up with our ticket angel Ange from Munich and we scouted a plan, gambling that the tickets would be made available at the stadium itself.  So we studied the train lines and ticket system and then holed up in an internet cafe in the central station along with the many other Aussies

As 9 a.m. ticked over, inevitably, the website struggled.  We gave up on ours and looked over the shoulder of one of the two PCs that had succeeded.  Right! We had the address of a hotel somewhere near the centre of town (turned out to be where the team was staying, which some people had gambled on)!  We just had no idea where that was!!! A brief glimpse at the map failed to find the street name, and there were just too many Aussies on the move. So we did what that little midget that we´d watched so many times in the Amazing Race would do and ran!!

Exiting the station there was a quick attempt to try to claim a taxi but every single one was already filled with green and gold.  The bulk of the Aussies were running in the same direction so it was a gamble but we elected to follow them, someone MUST know something.  I sprinted along trying to field phone calls from my parents back in Oz who had internet access but unfortunately knowing the address was not enough, and given that I couldn´t even identify were I was, directions weren't of much use. So on I went, stopping briefly to ask a nice German lady for directions and she at least confirmed that the hotel was in the direction that the Aussie mass was heading so on I pushed.  The sound of a car crash echoed up the road a bit, obviously caused by the green and gold wave sweeping across Stuttgart.  Another brief stop on the train track to pick up a sandal, fortunately I did have the present of mind to stop and check I wasn't giving it all for my country :)

Finally we rounded the corner, past many a waiting cameraman enjoying our plight, and was completely disheartened by the sight of about a thousand of Aussies already in line.  I kept up the pace until I was at the back of the line and then could finally settle in for my 5 hour wait in line.

Even the drama played out in line was intriguing, with rumours spreading with everything from extra tickets being released, to a constant claim that this was going to be where the number of tickets run out.  It was kind of the hotel to have someone constantly walk past the line offering water.......for 2 euros a hit.  It wasn't long before some Aussies were following his movements offering free water from their bottles :)

After about 3 and a half hours you finally reach a barrier where you are given a green wristband.  This shall be know as the happy place :)  After that it´s all just details, I don't know that I could have come up with a better way than Football Australia to distribute tickets but I grant you that their way was amusing for onlookers :)

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Woke 6ish, walked to station and put pack in a locker so it wasn't weighing me down.

Gambled on Aus vs Ialy tickets being at the stadium, so we studied train routes.

Found an internet cafe (filled with Aussies) and when location was revealed at 9 am, made Amazing Race' styel sprint across Stuttgart.

Lined up for hours, then caught train to Mannheim, saw Bibs' friends Nathan etc

Watche dGER vs SWE from Havana Cafe, but retired early to catch up on sleep.
 

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photo by: polvandenwirre