By now, it is clear that TPOL writes about getting Points (see Haircuts Abroad). Instead, I choose to focus on what to do with the points. For me, one of the best uses for points is to go to sporting events where the air/hotel would be cost-prohibitive (see Michigan vs. Ohio State, see Citrus Bowl). Besides flying around the US to watch the greatest team in the history of sports, I also like to attend international sporting events. In Argentina, I saw River Plate play at the Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti. In Guadalajara, I went to the World Baseball Classic. In Madrid, I went to Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas to watch a bullfight.
In Marseille, I went to the Orange Vélodrome football stadium to see Olympique de Marseille take on SC Bastia. I took the metro from Vieux Port, changed lines, and followed the fans to the stadium.
The venue was world-class and the seats which cost 50 euros were spot on. Although this was the last game of the season, the action was intense both on and off the pitch. Flare guns, chants, and singing started on one side of the stadium and were echoed on the other. At one point the teams got into a brawl which further ignited the crowd. Marseille finished its disappointing season with a 1-0 win over SC Bastia. For me, the disappointment came before the conclusion of the match. At halftime, I went to get beer, but the queue was so long that I didn’t make it to the front of the line in time to buy a round. The strict policy is not as bad as Argentina, which doesn’t allow alcohol in the stadium and around the stadium two hours before and after the game. Given the emotion of the game, I can see why alcohol sales are limited. Like college football games, drinking is not necessary with this level of excitement.
After the game, it was time for street food. Kebab and pizza was for lunch and it ended up being for dinner as well.
If you are in Marseille, do not miss a football match. For 50 euros, I had great seats. I can’t even guess what it would cost to sit with the rabid fans nor would I recommend doing it unless you can sing and chant along with them.