So last night I didn't really have time to try anything new. I got back to my dorm close to midnight. What could I possibly have done at Rehovot that kept me out until so late? Nothing. That's why I went to Jerusalem, to watch a soccer game of the U-21 UEFA Cup between Israel and England (because anything involving Spain, Germany or Netherlands was sold out).
Getting from Rehovot to Jerusalem by train took a long time for multiple reasons. The first being that the route required me to go north to Lod and then south to Jerusalem. The second being that part of the path from Lod to Jerusalem just takes a really long time. The last one, and this really surprised me, was that the train at the Lod Station was packed. I honestly don't know how that many people were fit on the same place. It was as packed as the Green Line at Kenmore on rush hour. Most of the people were wearing soccer jerseys, and I realized that a lot of them were going to the same soccer game. This really surprised me because Israel was (essentially) eliminated from the competition and this was a U-21 game. However, people still seemed very excited about the game.
I met my friend David (who was coming from Tel Aviv) in Beer Sheva and we eventually got to the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem (which is insanely close to the train station). The Teddy Stadium was built recently but was renovated two years ago for this tournament. Moreover, it is expected to increase it's capacity from 34,000 to 50,000 within the next few years.
After finding our gate, going through security and finding our seats, we enjoyed a great soccer game. This is a picture of the view from our seats.
The stadium was not entirely packed, but attendance was pretty high for a Monday evening: 22000 people.
The game itself was very attractive and entertaining. I thought Israel played much better than England, though both teams had great opportunities to score. This was eventually reflected on the score when at the 80th minute, Israel scored the only goal of the match and England left the tournament without earning any points (Israel still didn't qualify: Norway and Italy tied).
But the game was not the only interesting thing going on in the stadium. The crowd was pretty awesome too. I kid you not, there were like ten consecutive waves that went through the stadium at some point in the second half. People were chanting and cheering for Israel all the time, and were very supportive of the players during the entire game.
The game was eventually over and it was pretty dark outside. We made our way back to the (less packed than earlier) train, and after a 50 minute wait at Lod, I got back to Rehovot. During that wait, I spent a lot of time thinking what I would do for dinner. I think that thinking about what to eat, and preparing dinner definitely reduce my anxiety to eat food and make the act of eating much more enjoyable.
I was starving when I got back to my dorm, but I was also exhausted and had to get up at 6:30 the next day (details on the next post). So I just decided to have the same dinner as the night before. I know. This is pretty boring. This is what it looked like:
|This is the exact same picture from the first night. I prepared less salad, and used a smaller cup for the tea.|
So maybe I didn't discover Israel through it's cuisine yesterday (although I had some amazing eggplant for lunch at the WIS), but I certainly learned a lot about Israelis from going to the game last night and had a great time myself.
Until next time!
EDIT: The tickets were insanely cheap. I bought them with a student discount for 20 NIS (~5-6 dollars). They never asked me for an ID or anything, so it was a freebie. Transportation was more expensive that the game itself!