Home » Athens, International Soccer

Greek Super League: PAOK at Olympiacos

20 November 2008 One Comment

Nicole and I arrived in Athens at 1:40 am Sunday morning after our day in London. We hopped in a cab driven by an associate of George Taxi and Limo, otherwise known as George the Famous Taxi Driver recommended by Matt Barrett. The cab took us immediately to the hotel and we were asleep by 3 am.

I had Sunday all planned. We would wake up, drink some coffee, get dressed and head to the Monastiraki Flea Market – the place to be in Athens on a Sunday. We would then eat lunch, shop some more and take the subway to the Olympiacos match that started at 7 pm.

Obtaining Tickets
We arrived at Karaiskakis Stadium a little before 6 pm. We walked directly to the box office to buy tickets – something I generally do not do, but I thought was a better move than trying to negotiate for tickets in Greek. “Sold out,” the box office attendant said. “Great,” I thought, but something that had never stopped me before. Even the Ultimate Sports Wife let out a, “If I had married a simpler man, I would be heading back to the hotel right now.” Little did I know Nicole would get a big assist with buying our tickets to the match.

We walked around the stadium for 15-20 minutes looking for tickets. There was no secondary ticket market. Each time I saw a person exchanging tickets for cash I would approach them asking 1) if they spoke English and 2) did they have extra tickets. Each time the answer was 1) yes and 2) no. And each time I did this, Nicole started to determine if the Greeks spoke a language other than Greek (or English).

Finally, we found an older man who was talking to some younger kids. I pulled out a 50-euro bill to show that we wanted to buy tickets. We determined he had two tickets for sale. He pointed for a second 50 (speaking in Greek) while at the same time stating he did not speak English. However, Nicole, after realizing Greek’s understood other languages, started to speak in some Italian/Spanish dialect and was able to come to an agreement on 80 euros for the two tickets.

Since we could not speak Greek we did not know the face value of the tickets (I asked what the face value was multiple times – in English). When the transaction was complete we looked at the tickets – 20 euros each. We paid twice face value, which I considered not bad for a sold out game with no scalpers in a foreign country and negotiating in a foreign language.

The Game
We ended up buying the tickets around 6 pm. So we decided to relax and enjoy ourselves around the stadium. We also hoped the tickets were not around any of the “most supportive fans” who light fireworks and flares within the stands which we had witnessed in Rome, Milan and Rio de Janeiro. We got to our seats and realized, thankfully, that the fans with flags (and flames) were on the opposite side of the stadium. As the match was about to start, the “supportive” Olympiacos fans grabbed their flares and started to wave them. The game started under a cloud of smoke so thick you could barely see the players.

Olympiacos scored a goal late in the first and second half to win the game 2-0.

Post Game Dining
The Ultimate Sports Wife and I took the train back to the flea market area and ate dinner at The James Joyce Pub, an Irish pub that was nearby and showed English and American Football. Since it was 9:30 pm the Chicago Bears were playing the Green Bay Packers. If you are looking for some Irish grub and some English banter after a long day in Athens this is the place to go – especially if you are in need of some American sports as well.

One Comment »

  • Anonymous said:

    You have too much fun.

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