Football is a funny sport. On the one hand it can rouse the most base of patriotic feelings. On the other, especially when international tournaments are afoot, it can provide a fantastic carnival atmosphere where the love of the game acts as a unifying force where difference isn’t just tolerated, it is actively celebrated. This beautiful contradiction is one of the reasons why my husband (English) and I (German) love combining two of our passions in live – sport and travel – by following tournaments around the world, even if it can sometimes be an expensive way of travelling.

For example ten years ago we drove the ten-hour drive from London to Dortmund for the Germany 2006 World Cup. This tournament obviously had special meaning for us, partly because of our respective nationalities, partly because we once lived together in Dortmund, and partly because we were due to marry in Germany that year – with Chris’ Italian roots on his mother’s side adding a third football-loving tribe into our family mix.

The drive from London was fairly long but accompanied by Chris’ cousin and another English friend meant the journey was full of typical English banter and no small measure of excitement. In fact, every time I hear the intro to the great Smith’s song, Charming Man, I’m reminded of the moment we crossed the border into Germany, with this quintessentially English song blaring loudly from the car speakers. Sadly for the English, the tournament ended in disappointment (at some deep subconscious level I think disappointment is a feeling English football actually longs for, or at least expect). Germany managed to reach the semi finals but in many respects there was widespread agreement that winning would have made us bad hosts and in the circumstances perhaps (arguably) completing the national journey from collective guilt to being able to wave a German flag proudly, en masse, without harbouring a nagging fear of how it might be perceived, was far more important.

Sadly we couldn’t make the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but living in Peru in 2014 as we were, there was no way we weren’t going to make the short flight to Sao Paulo for the Brazil 2014 World Cup. This time things were even worse for the English team but for Germany…well, it would be rude to boast. That said, our overriding memory of Brazil will be the carnival atmosphere where people from around the world sang and danced and drank together in what felt like a huge, month-long party.

"A Day in the Life - Rio de Janeiro" © 2014 Rafael Bautista

Rio de Janeiro – Photo by Pixamundo via

The next World Cup sees the tournament make its way to Russia which might be a very different beast altogether. Nonetheless, having never travelled to Russia before and being somewhat addicted to the feeling of being surrounded by people proudly wearing their national colours but at the same time being so warm and open and curious about all of the other nationalities that have flocked together, we’ve already pencilled in Moscow for our 2018 holiday destination. I just hope England fans get to experience winning at least one game this time!

About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

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