Part of our 2008 European Trip. See the explanation and summary entry.
This one's going to a long one! We arrived in London latish on Thursday night at Gatwick Airport. We caught the express into the city and then a quick taxi to our hotel in King's Cross. This journey was the main reason for the side-trip: to see the Arsenal vs Everton game at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.
That night I quickly fulfilled my English McDonald's mission (which was easy as there was one right down the road from the hotel), and we woke up the next day and quickly got to business. After getting our Underground tickets we went straight to the Arsenal stop and got our tickets for the game that was today (Saturday). After that we went on the Emirates Stadium tour, which was really great; lots of great facts and places that you just wouldn't be able to see otherwise (unless you were an employee or player).
After that we went to the main store at the stadium (there actually are two), aptly titled 'The Armoury', and bought a lot of stuff. I bought two jerseys (one home and one away), some ties, caps, and other miscellaneous items, and Des even got a personalised jersey too. When in Rome i suppose, we're not at the stadium all too often :).
After that we went into the Arsenal Museum and toured the history and personalities of the club over the past 100+ years. Needless to say, it was awesome stuff.
After we finished off Arsenal for the day, we went on the London Eye (a.k.a one of the biggest ferris wheels in the world). We timed it pretty well with the sunset and got some good photos of Westminster and Big Ben too. The photo below is especially awesome.
That was pretty much it for Friday. Today (Saturday) in the morning we went to Madame Tussauds and toured all that had to offer, and following that went to Trafalgar Square and climbed the Lions :).
Following that we dressed up in our newly purchased Arsenal finest, and made our way to the Emirates Stadium again for the match against Everton. We had pretty good seats in the southern end of the stadium: we were a few rows back from the front of the upper tier, to the right of the goals and right above the away supporters.
The match was the typical rollercoaster-ride that only an Arsenal fan will know. The first half was pretty terrible: Arsenal not taking their clear chances that they had, and the opposition taking pretty much their only ones. The half ended 0-1 to Everton.
The second half was much better, and when i say better i mean awesome. The team turned the game around and scored three goals. Although the action was at the other end of the stadium, i couldn't care. I still screamed, jumped, smiled, yelled, and rejoiced at each one of those goals. For the first goal i even saw someone toss up into the air their full box of chips that (i'm sure coincidentally ;)), managed to fly over and land in the away fans section.
The atmosphere in the stadium was awesome, it's something that you really just don't hear, see or feel on TV. The chants i actually heard and took part in, the moans, the abuse and the banter with the away fans i was all part of.
The abuse against the away fans was quite amusing: after Arsenal scored a few goals, a few Everton fans took exception and about 4 or 5 got arrested (youtube video of it here).
3-1 it finished, and it was a really memorable afternoon. We stayed at the stadium and took a few more photos before they kicked us out (can you spot me in the one below?), and then took a long walk around the old Highbury ground too.
Tonight we went to Picadilly Circus and took some photos of the famous advertising and had dinner there.
Tomorrow we're planning on doing most of the non-Arsenal London touristy stuff before going to Paris for the day on Monday. We're going to be stuffed by the end of this!