Last Sunday, Clint invited me to go see the two Medellin professional soccer teams battle it out at the Estadio with him and his friend Jamie.
Catching a soccer match in Latin America had been on my agenda since I came up with my ’round the world trip, and though I imagined it would always be in Brazil, I knew Colombian soccer would not disappoint.
We met at the metro station near the stadium around 2pm. It was a beautiful, sunny (and hot) day.
We bought tickets for the Oriental section of the stadium, which is in the middle, and away from the craziness common at either end where the teams’ fans sit/stand.
The face value of our tickets was 18,000 pesos (about $7) and we only had to pay an extra 2,000. So for $8, we secured center field seats on the lower deck.
The cheaper tickets at either end of the stadium run a little less than half that!
Tickets in hand, we lined up in a security queue which seemed to take forever to pass through, on account of the massive number of people blatantly walking to the front of the line and cutting right before the gate.
Eventually, after thirty minutes of this, some of the police mounted on horseback shuffled along the sides of the queue to keep things moving (and fair).
There was a mix of people – parents and children, teenagers, adults, and us 3 foreigners.
Once we were all too thoroughly patted down, we found the entrance for the Oriental section, and waited in a second, faster moving line. We were patted down again, and allowed to enter.
First stop at any stadium in a new country is food. I had a giant hot dog smothered in broken up potato chips, followed by an ice cream, while Clint went for the chicken on a stick.
As in Spain, no alcohol is sold at the stadium on account of the potential for violence. Of course that doesn’t stop people from drinking *before* they enter the stadium.
It was general seating, and unlike in America, the lower level seats are less desirable, so we were able to get central seats with a great view of the field and stadium.
To our left, the stands were filled with people in green and white supporting Nacional. To our right, the stands were filled with supporters of Medellin wearing red and blue.
Drums were being banged from both sides, and a chorus of chants and cheers reverberated around the 50,000 seat stadium.
And besides being awestruck by the scene of such team dedication, we had views of the mountains in the distance beyond the stadium.
The first half had us melting in the sun, and while the skill level seemed reasonable better than what I was use to in my country’s MLS league, there were no goals scored.
The sound of the supporters cheering their teams was overwhelming. I am sharing a video for this post, however it doesn’t do the experience justice.
It is almost the kind of atmosphere I had expected when I went to the FC Barcelona match back in January.
The second half saw no goals either, though the play of game was exciting enough to keep us interested. As has been the case almost every afternoon this month, it began to rain.
We all bought cheap ponchos which worked to keep us merely damp as opposed to soaked once the clouds fully unleashed themselves upon us.
The match was not without its problems, though they had more to do with Nacional fans fighting in the upper decks, than any issues on the field.
Thankfully, all of that was far away from where we were seated.
$8.00 – one general admission ticket – center stadium
$4.60 – metro ride to stadium and taxi ride back to apartment
$3.00 – big hot dog and ice cream in stadium
$1.40 – disposable rain poncho
$17.00 – total