A bit of sickness this week put delay to this upload, but we have finally sifted through the photos of our latest trip to pick out the best for this blog post. Last weekend we got on the train to the Autonomous Community of Valencia for some La Liga groundhopping action.
Two of us dropped our bags off and jumped on the metro to get to find the Estadi Ciutat de València tucked away behind a sterile mult-istorey shopping complex. For last week’s Friday night fixture the RFEF had selected the regional derby between Levante Unión Deportiva of the capital and Elche CF of Alicante province some 170km away – a small travel distance by Spanish standards. As we followed the excited crowds through the mall we came upon an opening where hundreds of travelling Elche fans were tanking up on overpriced beer in the glow of the stadium. Opposing fans frequently greeted each other and exchange banter in a very positive atmosphere. Both teams were keen for a strong performance but it was the home side that took a commandeering 3-0 win to earn some very valuable points in their relegation battle.
After an evening of beer, pizza and colourful renditions of “Sweet Caroline” into the early hours of the morning, we had a quick tour of the proud city of Valencia to see the best of the city as well as the legendary La Mestalla stadium ahead of the famous “Las Fallas” festival before moving on to game 2 the following day in the Castellón province north of Valencia city. While CD Castellón can stake the claim to be the main and most historic club of provincial capital Castellón de la Plana, its immediate neighbour and close rival 5km away has emerged as a surprise power of Spanish (and European) Football in the past 20 years. We braved the dark skies and climbed up to the top of the Estadio de la Cerámica (named after the region’s leading industry and employer) to watch on-form Champions of Europe Villarreal CF tear apart RCD Espanyol 5-1 in spite of a fantastic thousand-strong away following.
More analysis and critical Football-culture writing to follow, but until then we hope you enjoy this photographic summary! Have a great week.
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