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Bilbao 2018 and in praise of Exkixu

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    Posted: 15 May 2018 at 6:58pm
Not long back from a most enjoyable trip to the finals in Bilbao. Some of you will know the finals are a yearly trip for us and a few others and we’ve had some fantastic times.

Booked last May, when hotel and flights were still staggeringly high and in short supply, we stayed at a central Bilbao hotel before they’d woken up to higher prices, I think. In comparison to the rest, they were vg value.

We flew Gatwick-Bordeaux on BA. Out Thursday and back this morning, overnighting in Bordeaux, by the airport, last night.

Outbound, the flight was full, as was the return. Loads of rugby folk going out and not so many coming back.

Bilbao was a great venue choice as a city. It was easy enough walking down the streets to the ground. The choice of bars to pause and chew over important things was incredible. Some were minute but still made a living, clearly, despite so many others.

The police were brilliant. Friendly, yet decisive and assertive when they needed to be, when a resident left their underground car park to try and escape the pedestrian zones despite the best efforts of some well-“fuelled” rugby fans.

The stadium was fantastic for the atmosphere. It had great seats. The pitch looked very good. However, the only th8ng they’d not spent anywhere near enough money was on the acoustit’s. Almost all the announcements and interviews conducted pitchside and with the crowd were 100% unintelligible.

The crowd includes heaps of Spanish based rugby fans. They came to party and added hugely to the atmosphere. There were even some Spaniards who dressed up as leprechauns and wandered through the city singing songs in Spanish. There were about a dozen players of them.

The bar keepers and cafe owners kept their prices normal. The quality of the pintxos (Basque for tapas, I think) and the local wine was very nice indeed. The food, generally, was superb.

Huge thanks to Exkixu for his extensive tips in where to go and what to eat.

The indoor market was absolutely incredible for food quality and choice, whether for domestic shoppers or those wanting to eat in situ. On the Saturday, it was heaving with so many happy fans filling their faces with ultra fresh food and quality liquids.

On the Sunday, we drove out to the coast and had a brilliant lunch with fresh fish and accompaniments overlooking the harbour.

We toasted the success of going somewhere different on our last night in the city at a bar we’d found by accident on the way back from Cardiff’s triumph. It would’ve been rude to have reached our hotel without toasting the success.

Our spare tickets for both games went to fans of the winners on both days. Our spare room at the hotel went to a couple of Blues fans, who were great company even before they won

Saturday, Sunday and even Monday mornings were a bit of a haze. That was due to the Stephen Jones reporting of how Gloucester were robbed by the referee. I may have paraphrased a bit.

I’d always thought he’d got a reasonable sense of proportion, with the possible exception of Welsh International matters, however, he does seem to have changed his style somewhat, recently. He seems to have less patience and a narrower perspective now.

Shame!

The weather was a bit disappointing, however, it was not enough to take away any of our enjoyment of a great city and a great rugby weekend. I hope EPC rugby choose their post Newcastle venues with similar imagination, while insisting on sensible prices and terms for accommodation.

Must drop Geordie Scarlet a line about next year...........
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eastern outpost Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2018 at 8:55pm
While at a refreshment stop at a bar en route to the stadium for Saturday’s final, the big screen was showing old 6N matches.

Who should feature large and for the best of reasons but Mark Taylor.

Great clips.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote geordie scarlet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2018 at 9:07am
Whilst I am a little biased, I have no doubt that next years finals weekend, will be a huge success
 
The city, is all geared up to huge sporting events, with the added benefit, of the stadium being in the city itself and not on the outskirts like others
 
I have my tickets, whilst accommodation isn't an issue for me, hope those that are attending, find some good value accommodation - I have seen some prices, which are OTT, in my opinion, but not on the scale of Cardiff, for their big nights - at least Dick Turpin wore a mask !!   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fscarlet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2018 at 9:26am
There is always Air Bnb :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SA14 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2018 at 11:29am
Originally posted by geordie scarlet geordie scarlet wrote:


Whilst I am a little biased, I have no doubt that next years finals weekend, will be a huge success
 
The city, is all geared up to huge sporting events, with the added benefit, of the stadium being in the city itself and not on the outskirts like others
 
I have my tickets, whilst accommodation isn't an issue for me, hope those that are attending, find some good value accommodation - I have seen some prices, which are OTT, in my opinion, but not on the scale of Cardiff, for their big nights - at least Dick Turpin wore a mask !!   


I’ve had 2 nights for £120
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote geordie scarlet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2018 at 2:08pm
I looked last night and a lot were sold out, with prices around £100 to £200 pp per night for those remaining - Fair play, got a bargain there
 
I am in Cardiff in a few weeks for the Stones and cheapest hotel is £400 plus pp per night !
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