Search This Blog

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Twickenham: An American Rugby Fan Finds His Mecca

When you are a rugby fan, regardless of your country of Origin, you know enough about the sport to know that William Webb Ellis was kind enough to give birth to this sport in England.

I have been traveling with my wife on vacation in Europe since May 3rd. Our travels have led us to Barcelona, Naples, Rome, Pisa, Florence, Cannes, Marseille, Montpellier, Aix en Provence, Chalon-sur Saone, Paris and now, London. The excuse for this entire trip was my wife wanting to go to England for her 50th Birthday. Well, the trip kind of escalated, and took on a life of it's own.

The trip has been immense fun, but aside from going to a rugby-centric bar in Puisserguier, France and watching the final of the Amlin Challenge Cup between Biarritz and Toulon while in Aix en Provence(Glad that Biarritz won, since USA Eagle winger Ngwenya plays for the Basques), there has been very little rugby-related news that I have been able to relate on this trip.

Well, being in London, I just had to make it to Twickenham. My wife, decided that of 3 days in London, doing an afternoon in Twickenham would be an OK Compromise. We picked up the train at Waterloo station in London, and about 30 minutes later, we got off at the Twickenham railway station.(See photo above) There was no need for asking for directions, as soon as you step out of the train station, and you look towards the right, you can JUST catch the massive upper part of the stadium, the towers over a residential neighborhood-in some ways, Twickenham reminded me of Eden Park, in Auckalnd, New Zealand, as that is another iconic stadium that is right in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

I did the rugby fan equivalent of having desert first: I hit the fan store, and THEN I went and had a tour of the World Rugby Museum that is on the southwest corner of Twickenham.

The Museum at Twickenham has some simply amazing artifacts, dating from the latter part of the 19th century-but the bad side is that because some of those items are so sensitive to light, a good part of the early exhibits are in a type of darkness that I have not even seen at art museums in Florence, Paris or Barcelona. There were fantastic audio visual displays, like BBC commentary on an England-Wales  match from the late 1920's. They recreated an old-school style lockeroom and medical area, as well.

It was just fantastic to finally make it to one of the most iconic rugby grounds in the World. I was glad that I made it. For me it was one of the highlights of the trip.

The other thing I noticed when leaving Twickenham was a glimpse at the future. As the orgy of the oval ball known as the Rugby World Cup, 2015 edition will take place in England,  I could not help but notice an office right across the street from Twickenham:
My only regrets are that I won't be able to catch any rugby this weekend at Twickenham, as I will be in the West Midlands with my friend Jonathan in Birmingham. I will have to watch the Quins-Leicester final and the England-Barbarians match on TV. On the bright side, at least in England, I will at least be able to do that.

No comments:

Post a Comment