17 June 2014

Germany Getaway: Veltins Arena

After we had finished up the spaghettieis, we headed to the other side of Gelsenkirchen which became Hubby’s favourite place. Being a football fan, he became really excited when he saw the Veltins Arena.

And to top it off, Dad had booked us for a tour of the entire stadium! While waiting, we walked around the museum and took pictures (of course)

At 4pm, the guide arrived, and once everyone had gathered around her, the tour started. There were about 9 of us in the group and, although the guide could only speak in German, Dad was able to explain to us whatever she said in English. Again, we took a lot of photos, so I’ll just explain or caption those that I remember details of.

Although it’s known to be the home of FC Schalke 04 which is Gelsenkirchen’s football team, the arena has also been used for concerts, car races, and other major shows. In between games, the grass is taken out by a slide out pitch so that it can have its intake of water, sunlight and oxygen. Amazing, huh? It takes 4 hours to take the grass out, and 4 hours to take it back in. That’s the grass you can see at this picture below.
 And here’s how the stadium looked like inside without the grass

view of the roof inside
Again, I felt a wave of nostalgia hit me when I saw the stadium because we had attended a huge WYD party at that same place back in 2005. I remember singing along with the other delegates, and then waving a huge Philippines flag while running around the indoor field after the party with the rest of the crowd.

As we walked around, the guide pointed out these pipes that head straight to the refreshments stands. She explained that more than 50,000 liters of beer are supplied during games through a 5 km long pipeline. Naturally, the men in our group found this fact very interesting.
The guide then led us downstairs where we saw this room that’s like a chapel where the players can have a quiet time to pray before a game.
We also went into the press room where we pretended to face the media.

Then we went to the changing rooms where we saw as well a mini-gym, a sauna, a massage/ treatment room (I think), and the locker room where the coach usually talks to the players before, after and in between games.

This is the tunnel where the players pass through on their way into the stadium. Translated in English, one side says “Blue and White…”
And the other side means “…for a lifetime” which is Schalke’s motto.
The tour ended at the actual exit of the tunnel inside the stadium where we could really see and feel how enormous the entire arena was.
Our day at the arena didn’t end there, though. After the tour, Dad took us to the souvenir shop where all sorts of Schalke stuff were being sold. And because Hubby is such a fan, Dad bought a cap for him as a gift and remembrance of that day.

Standing with the players.
So excited to wear the cap, he didn't want to remove the tag!
Before going back home, we walked towards a big field where we saw several young boys (and girls!) being taught to play football.
Several times, a ball would head over to our spot where Dad or Hubby would kick it back to the kids. I’m sure each time they did, both men would remember their younger years when they used to play and train for the sport.
I may not be a football or Schalke fan, but I really enjoyed our tour of the arena. It was both entertaining and informative at the same time; definitely one of the things to do and experience in Gelsenkirchen.

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