Football and moneyBucharest, from "Little Paris", beautiful women and cheap beer, to Dracula and aggressive dogs

D.N. (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 4 mai 2012

Bucharest, from "Little Paris", beautiful women and cheap beer, to Dracula and aggressive dogs

The Final of the Europa League, which will be held next week, on May 9th, has succeeded in attracting the attention of all of Europe to Bucharest, with the Spanish being the most interested. Romania's presentation and that of Bucharest in particular, abounds in well-worn clichés, but the beautiful features are also presented, which are intended to entice the tourists. Aside from the obvious interest of the athletic event, the tourist side of the entire event should not be disregarded, because it would actually earn Romania several million Euros. The UEFA has a very nice presentation of Bucharest, as it is obvious that it could not justify choosing the capital to host this competition only to then harshly criticize it in the presentation guide. In the presentation off UEFA.com, there is less talk about Dracula and more about "Little Paris", about the medieval churches and the parks of the city, as well as the many bars where one can have a glass of beer in the open air, together with very "friendly" people.

On the official website of the Athletic Bilbao club there is a guide, dealing mostly with how to get to the stadium and with the presentation of the arena, but which also presents further information about Bucharest. The websites of the teams' fans also write about less pleasant things. There is talk about aggressive dogs which attack in packs, the difficulty in exchanging money safely, and about the risks of the neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city. Even with this negative view, the texts don't forget to mention the beautiful girls, the beer - good and cheap, and the fact that people are very friendly. The dogs, which the Spanish press claims are about 100,000 in number, seem to be the greatest cause of concern for the visitors, since there are several pieces of advice provided on how people should behave around them. Tourists are advised not to feed the dogs, abuse them physically or verbally or act too friendly towards them. The newspapers do insist that the inhabitants of Bucharest have succeeded in finding a solution, cohabitating peacefully with them. Architecture lovers are also urged to visit Bucharest, as the forums describe our capital as a true "Tower of Babel", architecturally-wise. The Spanish journalists have been very pleased with the stadium, which they have described as being one of the top three arenas in Eastern Europe worthy of such an event, and they are convinced that the spectators will have no reasons to complain in this respect.

The fans of Athletic Bilbao paid between 19 and 120 Euros for the tickets. The interest of Bilbao in this final is huge, with over 35,000 people trying to obtain the 9,000 tickets allocated to the Basque club. Besides, there was even a draw on the distribution of the tickets, to avoid any complaints. Even so, many of the supporters said they would travel to Bucharest, even if they wouldn't be among the happy winners of a ticket. The UEFA rules were very clear, the two finalist clubs had 18,000 tickets allocated to them, with 9,000 to each, meaning that the supporters of Madrid would be seated to the North lawn, of National Arena, and those of Bilbao on the South lawn. In Madrid, the interest is a little lower, but it is out of the question that Atletico Madrid would have less than 9,000 people supporting it.

Like it has already been said, over 4,500 agents have been mobilized to ensure the security of the supporters. The means of public transportation will have an extended schedule, to allow spectators to travel from the stadium, even if extra time occurs and the games go into the penalty shoot out phase. Another facility provided to the spectators is that on the day of the final, the game ticket will ensure free access to the lines of the RATB (the company operating the Bucharest public bus lines). Next week, Bucharest will be a city at the disposal of football, as in several of its locations there will be events celebrating the final of the Europa League.

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