First, a quick recap.
Several months prior to being accepted into the Berlin Marathon, Peter and I purchased tickets to attend an NFL game at Wembley Stadium in London. The game (Vikings versus Steelers) was held on the same day as the Berlin Marathon.
We booked flights departing Berlin at different times. I would fly back to London while Peter was still running the marathon. I’d take all of our luggage with me, leaving Peter in Berlin with not much more than his phone and passport.
If this sounds crazy, it was.
Peter’s flight departed after the marathon and based on his arrival time in London, he’d meet me at home or at the stadium.
Very long story short, I departed as planned but Peter was nervous about missing his flight so he exited the marathon at about mile 15 and hopped in a taxi for the airport.
Meanwhile, I had landed at Heathrow and was en route to our flat to drop off our luggage.
After arriving at the airport, Peter found out that his flight was delayed for two hours. This messed up our entire plan. An NFL game is only one hour long so a two-hour delay, um, yeah.
When Peter eventually arrived at our flat, we hopped into a taxi for Wembley. He still had not showered after running 15 miles of a marathon so that was fun.
When we arrived at Wembley, all of the doors were shut. These were steel doors with no windows and no one standing outside manning the doors.
I thought we had no chance of getting into the stadium but just as we were about to walk away, an employee walked out of the door and we made our move to enter the stadium.
We didn’t go through security. No one checked our tickets. For all I knew, we entered through a side door.
Once inside, we were ushered to a secrete service elevator that was most certainly not to be used by spectators.
I appreciated the elevator but was confused because our seats were on ground level and we were taking the elevator to the fifth level.
The door to the elevator door opened and the employee abandoned us. We could hear the game in the background but had no clue as to how to get to our seats.
Orphaned by our elevator usher, I managed to flag down another employee and showed him our tickets and he asked, “How did you get up here?”
I said, “An employee brought us up here in the elevator. He didn’t check our tickets.”
The employee said, “You need to go back down to ground level.”
He then ushered us back to the elevator where we again met the first employee we’d encountered and we eventually made it to our seats with 40 seconds remaining in the first half.
We found two people [understandably] sitting in our seats and kindly asked them to move.
We collapsed in our seats. It had been a very long day that began at about 5:30am in Berlin and included running 15 miles (Peter, not me!), two flights, zero showers, and a whole lot of chaos.
On a bright note, Wembley is a very nice stadium and the Minnesota Vikings won the game. On a dark note, I’m not a football fan, European or American, so the experience was meh to me and the Steelers lost.
The lesson learned is to not run a marathon in one country and attempt to attend a professional sporting event that same day in another country.