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WHAT DID I HAVE TOULOUSE: PART ONE

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After a friend had decided at the last minute to make the trip to Bordeaux for Wales’ opening group stage game my wife announced – after he had returned – that had she known he was going I could’ve gone along too A bit late at that point but the sentiment was appreciated.

With the next game against England in Lens, logistically it wasn’t possible to make the trip and I feared my chance of seeing my country in a major tournament was fading. After casually – without hinting – stating that the final group game was in Toulouse the following Monday and that I knew people going she declared that if possible with work and flights etc. I should look into joining them! Serious? Are you sure?  We’d flown to Toulouse on a family holiday last year so my wife knew I could fly there.

Within minutes the skyscanner app on my phone was active and the dream was starting to become more than just that. I’d found flights that suited and now just needed the OK from work to get 3 days off. I had to wait until the following day for confirmation but by 8AM on the Monday I was cleared and the flights booked. Bristol to Toulouse on game day returning on the Wednesday. All set to witness something I’d only dreamed of

Or so I thought..

A message to those I knew who would be in Toulouse for the game was greeted with a hero’s welcome, I could stay with them, but there was a hitch in the almost perfect plan.

Ummmm, Jim. We aren’t actually staying in Toulouse the day after the game. We’re driving down to Barcelona for the night! There’s a space on the bus for the trip down and digs are sorted so why not come with us and fly home from there?

FUCKING BARCELONA.

And so began my phone call to EasyJet to see if I could change my flight. There would be an admin fee. There would be a flight change fee. There could be additional taxes to pay. My already overpriced flight was about to become even more expensive.

“Can you just work out the extras and tell me what I need to pay?”
“Can I put you on hold, sir, as there seems to be an anomaly and I have to get clearance from my manager before I proceed?”

I feared the worst and was setting myself up for a night alone in Toulouse.

“Hello Mr Panzie, I can confirm that your return flight has been amended and your new flight leaves Barcelona at 2pm on the Wednesday and we have refunded £88 to your account.”

Happy. Fucking. Days.  A cheaper flight and a night out in Barcelona to boot. I was going to the Euros to watch my nation play against Russia in Toulouse.

Yep. Russia. That team followed by the scariest and craziest hooligan following in the tournament who had already been causing riots all over France and the media were advising people to avoid at all costs. Yep. That Russia.

What could possibly go wrong.

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