A few days ago, you saw me posting several photos and videos on my social media accounts…Photos that didn’t show my recipes…Neither did they show me cooking (as usual). They were photos which showed me shooting a ball in the soccer field. No, I did not make a career change! Cooking is still my great love. Despite that, I am not going to lie to you, after these 3 days, I loved…soccer even more! But what happened? How did I end up shooting soccer balls at San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao, talking with the players of Athletic Bilbao, watching their training session, enjoying their match with Barcelona in the VIP section, and competing for the best…Spanish omelet with the Spanish Master Chef Jorge Brazález López? I will tell you everything right away! LaLiga, along with ΟΤΕ TV that hosts its games, invited me to Bilbao for a unique experience which I am going to share with all of you.
So, on Friday 08/02, I traveled to Spain -and specifically to Bilbao- in order to experience the magic of LaLiga at the unique San Mamés Stadium. There, along with Georges Sebastian Cotofana, a great guy who is a Youtuber-Influencer from Romania, we had the chance to meet the Athletic Bilbao players in person, have a talk with them, and take part in fun games, knowledge quizzes, and… sports activities that went great and that got us our own Spanish fans!
Apart from all these, though, they arranged for us several tours in and out of the soccer field, and also many athletic and…cooking challenges. When I say “cooking”, I mean the challenge that they arranged for me and the Spanish Master Chef Jorge during our visit to the “Astobiza” winery. What did we have to do? Prepare a traditional Spanish recipe with local ingredients and within a specific time frame. Of course, each one gave his own twist to the recipe and everyone enjoyed the result! I may have won the challenge, but I must say that I had an amazing… opponent and it was a real pleasure that I got to meet him!
And since the beautiful moments of the specific mission kept going, I will mention some of the most characteristic ones to help you get a taste…A unique meal at the Jatetxea Restaurant of San Mamés, a wonderful tour of the soccer field’s museum, but also a few special moments, like when we watched the players’ training session, and the soccer match with Barcelona, that will stick in my mind forever.
Along with these, the moment when the legend Carlos Gurpegui, made us “captains” of the team by putting on us the characteristic badge! I believe it was the best way to end magically this amazing 3-day trip that gave me the chance to look at soccer from a different angle. This is something that Basques have cultivated and have made it part of their culture. You see, soccer in Spain does not start and end with a match. The experience of Spanish soccer is truly unique. It all starts with your friends or family, you go to the soccer field, eat, have a great time – just think that during halftime, they offer from sushi to anything you can imagine, not only in the VIP section, but also in the whole field! Generally, it was a fantastic experience and what impressed me even more was that from the moment the match ended, within 3 minutes, the field was empty! Everyone was gone! All these combined, make a visit to the field a complete outing for all ages.
Through this special experience that I had the pleasure to live, I’d like to point out the following: This tailor-made 3-day trip that COSMOTE TV and LaLiga organized for us, was truly the most special thing I have ever lived regarding the arrangements and -of course- the activities, sport and all. Sergio, Myriam, Alvaro, and all the guys of LaLiga Experience, along with the soccer players, showed us how soccer is through their eyes. They made us love it just like they do. They truly created such a warm and friendly ambiance and they helped us discover another side of soccer which I’d love to experience in Greece at some point.
From left to right: Lorena Macho, Jorge Brazalet, George Sebastian Cotofana, Miriam Fernández, Ionut Angheluta, Akis Petretzikis, Sergio Royo, Álvaro García, Alexis Ortega, Georgios Pouliopoulos.