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Cape Town life: Where to watch a game during the World Cup – Walking the Fan Mile

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Walking the Fan Mile

Encounters when walking the Fan Mile

Cape Town life: Where to watch a game during the World Cup – Walking the Fan Mile

Walking the Fan Mile is an experience on its own. Even if you don’t have tickets to the game, it’s still worthwhile walking the walk.

If you’re ready to simply follow the flow, the most amazing encounters will light up your day.

As recommended everywhere, use public transport to make it to the mother city. It’s most pleasant to come in by train, especially if you are joined by other World Cup fans.

You’ll get out at Cape Town central railway station, which with its new sparkly decor will blind your eyes. Also the plaza welcoming you when stepping out of the train station is stunning: All cleared up with newly layered brick pavement and freshly dispersed gravel, it gives a sense of open and safe space.
Zebra sculptures, just in the manner of the beloved cow parade in New York and London, give an opportunity for pretty pictures.

In case you wouldn’t know what route to take, a giant torch will guide you into Waterkant Street. Beware, a massive flame shoots out of it every couple of minutes, which causes the masses to go ‘Ah!’ half in surprised shock, half in appreciative amazement.
Interestingly enough just by the giant flame Adidas snatched up an even more giant advertising space. A quick check on the big players of this World Cup (Argentina, England, Brazil) shows that it turned out very different from any predictions.

Already at the African Sculpture by Brett Murray in St George’s Mall the first entertainment area awaits: I was greeted by an African dance group, which yes looked very African to me. Cloths turned into hot pants for the guys and strings turned into skirts for the girls was all these dancers were wearing besides colourful necklaces and bracelets. Quite a sight together with rhythm and good spirits.

Thus enticed, the crowd was generally in a good mood: Everywhere I looked I saw smiles and laughter. People were wearing their team colours, if they were playing or not. Then again, others were dressed up for the day’s teams that were playing, simply for the fun of it: Families playfully chose sides and dressed up in full gear to make the game exciting for them.

Before you knew it, the next gig was heating up the crowd: A band of cool looking dudes were singing classics like ‘Feeling hot hot hot!’ by Buster Poindexter which was getting the crowd into full swing. People stopped to watch, sing along, dance and soak up the good vibe they were spreading. What an awesome song to choose, too, as surely that’s what you’re meant to feel like when in Africa.

Just in case people might have felt too hot hot hot, as the manoeuvre of getting the masses over Buitengracht Street turned out a bit tricky with the new pedestrian bridge only allowing half as much space as Waterkant Street’s pedestrian zone had offered, some easy going reggae tunes welcomed everybody who had made it. A smooth groove welled through the crowd and everybody was relaxed and chilled out.

Some clever artists used the Fan Mile as a means of being discovered like a group of young boys painting pavement drawings on the floor. Using predesigned motives and blowing them up through the well-tried grid method, they showed real talent.

Interacting with the crowd I asked a German supporter what his relation to Germany was. He had simply chosen Germany, as he like their team and the way they played football. Having found a connection, we walked the Fan Mile together for a while. He had the cutest ever little daughter sitting on his shoulder and blowing the vuvuzela that anyone who claims they can’t do it should turn red in their face in shame.

Street performers on stilts barged through the crowd, drink producers decided the World Cup is a good platform to launch new products, flags waving at any given space a flag could be mounted to, tents spontaneously put up by clever bars or pubs to extend their space, colourful advertising by the official sponsors, giant puppetry, all added to a fantastic atmosphere.

If you were not part of the actual Fan Mile track, standing by the side of the road and watching the spectacle was entertaining enough. Even the drunk or homeless you’d normally give a wide berth were having the party of their life.

Another music area in front of the Dial-a-Bed shop always proved to be popular. This time it was an acapella group doing opera that made the crowds scream and applaud in delight. An atmosphere like being at a live gig of your most favourite band spread and the bands by the side of the Fan Walk were celebrated like superstars.

People were extremely creative in dressing up for the World Cup: From any type of fan memorabilia to self-made costumes to dressing up children and pets, even entire buildings, to political statements, there was not one opportunity left out to make your voice heard and show your true colours.

Walking with the stream of people, every now and then I had to look up to see the beautiful mountains in the back. Yes, indeed, this was Cape Town.

Eventually, in order to watch the actual game, you’d have to stop somewhere, if it was at some of the public viewing areas like at the Waterfront or in a spontaneously chosen pub or bar.

Even the walk home after such an eventful day was pleasant, as Cape Town lit up when the sun went down: The giant wheel was a beacon to find your way back, accompanied by fairy lights looped around palm trees. With table mountain being lit for the night, it’s another spectacular sight to make you fall in love with Cape Town.

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