The weather has been fantastic in Minnesota this week (we hit 67 degrees in March!) and I’ve still managed to write about an upcoming trip. I am going to Winnipeg this Summer with my wife and her family. Winnipeg isn’t exactly a top travel destination for any of us but this June it will be one of six host cities of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. If you’ve read my blog before you may know that my wife’s family is really into soccer. My father-in-law runs the youth referee program where we live and all three of his daughters played and refereed soccer growing up. Soccer is a new interest of mine but now that I’ve got a few years of experience understanding the basics of the game I can enjoy watching it just like any other sport. The biggest event in the soccer world is the FIFA World Cup. The women’s tournament is being held throughout Canada this year and luckily for us, one of the host cities is only seven hours away by car! There are seven games of the tournament in Winnipeg. The whole family is interested in attending. My wife, her father and I are definitely going no matter what. Depending on work schedules, her mom, sisters, and brother-in-law are coming with us. Those of us based in Minneapolis are going to drive while the Houston crew will fly directly to Winnipeg if they can get away from work for a few days.
The matchups scheduled for Winnipeg are great. The United States team ended up in Group D and will play two of their first three games in Winnipeg. The other teams in the group are Sweden, Australia, and Nigeria. The US-Sweden game on the 12th is the best on paper and was the one we were first thinking of seeing if possible. The tickets just went on sale February 26th and by the time I went online last week to look at prices the June 12th games were already sold out (wah wah). Facing the possibility that we may have already missed our window to buy tickets at all, Beth and I feverishly looked for tickets to the other days. Tickets were still available for the first game day so we snatched up six (if all seven of us go on the trip, Beth’s mom has volunteered to watch her grandson, Beth’s nephew). It may not be the best matchup on paper, but we’re going to see the US play Australia. Also, because tickets are only sold in double-headers, we also get to see Sweden take on Nigeria. Two games for one relatively low price ($80 each)!
I’ve been to a couple soccer matches in the past couple years, two in Houston (Houston Dynamo MLS) and two in Minnesota (Minnesota United NASL) and I’m very excited for this experience. I’m a big fan of the Olympics but when it comes to soccer (AKA football/futbol) the World Cup is the tops. People all over the world will be watching the World Cup from home and our family will get to see at least two of the games in person. I may have to buy some kind of Team USA Jersey to wear. Who will I cheer for in the Sweden-Nigeria game? Probably the underdog (Nigeria).
We’ll also have a day or two free to sight-see Winnipeg. “What can you see and do in Winnipeg?” you may ask. According to my favorite travel review website, Tripadvisor, the top attraction is a zoo. Zoos are fun, of course, but how many zoos can you visit before you get bored of zoos? Three or four I presume. Hopefully if I spend enough time on Tripadvisor I’ll find a worthwhile museum or show for us to see or we could be sitting in a hotel for the weekend waiting for an exciting Monday full of soccer.
I suppose I can also look for fun things to do on the drive. The map at right shows the fastest route from Minneapolis to Winnipeg. Fargo has to have something to do, right? Is William H Macy still hanging around? Even if attractions are hard to come by on the trip, I’m still itching to hit the open road. I cannot wait for this road trip and will likely spend a proportionally large amount of time planning it between now and then (for that is my way). I’ll probably write another update as my planning comes together. Are you planning your Spring/Summer travel plans yet? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.