Everyone knows the Walt Disney Castle, a beautiful fairytale castle in the middle of the world famous Disney theme park. In Portugal they have a similar fairytale castle, or palace I should say. It’s called Pena National Palace. Although it may appear like a real palace, it’s fake. Just like the Walt Disney Castle.
The palace was completed in 1845, so it’s only 166 years old. It’s build in the architecture style of Romanticism. Put simply, this means the architects collected details and ornaments they liked (from styles like the Classical Greek and Roman styles but also the medieval Gothic style). The result is what you’ll see in this OneMinute video. I have to say, the palace looks quite beautiful, but once you realize everything is fake… well…
Last week I went to a football (or is it soccer?) match of Benfica vs. FC Twente in Estádio da Luz, Lisbon Portugal. It was a Champions League qualifier so there’s a lot at stake. The winner of this match enters this prestigious European football league and gets awarded millions of euros (for just entering this tournament).
Since I am not a fan of either home or away team, I would normally choose to support the home team (in this case Benfica). It’s really fun to support any home team, since they usually make the most noise during a match (in this case about 50.000 Benfica fans vs. 150 Twente fans). But there’s a problem. Benfica is Portuguese… Twente is Dutch… I am Dutch also. Not to root for Twente would be close to treason against my country…. And I have no particular reasons to like Benfica. So I rooted for Twente. The away team.
So far so good. I entered the stadium and found my seat on the third tier. I quickly noticed the hard-core Benfica fans were in another part of this Stadium of Light, which is how the stadium is named in Portuguese. I figured this would allow me to cheer for the away team without putting myself at risk. Meanwhile the beautiful Champions League tune started to play in the stadium. Moments later, the game started.
Immediately after, a guy sitting in front of me stood up and started shouting and cheering in Portuguese. Quickly several other supporters followed. It didn’t take long before I, together with three other Dutch people, were surrounded by over-passionate Benfica fans. This resulted in me not knowing what to do. I didn’t want to cheer for Benfica, since this felt like treason. But I also didn’t dare to cheer for Twente. It might simply be too dangerous. Who knows what would happen when this Benfica-guy in front of me would turn around and…
Let’s put it simple. I’m Dutch, Twente is Dutch. I have no particular reason to like Twente other for the fact they’re Dutch. Since Benfica was simply too strong for Twente (the match ended in 3-1) I decided to make as much fun as possible and joined others in singing Benfica songs, et cetera. The Benfica crowd is one of the most passionate I’ve ever seen which made it one of the best matches I’ve ever seen!
Several years ago I started my architectural studies in the Netherlands. Since then, my life accelerated. I lived in five different countries, biked all across the Netherlands, designed a mega church and started working as director. Oh, I also co-founded a company. And I feel like I’m just warming up!