After a heartwarming visit to the United States, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to England with my old school friend Andrew and two Bosnian brothers, Dejan and Enis.
Following our arrival at Heathrow Airport, we made our way to the picturesque town of Hinckley in the English midlands, where we stayed at the inviting Sketchley Grange Hotel and Spa. After a delightful pub tour, we found ourselves gravitating towards two local haunts—Marston’s in Burbage and The Cross Keys. These lively pubs became our meeting points, where we engaged in animated discussions about soccer game predictions and connected with Andrew’s childhood friends, who were now part of the vibrant local community.
Our main purpose for visiting England was to witness a live football match. On the much-anticipated game day, we journeyed to Leicester, where the Leicester City Foxes faced off against the Stoke City Potters. Little did we know that this season would go down in history as a new legend in the annals of European soccer. Leicester City, against incredible odds of 5,000 to 1, not only won the game but also emerged as the Premier League Champions that year. We felt privileged to be a part of this fabled season, said to be one of the greatest feats in all of European soccer.
Eager to immerse myself in the complete football experience, I decided to grab a snack at the stadium. Unaware of the stadium rules, which prohibit eating or drinking in the seats, I purchased a delicious Pukka Pie—a warm, meat-stuffed pastry pie that warms the soul on chilly days. Once back in my seat, and to my surprise, security promptly approached me as I took a bite, leading to a humorous moment of being escorted away from my seat to finish my unauthorized snack. It became evident that seats at soccer matches are merely for watching, while the fans stand, cheer, taunt, and sing spirited sweeping crowd songs to support their teams and I soaked up every moment of the pageantry. Gambling is allowed and seemingly encouraged with bookies available in the stadium prior to the game, and during half-time.
Beyond the football frenzy, our stay in Hinckley offered relaxation and exploration. The hotel’s health club, pool, and spa provided a rejuvenating experience. We indulged in the local pub culture, relishing in the vibrant atmosphere and savoring delectable meals at charming eateries. One memorable evening, we joined a lively group of locals for a family-style Indian feast. Sharing platters of flavorful dishes, I enjoyed one of the spiciest and most satisfying Indian meals of my life. These moments solidified the bonds of friendship and created lasting memories.
As our adventure drew to a close, we made our way back to London, cherishing the newfound friendships we had forged and the remarkable experiences we had shared. Our journey had allowed us to immerse ourselves in English football culture, explore the enchanting town of Hinckley, and indulge in delightful pub experiences.
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