Wednesday

My Solo Eurovision Adventure

I bloody love a bit of Eurovision. Every year I watch and think 'how amazing would it be to be there!' Last year I had an epiphany, when I realised there wasn't actually anything stopping me going. So I kept a close eye on the Eurovision site, found out when tickets were released and made sure I was ready, credit card in hand. Unfortunately I missed out on tickets to the grand final, but there were seats available for the first semi final, and I figured that was still part of Eurovision. So last week I found myself sitting alone on a plane to Lisbon, heading towards Europe's biggest party of the year.

Attending Eurovision alone

This being my first Eurovision experience, I wasn't entirely sure of how things would pan out. I had three main questions, and luckily they all resolved themselves perfectly.


WHAT DO I WEAR?

The obvious answer to this is sequins. We've all seen the camera turn onto those in the crowds covered head-to-toe in sequins and novelty national dress. Turns out, 'sequins' was harder than I thought. I bought this gorgeous dress from ASOS, but my size wasn't available so I took a risk with a size down and couldn't even get it over my hips. Then I bought an amazing rainbow sequin playsuit from Primark. It fit me, and it looked amazing, but it squished my boobs a bit and we all know playsuits are not practical for events where we'll be relying on public toilets. Finally, I found a bit sparkly jacket, also in Primark, and it seemed perfect. I could wear a perfectly normal outfit on the way to the venue (I didn't want to draw too much attention to myself as I made my way there on public transport alone) and then just slip the jacket over the top once I arrived.

What to wear to Eurovision
I was glad for this on the day because I started to wonder if people would be more casual for the semi finals and only unleash the sparkles for the main event. I had nothing to worry about! Everyone was covered in face paint, huge national flags draped over their shoulders and, in the case of the Irish fans, gaudy green and orange sequinned suits. It was heaven! (And I was relieved to be proved right about my choices when the woman next to me on the platform as I waited for the train home leaned in and complimented me on my jacket: "It's so beautiful. The way it shimmers in the breeze". Thank you, Primark!) 

HOW DO I GET THERE?

I'd found an amazing hostel, which I'll write more about in my generic Lisbon post. It was super cheap, it had very private beds, and it had amazing reviews. The only problem was it was the complete opposite side of Lisbon to the stadium. And I didn't realise this until a few days before, because I'm an idiot who books accommodation based on how nice the photos are, rather than location. Luckily, I also have a good sense of direction and I'm pretty skilled at navigating public transport in foreign cities. I found out there was a train station a 10-minute walk from my hostel on a line that ran directly to the stadium on a 20 minute journey (told you my hostel was miles away!). I'd initially planned to get a taxi back but since the journey was so simple, with some ridiculously low price like €1.30, I just took the train again after the show.  

Lisbon Altice Arena
Once I arrived at the stadium, about 90 minutes before we went live, I was really impressed with how easy it was to get in. There were multiple layers of security but they handled us so quickly that there was no queue at all. My seat was just as easy to find, and before I knew it, I was sitting down waiting for the show to begin. 

WILL I BE LONELY? 

I had visions of being sandwiched between two rowdy groups and sitting there all awkward through the whole thing. Thankfully it wasn't like that at all. One of the amazing things about Eurovision is just how wonderful it is to see all these different nationalities coming together. I'd expected everyone to be friendly and accommodating but it's quite something to experience it first hand. 

When I arrived, I asked the nearest person to take a photo of me in front of the Eurovision-branded fencing. He was so lovely and without me even asking, took a million different shots from all angles and perspectives. What a star! On finding my seat, I was relieved to see I'd been allocated a seat right on the aisle, so I only had one group next to me. They were two Icelandic girls, about my age, and although they kept themselves to themselves, they smiled and said hello when I sat down so I felt comfortable. 

Jedward top
The biggest surprise for me was how many people were on their own. In front of me sat a girl draped in a Finnish scarf who was quite happily dancing away by herself, and I got chatting to a French guy in the most amazing Jedward t-shirt. He sat next to me on the steps for a while since he couldn't find his seat, and when Lipstick started blaring out of the speakers before the show started, he looked at me with the biggest grin, shouted "JEDWARD!" and we had a great time dancing along. 

THE SHOW

As you'd imagine, the show was incredible! I was sat on the top balcony right next to the stage, but the downside was my view was obscured by those big circular lighting rigs that encompassed the stage. This did mean my ticket was super cheap though, so I'm not complaining! This section of the stadium was also half-empty, so when the show started, everyone played musical chairs to get a better view. I ended up sat in the middle of an entire row to myself, eating a massive bag of crisps with my shoes off. Living my best life! 

Eurovision Lisbon 2018 staging
The atmosphere was electric, and it was so much fun to be right in the middle of the action (with Rich messaging me highlights of Scott & Rylan's commentary so I didn't miss out). I was lucky as my semi final had both the winner, Netta, and second place, Eleni Foureira, whose performances were both so energetic that the entire stadium went crazy. My highlight was Eleni's performance- after a whole slew of ballads, it was a much-needed boost to end on a high with fire and fancy dance moves and an upbeat track. When she finished, the roar from the crowd was so loud that I couldn't hear what she was saying. I was really rooting for her in the final, so it's a shame she didn't get that trophy. 

Lisbon 2018 Netta Toy Israel
I'm so glad I finally took the step of going to a Eurovision event. I won't be going next year, but I definitely intend to be there for 2020. Maybe I'll even make the grand final this time! 

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1 comment :

  1. YES BECKY! This sounds like such an amazing experience! I've never been but I love it and every year I live Tweet from home. If you ever want a travelling companion one year, I'll be up for going! x

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