Yes, well. Sport.
From March onwards there was none, at least for live spectating. My escape to Malmö in January/February was one of my last live sports events for 2020.
I went to Dundee to watch an ice hockey game on 7 March. I remember thinking quite a lot about whether to do it, given the public health advice we were getting at the time. I remember finding a quiet place to sit, away from other spectators. I remember people awkwardly trying to maintain spacing in the toilets. It does not count as sports travel of course, because Dundee is just 30 miles from home and I did not stay overnight.
I did have an overnight trip to Dundee in February, this time to watch my son play. It counts!
I made it an overnighter because the game started very late and I did not feel like driving home at 1am. I stayed at the Sleeperz which is a no-frills type of hotel, but stylish and I like it. The location is good too – city centre across the street from the Tay estuary. I had a very good dinner in a nearby Thai restaurant before heading to the arena.
It was a bitter-sweet event however, as his team (Edinburgh Universities) was leading for most of the game against their local rivals St Andrews, and then St Andrews got an undeserved equaliser right at the end.
Then there was Malmö. It was easy to get to. A flight (2 hours) to Copenhagen and then 40 minutes on the train across to Sweden. The flights were cheap too, with SAS, Norwegian, Ryanair and easyJet all serving the route back then. I went with easyJet, probably because the flight times suited me.
My accommodation was a hotel, and a Radisson Blu, no less. I got a great deal. I suspect it is the kind of city – like Brussels for example – where business travellers keep the hotels full during the week but they do not attract so many weekenders. Well, it’s a theory.
Leaving aside the ice hockey, I really enjoyed the city. I would go back any time.
The game was great too – a superb arena, a big crowd (12,600) and I had an excellent seat.
The arena is on the edge of the city, but access is easy by train. Malmö was playing top of the league Luleå. The home team lost 1:3, but it was a good game for a neutral!
I know the competition is weak, but Malmö is an easy winner of this year’s award for sport travel.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2021