20/05/2024
Home » Groundhopping in the Polish second tier? 8 hours on the Flixbus!

Why spend almost eight hours on the bus for a game of Stal Rzeszow in the second Polish tier? Uhm, yes. Why not? Perseverance wins, as it turns out after the somewhat controversial Rzeszow-Vinck in southeastern Poland.

Picture this, you open the Futbology app in the center of Katowice in Poland, and you look for a nice game for the Monday night, because you are not yet saturated with Polish football culture. There, Stal Rzeszow will play against Odra Opole. A game on the second level on Monday night. Then you have to go. Then you don’t have a choice. There’s always your best friend there, who lends a hand: the Flixbus.

Efficient match attendance in Poland
‘You’re really not good’ and ‘That can’t be true’. These are just some of the reactions of comrades when I told them that I was going to sit in the Flixbus for almost eight hours for the race Stal Rzeszow – Odra Opole. However, it was my only way out given the scarce supply of matches on Monday evenings in Poland. Tuesday morning my plane left for Eindhoven, and the fun was over. So I had to make good use of my time in Poland.

Why didn’t I look at trains from Katowice to Rzeszow? I don’t know. I thought the Flixbus was a nice option. The times were ideal. At 12:50 the bus left from the bus station of Katowice, and it arrived in Rzeszow at 16:20. The absolute cracker in the second division was scheduled for 18:00. Perfect. Anyway, I also had to come back.

Everything for one football match
What do you think? At 23:00 the Flixbus left for Katowice. A steady four-hour drive back ensured that I got back to my hostel safely at three in the morning. Fortunately, I only had to get out of bed at six o’clock in the morning that day to save my flight to Eindhoven. So, this Vinck was made for someone who knows football addictions, and just doesn’t get satiated from going to football matches. Tailor-made for me.

It was time to see football. The bus drove to the Ukrainian border, where Rzeszow is also located. The Flixbus was, as far as I could and was allowed to judge, full of Ukrainians. My fellow passengers had very different things on their minds than I did. I knew I would be the only one who would go to a dilapidated jar in Rzeszow.

Wonderful welcome in Rzeszów
An hour and a half before the start of the race I arrived at the promised place. With the stadium just over half an hour’s walk away, I was looking for a better alternative. And that’s what I thought. I’ve never been on an electric scooter before. So, my baptism of fire was in Poland. After about fifteen minutes, I knew how to move forward without scooting. It may take a while, but it was worth it.

I bought the ticket online, but once I arrived at the Eastern Bloc oval, I wanted a nice printed version of my ticket. Of course, the lady behind the cash register had never heard of that, because which groundhopper goes to Stal Rzeszow? Well, that was somewhat understandable.

It soon became clear that the stadium had a fairly high capacity. Still, there were only about 3,000 people to cheer on the home team. There were also away supporters. They didn’t take more men with them, because in the end they came with about twenty supporters. The supporters who had made the long journey would later be rewarded.

Food review!
Finally, with a nice card in my pocket, it was time to test the stadium food. The food in the stadiums in Poland is of course the kielbasa. A bit similar to a smoked sausage, on a bun. You can pump sauce yourself, which of course always results in a +1. Topped with a pickle, the bun was complete. That’s how we’d like to see it in the Netherlands.

Half an hour before the game it was of course time to have a beer. Well, I’m not the biggest fan of beer myself and they had a good alternative for that in Rzeszow. Next to the beer tap was a lemonade pump with cherry flavor. One and one is two. I could make my own kriek. Of course, that went in just fine.

It was time for the game. The ultras and hools of the Polish team stood on the second ring of the main stand. There was certainly an atmosphere, but due to the course of the race it was a bit sluggish. In the first half, the away team from Opole was already leading 0-2. This quickly increased to 0-4 in the second half. Two goals from Rzeszow were not enough for a comeback, partly because Odra Opole scored the 2-5 in the last minute.

Pastime in Polish caves
The twenty away supporters could cheer after the final whistle. Stal Rzeszow took a loss at home, which resulted in quite a few disappointed looks in the McDonald’s next to the stadium. It was around eight o’clock in the evening, so I still had three hours to fill up in Rzeszow. What do you do then?

I grabbed the electric scooter and just scooted around a bit. This somehow brought me to a great little square with fountains and music in the background. About a hundred people were chilling on a Monday evening at nine o’clock at fountains in a park. It was the perfect end to my Poland trip.

The Flixbus back to Katowice was quite a suffering. In front of me sat a French lady, who threw her chair all the way back at the first opportunity. At three o’clock in the morning I was back in Katowice. I liked the scooting so much that I decided to scoot from the bus station to my hostel. Totally unnecessary, because it was only a six-minute walk, but I didn’t regret it for a second. After two and a half hours of sleep, it was time to go back to the Netherlands. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss a second of this game between Rzeszow and Opole.

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