Cities

My Favourite Place

With restrictions on travel, experiencing our own cities again with fresh eyes is the next best thing. Here we ask a singer, two players, a fan and a Benfica legend what they missed most in their home towns

INTERVIEW Simon Hart, Michael Harrold, Carlos Machado, Caroline De Moraes, Dan Poole

Back to Belém

For Benfica and Portugal legend Nuno Gomes, being able to take in the sights of the historic Belém district represents a return to the Lisbon he knows and loves

The most difficult part of quarantine was not being able to get to stadiums to watch football and the uncertainty about whether we would have the chance to see leagues finishing, such as the Champions League. I missed strolling around Lisbon, I missed its restaurants and their views over the city and I missed having a coffee with a pastel de nata.

I have always really liked the historic neighbourhoods such as Alfama, Chiado and Bairro Alto, and the entire riverside area from Praça do Comércio to Belém. I want to go to Castelo de São Jorge to lose myself in the stunning views over the city. I want to go to the Belém area next to the River Tejo for a walk with my family and visit the MAAT [Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, pictured top]. I love the area because it’s down by the river, the restaurants are good and there’s so much green space. Walking there is so peaceful. I want to see the Torre de Belém, Centro Cultural de Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery, enjoy the views over the 25 de Abril Bridge and see the joy of the people.

I was happy when I heard that the Champions League was back and that things are closer to returning to normal. And knowing that Lisbon will host the games is even better. Hosting the final will be another important moment for our country. The Estádio da Luz is a beautiful stadium, inside and out – imposing, modern and grand.

Deep Blue Sea

Napoli fan Alessio Costabile can see the Bay of Naples from his apartment in the city. Getting back to the sea is what he longed for most

I’ve missed our shores and seas. Here on the Sorrento Peninsula you can have a hard time deciding which point of the coastline you prefer. I particularly cherish the coast off Sant’Agnello, a small and peaceful spot near Sorrento. Every day I spend there is basically a mini-vacation; it’s the most relaxing place I know. There’s a great bakery in town too, called Forneria De Palmo.

It’s also where I often go to fish for sea urchins. I have to thank my uncle for that: I was ten years old when he used to take me swimming with him and, from time to time, he’d catch a sea urchin or two. He’d open them using a kitchen knife, then clean and share them with me, right there in the sea. The taste was amazing so I had to beg him to teach me.

It was on the same stretch of coastline that I had one of the most emotional moments in my life: I found and briefly followed what I think was a loggerhead sea turtle, otherwise known as a Caretta caretta. Living in dense urban areas, we tend to forget that such majestic creatures even exist. So when I saw a living turtle in my own backyard, it just felt unreal – it was like spotting a unicorn on the highway.

I simply cannot imagine my life without the direct and visceral contact that I have with the sea. It brings the best out of people; it teaches you to be careful, respectful and caring. It makes you understand that we are just one part of this planet and have a responsibility towards it.

Food for thought

French striker Olivier Giroud has got to know London well during his time at Arsenal and Chelsea. The city’s restaurants and museums top his list as lockdown eases

I’ve missed going to the museum with the kids because I enjoy getting my children to discover new things. I like the way they react when they are amazed. For example, in the Natural History Museum there are dinosaur skeletons. My daughter asks so many questions about the world around her. I love sharing it with her. There’s also the Science Museum and the British Museum [pictured]. I’d really recommend these visits to everybody: museums and family walks in the park. Battersea Park is a perfect place. [During lockdown] I really needed to get some fresh air. But even when I used to run in the park, it was strange.

I really enjoy good food; I consider myself an Epicurean. I particularly enjoy French food and I also enjoy Brazilian food. I’ve really missed restaurants and going out. My wife loves Rocca. I personally like Sumosan Twiga, which does Japanese food; it serves Italian dishes too, which I also like. Those restaurants aren’t so far from home. I want to try Joël Robuchon’s new place [Le Deli] on Piccadilly. I used to go to L’ Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden but they closed it. That’s why I’d like to try the new one, because French gastronomy is the best, for me.

Easy spinach pizza crust

Back to Belém

For Benfica and Portugal legend Nuno Gomes, being able to take in the sights of the historic Belém district represents a return to the Lisbon he knows and loves

The most difficult part of quarantine was not being able to get to stadiums to watch football and the uncertainty about whether we would have the chance to see leagues finishing, such as the Champions League. I missed strolling around Lisbon, I missed its restaurants and their views over the city and I missed having a coffee with a pastel de nata.

I have always really liked the historic neighbourhoods such as Alfama, Chiado and Bairro Alto, and the entire riverside area from Praça do Comércio to Belém. I want to go to Castelo de São Jorge to lose myself in the stunning views over the city. I want to go to the Belém area next to the River Tejo for a walk with my family and visit the MAAT [Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, pictured top]. I love the area because it’s down by the river, the restaurants are good and there’s so much green space. Walking there is so peaceful. I want to see the Torre de Belém, Centro Cultural de Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery, enjoy the views over the 25 de Abril Bridge and see the joy of the people.

I was happy when I heard that the Champions League was back and that things are closer to returning to normal. And knowing that Lisbon will host the games is even better. Hosting the final will be another important moment for our country. The Estádio da Luz is a beautiful stadium, inside and out – imposing, modern and grand.

Deep Blue Sea

Napoli fan Alessio Costabile can see the Bay of Naples from his apartment in the city. Getting back to the sea is what he longed for most

I’ve missed our shores and seas. Here on the Sorrento Peninsula you can have a hard time deciding which point of the coastline you prefer. I particularly cherish the coast off Sant’Agnello, a small and peaceful spot near Sorrento. Every day I spend there is basically a mini-vacation; it’s the most relaxing place I know. There’s a great bakery in town too, called Forneria De Palmo.

It’s also where I often go to fish for sea urchins. I have to thank my uncle for that: I was ten years old when he used to take me swimming with him and, from time to time, he’d catch a sea urchin or two. He’d open them using a kitchen knife, then clean and share them with me, right there in the sea. The taste was amazing so I had to beg him to teach me.

It was on the same stretch of coastline that I had one of the most emotional moments in my life: I found and briefly followed what I think was a loggerhead sea turtle, otherwise known as a Caretta caretta. Living in dense urban areas, we tend to forget that such majestic creatures even exist. So when I saw a living turtle in my own backyard, it just felt unreal – it was like spotting a unicorn on the highway.

I simply cannot imagine my life without the direct and visceral contact that I have with the sea. It brings the best out of people; it teaches you to be careful, respectful and caring. It makes you understand that we are just one part of this planet and have a responsibility towards it.

Food for thought

French striker Olivier Giroud has got to know London well during his time at Arsenal and Chelsea. The city’s restaurants and museums top his list as lockdown eases

I’ve missed going to the museum with the kids because I enjoy getting my children to discover new things. I like the way they react when they are amazed. For example, in the Natural History Museum there are dinosaur skeletons. My daughter asks so many questions about the world around her. I love sharing it with her. There’s also the Science Museum and the British Museum [pictured]. I’d really recommend these visits to everybody: museums and family walks in the park. Battersea Park is a perfect place. [During lockdown] I really needed to get some fresh air. But even when I used to run in the park, it was strange.

I really enjoy good food; I consider myself an Epicurean. I particularly enjoy French food and I also enjoy Brazilian food. I’ve really missed restaurants and going out. My wife loves Rocca. I personally like Sumosan Twiga, which does Japanese food; it serves Italian dishes too, which I also like. Those restaurants aren’t so far from home. I want to try Joël Robuchon’s new place [Le Deli] on Piccadilly. I used to go to L’ Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden but they closed it. That’s why I’d like to try the new one, because French gastronomy is the best, for me.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Call of the wild

For Women’s Champions League winner Vero Boquete, freedom meant the chance to go hiking again in the mountains near Salt Lake City, where she plays for the Utah Royals

Hiking is one of the things I enjoy most away from football. I love nature – just being outside. It was one of the things I was really looking forward to doing again. Lockdown in Salt Lake City wasn’t that bad, especially when I compare it to Spain where my family and friends in Santiago weren’t able to get out for almost two months. Here we had a stay-home alert; many places were closed and you weren’t able to do much, but it was never the case that you couldn’t go out. That said, the club has its own restrictions and protocols, so maybe for normal people in Salt Lake it wasn’t that bad but for us, for about six weeks, it was really restrictive.

I have hiked in the beautiful Zion National Park [pictured] and I also live close to the mountains – I’m 15 minutes away from Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. When you get there it’s like being in another world. I hike up to a big lake and the mountains are all around. You just hear natural noise and that’s one of the things I missed the most. No cars, no TV, no neighbours talking – nothing at all. Just birds, just the water, just wind. I really, really enjoy it. Always have. In Spain, when I’m at home for a short time, I go the beach or for a walk. I hike way more here.

It is a really special place. The air is so, so, so clear and the sunsets these days have been gorgeous. The air here is always really pure and clean, but if you think about all over the world, one of the things that we can thank – if we can say that –the virus for is that pollution levels have gone down. This shows us a better way of doing things.

 

Green Grass, Hope Street and Anfield

Ian Broudie, Lightning Seeds singer and Three Lions composer, missed the great outdoors in his home city while locked down in London

I love the parks in Liverpool. People who aren’t from Liverpool have a strange impression of the city but I grew up in south Liverpool near Menlove Avenue and it’s all greenery, with so many parks and beautiful avenues – Calderstones Park, Sefton Park, Princes Park. It’ll be nice to go back, have a cup of coffee and hang out with people around there.

A lot of the time I’m in Liverpool I actually tend to be in studios or rehearsing, and I catch up with people I’ve not seen for ages, bumping into other bands at Parr Street Studios. For a break I like to go to Bold Street to a place called Bold Street Coffee; they do a really nice scrambled egg and cheese bun, and fantastic coffee too. There’s also a café called Ryde, in the Baltic Triangle, where the old Cains Brewery was – I like that area with the antique shops that have sprung up. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms [pictured] on Hope Street is another place. Everyone goes on about the marble toilets but that pub is a survivor and it’s a special street, with a cathedral at either end and the Philharmonic Hall across the road.

One of the disappointments of the lockdown is that we were at the start of our first tour for nine years. We were due to play one of the big stages at Glastonbury this summer and at the Isle of Wight festival too. It was an anniversary year for Glastonbury – 50 years – and it would have been the EURO as well, so that was particularly disappointing. At least, though, we got to play at the Philharmonic last November. I had a really special night there a few years ago when we performed with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and a lot of people I’ve produced got up and sang: Ian McCulloch, James Skelly, Miles Kane and Terry Hall. Doing that on Hope Street was really lovely. Funnily enough, I used to live on Hope Street – it was rougher then, a bit of a red-light district.

Finally, as a Liverpool supporter I’ve obviously missed going to Anfield too. The last time was for the Atlético Madrid game. We’ve had season tickets in the family since the 1960s and now my brother, me and my son Riley go. I very much miss the whole ritual of that.  

Back to Belém

For Benfica and Portugal legend Nuno Gomes, being able to take in the sights of the historic Belém district represents a return to the Lisbon he knows and loves

The most difficult part of quarantine was not being able to get to stadiums to watch football and the uncertainty about whether we would have the chance to see leagues finishing, such as the Champions League. I missed strolling around Lisbon, I missed its restaurants and their views over the city and I missed having a coffee with a pastel de nata.

I have always really liked the historic neighbourhoods such as Alfama, Chiado and Bairro Alto, and the entire riverside area from Praça do Comércio to Belém. I want to go to Castelo de São Jorge to lose myself in the stunning views over the city. I want to go to the Belém area next to the River Tejo for a walk with my family and visit the MAAT [Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, pictured top]. I love the area because it’s down by the river, the restaurants are good and there’s so much green space. Walking there is so peaceful. I want to see the Torre de Belém, Centro Cultural de Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery, enjoy the views over the 25 de Abril Bridge and see the joy of the people.

I was happy when I heard that the Champions League was back and that things are closer to returning to normal. And knowing that Lisbon will host the games is even better. Hosting the final will be another important moment for our country. The Estádio da Luz is a beautiful stadium, inside and out – imposing, modern and grand.

Deep Blue Sea

Napoli fan Alessio Costabile can see the Bay of Naples from his apartment in the city. Getting back to the sea is what he longed for most

I’ve missed our shores and seas. Here on the Sorrento Peninsula you can have a hard time deciding which point of the coastline you prefer. I particularly cherish the coast off Sant’Agnello, a small and peaceful spot near Sorrento. Every day I spend there is basically a mini-vacation; it’s the most relaxing place I know. There’s a great bakery in town too, called Forneria De Palmo.

It’s also where I often go to fish for sea urchins. I have to thank my uncle for that: I was ten years old when he used to take me swimming with him and, from time to time, he’d catch a sea urchin or two. He’d open them using a kitchen knife, then clean and share them with me, right there in the sea. The taste was amazing so I had to beg him to teach me.

It was on the same stretch of coastline that I had one of the most emotional moments in my life: I found and briefly followed what I think was a loggerhead sea turtle, otherwise known as a Caretta caretta. Living in dense urban areas, we tend to forget that such majestic creatures even exist. So when I saw a living turtle in my own backyard, it just felt unreal – it was like spotting a unicorn on the highway.

I simply cannot imagine my life without the direct and visceral contact that I have with the sea. It brings the best out of people; it teaches you to be careful, respectful and caring. It makes you understand that we are just one part of this planet and have a responsibility towards it.

Food for thought

French striker Olivier Giroud has got to know London well during his time at Arsenal and Chelsea. The city’s restaurants and museums top his list as lockdown eases

I’ve missed going to the museum with the kids because I enjoy getting my children to discover new things. I like the way they react when they are amazed. For example, in the Natural History Museum there are dinosaur skeletons. My daughter asks so many questions about the world around her. I love sharing it with her. There’s also the Science Museum and the British Museum [pictured]. I’d really recommend these visits to everybody: museums and family walks in the park. Battersea Park is a perfect place. [During lockdown] I really needed to get some fresh air. But even when I used to run in the park, it was strange.

I really enjoy good food; I consider myself an Epicurean. I particularly enjoy French food and I also enjoy Brazilian food. I’ve really missed restaurants and going out. My wife loves Rocca. I personally like Sumosan Twiga, which does Japanese food; it serves Italian dishes too, which I also like. Those restaurants aren’t so far from home. I want to try Joël Robuchon’s new place [Le Deli] on Piccadilly. I used to go to L’ Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden but they closed it. That’s why I’d like to try the new one, because French gastronomy is the best, for me.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Cities

My Favourite Place

With restrictions on travel, experiencing our own cities again with fresh eyes is the next best thing. Here we ask a singer, two players, a fan and a Benfica legend what they missed most in their home towns

INTERVIEW Simon Hart, Michael Harrold, Carlos Machado, Caroline De Moraes, Dan Poole

Back to Belém

For Benfica and Portugal legend Nuno Gomes, being able to take in the sights of the historic Belém district represents a return to the Lisbon he knows and loves

The most difficult part of quarantine was not being able to get to stadiums to watch football and the uncertainty about whether we would have the chance to see leagues finishing, such as the Champions League. I missed strolling around Lisbon, I missed its restaurants and their views over the city and I missed having a coffee with a pastel de nata.

I have always really liked the historic neighbourhoods such as Alfama, Chiado and Bairro Alto, and the entire riverside area from Praça do Comércio to Belém. I want to go to Castelo de São Jorge to lose myself in the stunning views over the city. I want to go to the Belém area next to the River Tejo for a walk with my family and visit the MAAT [Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, pictured top]. I love the area because it’s down by the river, the restaurants are good and there’s so much green space. Walking there is so peaceful. I want to see the Torre de Belém, Centro Cultural de Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery, enjoy the views over the 25 de Abril Bridge and see the joy of the people.

I was happy when I heard that the Champions League was back and that things are closer to returning to normal. And knowing that Lisbon will host the games is even better. Hosting the final will be another important moment for our country. The Estádio da Luz is a beautiful stadium, inside and out – imposing, modern and grand.

Deep Blue Sea

Napoli fan Alessio Costabile can see the Bay of Naples from his apartment in the city. Getting back to the sea is what he longed for most

I’ve missed our shores and seas. Here on the Sorrento Peninsula you can have a hard time deciding which point of the coastline you prefer. I particularly cherish the coast off Sant’Agnello, a small and peaceful spot near Sorrento. Every day I spend there is basically a mini-vacation; it’s the most relaxing place I know. There’s a great bakery in town too, called Forneria De Palmo.

It’s also where I often go to fish for sea urchins. I have to thank my uncle for that: I was ten years old when he used to take me swimming with him and, from time to time, he’d catch a sea urchin or two. He’d open them using a kitchen knife, then clean and share them with me, right there in the sea. The taste was amazing so I had to beg him to teach me.

It was on the same stretch of coastline that I had one of the most emotional moments in my life: I found and briefly followed what I think was a loggerhead sea turtle, otherwise known as a Caretta caretta. Living in dense urban areas, we tend to forget that such majestic creatures even exist. So when I saw a living turtle in my own backyard, it just felt unreal – it was like spotting a unicorn on the highway.

I simply cannot imagine my life without the direct and visceral contact that I have with the sea. It brings the best out of people; it teaches you to be careful, respectful and caring. It makes you understand that we are just one part of this planet and have a responsibility towards it.

Food for thought

French striker Olivier Giroud has got to know London well during his time at Arsenal and Chelsea. The city’s restaurants and museums top his list as lockdown eases

I’ve missed going to the museum with the kids because I enjoy getting my children to discover new things. I like the way they react when they are amazed. For example, in the Natural History Museum there are dinosaur skeletons. My daughter asks so many questions about the world around her. I love sharing it with her. There’s also the Science Museum and the British Museum [pictured]. I’d really recommend these visits to everybody: museums and family walks in the park. Battersea Park is a perfect place. [During lockdown] I really needed to get some fresh air. But even when I used to run in the park, it was strange.

I really enjoy good food; I consider myself an Epicurean. I particularly enjoy French food and I also enjoy Brazilian food. I’ve really missed restaurants and going out. My wife loves Rocca. I personally like Sumosan Twiga, which does Japanese food; it serves Italian dishes too, which I also like. Those restaurants aren’t so far from home. I want to try Joël Robuchon’s new place [Le Deli] on Piccadilly. I used to go to L’ Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden but they closed it. That’s why I’d like to try the new one, because French gastronomy is the best, for me.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Back to Belém

For Benfica and Portugal legend Nuno Gomes, being able to take in the sights of the historic Belém district represents a return to the Lisbon he knows and loves

The most difficult part of quarantine was not being able to get to stadiums to watch football and the uncertainty about whether we would have the chance to see leagues finishing, such as the Champions League. I missed strolling around Lisbon, I missed its restaurants and their views over the city and I missed having a coffee with a pastel de nata.

I have always really liked the historic neighbourhoods such as Alfama, Chiado and Bairro Alto, and the entire riverside area from Praça do Comércio to Belém. I want to go to Castelo de São Jorge to lose myself in the stunning views over the city. I want to go to the Belém area next to the River Tejo for a walk with my family and visit the MAAT [Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, pictured top]. I love the area because it’s down by the river, the restaurants are good and there’s so much green space. Walking there is so peaceful. I want to see the Torre de Belém, Centro Cultural de Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery, enjoy the views over the 25 de Abril Bridge and see the joy of the people.

I was happy when I heard that the Champions League was back and that things are closer to returning to normal. And knowing that Lisbon will host the games is even better. Hosting the final will be another important moment for our country. The Estádio da Luz is a beautiful stadium, inside and out – imposing, modern and grand.

Deep Blue Sea

Napoli fan Alessio Costabile can see the Bay of Naples from his apartment in the city. Getting back to the sea is what he longed for most

I’ve missed our shores and seas. Here on the Sorrento Peninsula you can have a hard time deciding which point of the coastline you prefer. I particularly cherish the coast off Sant’Agnello, a small and peaceful spot near Sorrento. Every day I spend there is basically a mini-vacation; it’s the most relaxing place I know. There’s a great bakery in town too, called Forneria De Palmo.

It’s also where I often go to fish for sea urchins. I have to thank my uncle for that: I was ten years old when he used to take me swimming with him and, from time to time, he’d catch a sea urchin or two. He’d open them using a kitchen knife, then clean and share them with me, right there in the sea. The taste was amazing so I had to beg him to teach me.

It was on the same stretch of coastline that I had one of the most emotional moments in my life: I found and briefly followed what I think was a loggerhead sea turtle, otherwise known as a Caretta caretta. Living in dense urban areas, we tend to forget that such majestic creatures even exist. So when I saw a living turtle in my own backyard, it just felt unreal – it was like spotting a unicorn on the highway.

I simply cannot imagine my life without the direct and visceral contact that I have with the sea. It brings the best out of people; it teaches you to be careful, respectful and caring. It makes you understand that we are just one part of this planet and have a responsibility towards it.

Food for thought

French striker Olivier Giroud has got to know London well during his time at Arsenal and Chelsea. The city’s restaurants and museums top his list as lockdown eases

I’ve missed going to the museum with the kids because I enjoy getting my children to discover new things. I like the way they react when they are amazed. For example, in the Natural History Museum there are dinosaur skeletons. My daughter asks so many questions about the world around her. I love sharing it with her. There’s also the Science Museum and the British Museum [pictured]. I’d really recommend these visits to everybody: museums and family walks in the park. Battersea Park is a perfect place. [During lockdown] I really needed to get some fresh air. But even when I used to run in the park, it was strange.

I really enjoy good food; I consider myself an Epicurean. I particularly enjoy French food and I also enjoy Brazilian food. I’ve really missed restaurants and going out. My wife loves Rocca. I personally like Sumosan Twiga, which does Japanese food; it serves Italian dishes too, which I also like. Those restaurants aren’t so far from home. I want to try Joël Robuchon’s new place [Le Deli] on Piccadilly. I used to go to L’ Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden but they closed it. That’s why I’d like to try the new one, because French gastronomy is the best, for me.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Call of the wild

For Women’s Champions League winner Vero Boquete, freedom meant the chance to go hiking again in the mountains near Salt Lake City, where she plays for the Utah Royals

Hiking is one of the things I enjoy most away from football. I love nature – just being outside. It was one of the things I was really looking forward to doing again. Lockdown in Salt Lake City wasn’t that bad, especially when I compare it to Spain where my family and friends in Santiago weren’t able to get out for almost two months. Here we had a stay-home alert; many places were closed and you weren’t able to do much, but it was never the case that you couldn’t go out. That said, the club has its own restrictions and protocols, so maybe for normal people in Salt Lake it wasn’t that bad but for us, for about six weeks, it was really restrictive.

I have hiked in the beautiful Zion National Park [pictured] and I also live close to the mountains – I’m 15 minutes away from Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. When you get there it’s like being in another world. I hike up to a big lake and the mountains are all around. You just hear natural noise and that’s one of the things I missed the most. No cars, no TV, no neighbours talking – nothing at all. Just birds, just the water, just wind. I really, really enjoy it. Always have. In Spain, when I’m at home for a short time, I go the beach or for a walk. I hike way more here.

It is a really special place. The air is so, so, so clear and the sunsets these days have been gorgeous. The air here is always really pure and clean, but if you think about all over the world, one of the things that we can thank – if we can say that –the virus for is that pollution levels have gone down. This shows us a better way of doing things.

 

Green Grass, Hope Street and Anfield

Ian Broudie, Lightning Seeds singer and Three Lions composer, missed the great outdoors in his home city while locked down in London

I love the parks in Liverpool. People who aren’t from Liverpool have a strange impression of the city but I grew up in south Liverpool near Menlove Avenue and it’s all greenery, with so many parks and beautiful avenues – Calderstones Park, Sefton Park, Princes Park. It’ll be nice to go back, have a cup of coffee and hang out with people around there.

A lot of the time I’m in Liverpool I actually tend to be in studios or rehearsing, and I catch up with people I’ve not seen for ages, bumping into other bands at Parr Street Studios. For a break I like to go to Bold Street to a place called Bold Street Coffee; they do a really nice scrambled egg and cheese bun, and fantastic coffee too. There’s also a café called Ryde, in the Baltic Triangle, where the old Cains Brewery was – I like that area with the antique shops that have sprung up. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms [pictured] on Hope Street is another place. Everyone goes on about the marble toilets but that pub is a survivor and it’s a special street, with a cathedral at either end and the Philharmonic Hall across the road.

One of the disappointments of the lockdown is that we were at the start of our first tour for nine years. We were due to play one of the big stages at Glastonbury this summer and at the Isle of Wight festival too. It was an anniversary year for Glastonbury – 50 years – and it would have been the EURO as well, so that was particularly disappointing. At least, though, we got to play at the Philharmonic last November. I had a really special night there a few years ago when we performed with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and a lot of people I’ve produced got up and sang: Ian McCulloch, James Skelly, Miles Kane and Terry Hall. Doing that on Hope Street was really lovely. Funnily enough, I used to live on Hope Street – it was rougher then, a bit of a red-light district.

Finally, as a Liverpool supporter I’ve obviously missed going to Anfield too. The last time was for the Atlético Madrid game. We’ve had season tickets in the family since the 1960s and now my brother, me and my son Riley go. I very much miss the whole ritual of that.  

Back to Belém

For Benfica and Portugal legend Nuno Gomes, being able to take in the sights of the historic Belém district represents a return to the Lisbon he knows and loves

The most difficult part of quarantine was not being able to get to stadiums to watch football and the uncertainty about whether we would have the chance to see leagues finishing, such as the Champions League. I missed strolling around Lisbon, I missed its restaurants and their views over the city and I missed having a coffee with a pastel de nata.

I have always really liked the historic neighbourhoods such as Alfama, Chiado and Bairro Alto, and the entire riverside area from Praça do Comércio to Belém. I want to go to Castelo de São Jorge to lose myself in the stunning views over the city. I want to go to the Belém area next to the River Tejo for a walk with my family and visit the MAAT [Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, pictured top]. I love the area because it’s down by the river, the restaurants are good and there’s so much green space. Walking there is so peaceful. I want to see the Torre de Belém, Centro Cultural de Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery, enjoy the views over the 25 de Abril Bridge and see the joy of the people.

I was happy when I heard that the Champions League was back and that things are closer to returning to normal. And knowing that Lisbon will host the games is even better. Hosting the final will be another important moment for our country. The Estádio da Luz is a beautiful stadium, inside and out – imposing, modern and grand.

Deep Blue Sea

Napoli fan Alessio Costabile can see the Bay of Naples from his apartment in the city. Getting back to the sea is what he longed for most

I’ve missed our shores and seas. Here on the Sorrento Peninsula you can have a hard time deciding which point of the coastline you prefer. I particularly cherish the coast off Sant’Agnello, a small and peaceful spot near Sorrento. Every day I spend there is basically a mini-vacation; it’s the most relaxing place I know. There’s a great bakery in town too, called Forneria De Palmo.

It’s also where I often go to fish for sea urchins. I have to thank my uncle for that: I was ten years old when he used to take me swimming with him and, from time to time, he’d catch a sea urchin or two. He’d open them using a kitchen knife, then clean and share them with me, right there in the sea. The taste was amazing so I had to beg him to teach me.

It was on the same stretch of coastline that I had one of the most emotional moments in my life: I found and briefly followed what I think was a loggerhead sea turtle, otherwise known as a Caretta caretta. Living in dense urban areas, we tend to forget that such majestic creatures even exist. So when I saw a living turtle in my own backyard, it just felt unreal – it was like spotting a unicorn on the highway.

I simply cannot imagine my life without the direct and visceral contact that I have with the sea. It brings the best out of people; it teaches you to be careful, respectful and caring. It makes you understand that we are just one part of this planet and have a responsibility towards it.

Food for thought

French striker Olivier Giroud has got to know London well during his time at Arsenal and Chelsea. The city’s restaurants and museums top his list as lockdown eases

I’ve missed going to the museum with the kids because I enjoy getting my children to discover new things. I like the way they react when they are amazed. For example, in the Natural History Museum there are dinosaur skeletons. My daughter asks so many questions about the world around her. I love sharing it with her. There’s also the Science Museum and the British Museum [pictured]. I’d really recommend these visits to everybody: museums and family walks in the park. Battersea Park is a perfect place. [During lockdown] I really needed to get some fresh air. But even when I used to run in the park, it was strange.

I really enjoy good food; I consider myself an Epicurean. I particularly enjoy French food and I also enjoy Brazilian food. I’ve really missed restaurants and going out. My wife loves Rocca. I personally like Sumosan Twiga, which does Japanese food; it serves Italian dishes too, which I also like. Those restaurants aren’t so far from home. I want to try Joël Robuchon’s new place [Le Deli] on Piccadilly. I used to go to L’ Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Covent Garden but they closed it. That’s why I’d like to try the new one, because French gastronomy is the best, for me.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

To access this article, as well as all CJ+ content and competitions, you will need a subscription to Champions Journal.
Already a subscriber? Sign in
close
Special Offers
christmas offer
Christmas CHEER
Up to 40% off
Start shopping