go to content go to search box go to global site navigation

Lonely Planet blog

Behind the scenes • Community

#LPCelebrazil: the first seven days

By Emma Sparks   19 June 2014 9:07am Europe/London

It’s been a week of unwavering patriotism, organised chaos and intermittent 90-minute periods that cause the world to stop. The FIFA 2014 World Cup is officially in full swing.

#LPCelebrazil, Rio

Christ the Redeemer, Brazil. Image by Mike Vondran / CC BY 2.0

The latest from Brazil

Our on-the-ground author Kevin Raub has been capturing snippets of the action in Brazil – even attending a few matches himself. Here’s what he has to say about the first week of World Cup madness:

‘We’re a week into the World Cup and so far things have gone pretty darn well, I’d say. There has been some questionable refereeing, a few dramatic tests of the new goal line technology, some stunning results – Spain and Portugal still don’t know what hit ’em – and nail-biting wins (USA! USA!). So, in terms of how well Brazil is performing as a host, I’d say predictions of impending disaster were more than a little exaggerated.

Transportation to and from the games – at least for those I’ve attended in Belo Horizonte and Natal – has been seamless, as has entering the stadiums. The one dark spot has been pickpocketing – trust me, I know all too well. So heed a very serious word of warning: guard your tickets with your life, never put them in your front or back pockets, and never take your eye off them or those around you. That especially goes for the lines to enter the stadiums, where fenced-in corridors are used to thin crowds before the metal detectors. If you are robbed, make sure you have a photo of your tickets or otherwise know your specific seats – military police can send officers to the seats to confront/remove the perpetrators.

As for atmosphere, it’s been a wild, electric, multi-cultural ride. In Belo Horizonte, Colombians took over the city, painting it yellow with their rousing enthusiasm, only bolstered by a dramatic dismantling of Greece. Needless to say, they were looking a little hungover on our flight out the next morning! In Natal, it’s only fitting that the city is under American occupation at the moment – during World War II, an American naval base operated here, so the city is steeped in American history. Arena das Dunas, my favorite of Brazil’s new stadiums, was gorgeous in its spaceship-like design, nearly lifting off during the USA-Ghana match on Monday night, when the World Cup’s best last-minute heroics (so far!) lifted the Americans to victory.’

Top moments from Kevin’s journey so far

Don’t forget to share your celebrations with Lonely Planet using #LPCelebrazil. See the best from our community at lonelyplanet.com/world-cup/community.

Follow @RaubOntheRoad (Twitter), @kevinraub (Instagram) and Kevin Raub (Vine) for live updates from bars, Fan Fests, stadiums, tailgates and street parties throughout the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Follow and post #lpcelebrazil to be a part of the celebration.

Kevin‘s journey has been curated by Emma Sparks.