It felt as though every single nook and cranny of England went crazy on Tuesday night, after the team nailed a penalty shoot-out win against Colombia in the World Cup 2018 knockout stages.
We don’t yet know who’ll be World Cup 2018 champions. But I think one of the best things about the tournament is that it gives us a little glimpse into other cultures.
That might be the amazing chivalry of the Japanese fans cleaning the stadium after their matches or the insane beauty of every player on the Icelandic team. Even Gareth Southgate’s never-ending supply of lovely waistcoats – the World Cup has all of that.
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One thing generally not covered on the pitch though, is the number of awesome holiday destinations represented by World Cup teams.
I mean, it’s easy to forget when England are about to get knocked out.
But, when the final whistle has blown and we have time to reflect, remember – the World Cup shoves so many amazing countries together, into the spotlight. And it’s a great opportunity to take a look at why you might want to arrange an even deeper glimpse into their cultures.
Here are some of my favourite things to do on adventures inspired by the World Cup 2018…
Hoon it around the Colombian coast in a private speedboat
England might’ve just beaten Colombia but you’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere in Blighty that comes close to the stunning beauty of the Rosario Islands.
Just 100km from Cartagena, these 27 islands boast some of the best Caribbean beaches and what better way to enjoy them than ripping around them in a speedboat, kayak or even a jetski?
Football may be coming home for England, but Colombia get to go home to this. No contest.
See the majestic beauty of an Icelandic glacier from the back of a snowmobile
I know everyone saw the Icelandic football team as the plucky underdogs, making up the numbers. But they’ll be going home feeling like champions after managing to hold Argentina to a draw in their opening match.
Whilst Iceland may not have any Golden Balls coming out of the World Cup 2018, they do have some Golden Falls (I’m so sorry). And there’s no better way to follow up a trip to the Gullfoss waterfall than jump on the back of a snowmobile and speed along a glacier.
Challenge your inner hiker in Argentina
The Argentinian team are heading home from the World Cup 2018 with a lot to think about – but, luckily for them, they’ve got some pretty unbeatable scenery to stare off into.
Trek over to Patagonia for some insanely lush forests and rivers that will give way to a view over Mount Torre. I’ve used ‘lush’ in the Welsh way there because, if you’re lucky enough, you might also hear a bit of the world’s most beautiful language (I’m Welsh, obviously) being spoken.
There have been Welsh speakers in Patagonia since 1865. Ardderchog.
Eat a sumo-sized lunch in Japan
Japan have been one of the standout teams in the World Cup 2018 because of the way they represented their country on and off the field.
They have a rich history of chivalry and honour and there’s no better way to experience this than by tucking into a meal next to a sumo wrestler. You’ll learn all about the strange lives of these respected warriors over an impressive Chanko Nabe Hot Pot – which features just about every ingredient in Japan. It’s a beast!
Go on a Croatian kayak safari
Croatia have been one of the giants in the World Cup 2018, unbeaten heading into their quarter-final match against Russia.
In recent years, we’ve seen loads of Game of Thrones fans flock to the country to see backdrops of some of their favourite scenes. But there are even more impressive views to be had.
Jump in a kayak and head down the Mrežnica river, challenging yourself over eight-metre waterfalls down this free-flowing beauty spot. You’ll see what I mean.
Hop aboard for a cycle in the gin capital of the world
England are still in the World Cup 2018 as I’m writing this and, with all these amazing experiences on offer around the globe, it’s easy to forget what’s right on our doorstep.
The whole country now seems to love Harry Kane almost as much as it does gin. And you can sample the best London has to offer on the back of a retro cycle* around London.
There are loads of secret gin distilleries around London that’ll teach you all about the nation’s favourite booze, whilst partaking in just about enough of it to keep your two-wheeler straight. It’s aptly named a ‘gin cycle safari’.
*Not actually off the back of a bike. Come on, that would be reckless.