The World Cup is coming up fast, which means approximately 89% of Europe’s children (and 78% of adults) are busy collecting and trading Panini stickers to complete their Official Panini World Cup albums.
I got hooked during the 2006 World Cup, when I lived in Berlin. With a mix of dogged determination, slight insanity and keen bartering sensibility, I managed to complete my album a couple days before the final between France & Italy. The sense of satisfaction and glee one feels while placing the last sticker is indescribable.
On Sunday mornings, in an alley off San Vicente Mártir near the Iglesia de San Martín, there is a mini-market for trading card fans. I found that the hectic, disorganized and generous way the Spanish trade is quite unlike the coldly equitable method employed in Germany. After 20 minutes, I left with a huge stack of new cards, having gotten rid of nearly all my doubles. Jürgen was waiting for me at a nearby café, and I ran over ecstatically to show him my new acquisitions. My wild-eyed enthusiasm was answered with a bewildered look, bordering on disgust. But I did not care.
Even if you’re not into trading stickers, the bustle and excitement of the impromptu Sunday morning markets is an interesting slice of Valencian life. And if you are… send me a note! Maybe we can make a deal.