Bucharest bustling ahead of Europa League final

The normally quiet Henri Coanda International Airport on the

outskirts of Bucharest was enjoying its busiest day ever on


Sixty-five planes full of football fans from Spain were arriving

for the all-Spanish Europa League final between Athletic Bilbao and

Atletico Madrid.

Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe was expected to touch down in

Bucharest just ahead of the night game.

Game organizers were expecting 30,000 fans from Spain to attend

the match in the 55,000-seat National Arena, where Atletico will go

after its second Europa League title in three years, and Bilbao its


Schools were closed in the city of 3 million, and Antena 3 TV

reported that hotel rooms were going for up to 20 times their usual

price, with some suites as high as ?4,000 ($5,200) a night.

Some 2,000 fans gathered in the Old Center tourist district of

Bucharest, sampling traditional spicy meatballs and beers, and set

off firecrackers. There were dozens of police officer in the area,

but no reports of injuries or people fined.

Extra Spanish-speaking police officers were drafted into

Bucharest for the day. The match will also be viewed on a giant

screen in downtown Bucharest, near the spot from where former

Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena fled the

city during the 1989 anti-communist uprising, before their