The alarm cut through the silence but not into my dreams and my wife had to shake me from my slumber. “Your alarm!” she repeated firmly but sleepily. I had barely registered its shrill tone. Surely it couldn’t be time to get up?

I flicked it to off, suddenly standing, swaying slightly as my brain struggled to compute the reality that I was both awake and ready to move. The clock showed 2.20am. It was time to throw on some clothes and head to the airport for the Euros.

Scenes like this have been and will be repeated all across Scotland this week. Some estimates have suggested as many as 250,000 football fans will make the trip to Bavaria for the opening game, with many taking the road less travelled. Like us, they are heading out on a long and winding journey in an attempt to circumvent the ridiculous price hikes suddenly levied by airlines when dates of Scotland’s involvement in Euro 2024 were confirmed.

But why so early? Well, Edinburgh airport can be a nightmare at the best of times so no chances would be taken with our 6.45am flight to Verona in Northern Italy. It was something I should have told our happy go lucky but kamikaze taxi driver as he screamed down the M8 to Turnhouse, desperate to get us to the party without a hitch.

Even before we arrived, it was obvious something was afoot. Glancing towards the next car at traffic lights, a tartan scarf fluttered out of the window.

Once in the terminal, it was obvious that Euros fever had begun in earnest. Everywhere you looked were people in Scotland tops, with many of the designs reminders of campaigns long gone.

Groups of (mostly) guys were huddled together in every pocket of space, bantering and sinking morning pints.

READ MORE: How Scotland won German hearts and minds before Euro 2024 kicked off

An absurdly over-priced bacon roll and filter coffee later and we were off to Italy on a Jet2 flight.

Most of those on board were heading to sample the delights of nearby tourist mecca Lake Garda but a few were packing sporrans, Scotland tops and an attitude of Christmas Day excitement that marked them out as on the same long path as us.

Once arrived, with three hours before our train departed, we had time to kill. This turned out to be a joy as we cut around the stunning Italian city doing a whistle stop tour of the key sites. Romeo and Juliet balcony? Done. Gelato? Yup. A Roman amphitheatre built in first century AD. Aye.

Knackered from the now burning mid-afternoon sun, or maybe it was the lunchtime spritz, we head for a train which travels from Italy to Munich with limited stops. It was slow going but a sudden drama made us wonder if we were going to make Munich at all. As we enter a tunnel in the Italian Alps there’s suddenly a very noticeable smell of acrid smoke in the air.

As people start to mention it to each other, the air began to thicken and become hazy as smoke filled the cabin. The American tourist next to me handily pointed out “If this goes south, we’re in a tunnel deep in the Alps and can’t get out.” Thanks for highlighting that pal. 

Just as things started to get a little tense (your brave correspondent had already packed away his laptop in anticipation of a smashed window departure), a very breezy attendant entered to announce that the issue is not with our train but another in the tunnel. “So we’re fine but another train is on fire back there?” someone asked. “No, no, no. It was just the brakes.” She said with a steadying composure.

Drama aside, the scenery is predictably stunning as we cut a swathe through Alpine Italy, Austria and finally Germany. The landscapes change as frequently as the weather, and the only constant on the five hour trek is the stream of Scots heading through to the buffet car for cans of the local Gosser beer (tasty!) and wee bottles of wine.

READ MORE: Tartan Army take over Glasgow Airport ahead of Euro 2024

Disembarking at our destination in one piece, we head to our city centre hotel and see more and more Scots on their Euros odyssey. Are there any Germans in this city? And yet, the journeys have just begun and the takeover is not yet complete. Many more will take their meandering trail to the Munich promised land. They will come in their thousands with the hope that history can be made, even if the expectation is less lofty.

By Wednesday’s measure, Friday can only be truly remarkable.