Friday, June 30, 2006

Catching Up - The Show

I am spending a little bit of my day catching up on some sites that I did not visit while in Germany. First and foremost is The Show, which I have tried to turn you onto multiple times. Has it worked yet? Anyway, I have made it to 6/21 (I still have a decent number to watch) but I needed to pause and refer it to you, especially if you have ever had a travel day like me or like me.

If you have...then you should go watch this. It is a great little clip on a correspondence with Delta.

World Cup Quarterfinals Warm-Up

Warm up for the Quarters - get a nice quick primer here. The pairings today and tomorrow are some all time classics and the games should not disappoint.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A 24 Hour Travel Day

...just ended. It's kind of nice to be home. The Quarterfinals start tomorrow. I will have to wake up for that.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Heading Home

We are headed home tomorrow. It will be weird to watch the rest of the cup from the States. It's been an awesome trip. Thanks for reading during the journey. Talk to you soon.

World Cup in Cologne

Cologne has the largest Brazilian population in the country...thus making it a great place to catch the Brazil vs. Ghana match the other night. Personally, I believe Ghana could have won. They just needed to find the old onion bag. Brazil on the other hand, scored 1/3rd of their shots. Pretty good percentage for the knock out stage.

A rather loud Brazilian fan who would probably disagree with my anlaysis that I thought Ghana was quite possibly the better team of the evening...despite the score line:

Cologne also has one of the most magnificent cathedrals you will ever see. It is impossible to describe or photograph it and do it any justice. It is simply awe inspiring.

As much as some might consider this worthy of a chapel ceiling, this piece of art was on the ceiling of the train station. The commerical of Jose +10 has been one of the best of the cup. This is only a small piece of a gigantic mural which included most of the world's most famous players.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Frankfurt Football Fever

Frankfurt draws comparisons to NY - check out the skyscraper:

Everyone in Frankfurt has football fever. Even Goethe.

It would be hard not to get caught up in it if you had this down the road from you. Fan Fest was awesome.

These Italians certainly thought so. Did you see that game? Australia totally deserved to win - I say this based on their 2nd half performance. The first half definitely had some Italian moments. The city here was insane after the game. The celebrations lasted for hours...and the game wasn't even here.
We are ending our two day spell in Frankfurt tonight. Headed to Cologne and then home over the next two days or so.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Round of 16 Begins

It must be impossible to escape the World Cup in Germany (not that we want to) - we are here:

It looks like this from our balcony:

...and we ended up watching the Swedes fall to the Germans with a Swedish family and a German family. This was followed by an amazing game with Argentina and Mexico (I saw at least one Argentinian fan in the bar with us). If you have yet to watch the Argentinians play, don't miss their next match - they are paired with Germany. You will have to put up with seeing clips of a fat, hair helmeted, excessive looking character who used to be a great soccer player (Maradona), but the game on the pitch is worth the pain. Go find a clip of the second Argentinian goal tonight, it will be one of the best of the Cup. If someone finds a link, feel free to post it to the comments.

At some point, we made time to have lunch...

...and stopped to smell the flowers.

Tomorrow, our day of rest is over and we head to the fan zone in Frankfurt - I hear the giant flat screen is in the middle of the river there. Should be exciting.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Nuremburg Fan Zone

US Knocked Out of World Cup

Obviously this is old news - I'll just post some pictures. When I find more time I may add to the insightful comments of WUD. We are headed to the alps today to drown our sorrows in scenery and beer.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

World Cup Lettuce

The O’Brien Family Reunion

This is crazy and I am surprised it took me this long to note. On our walk up the hill to the stadium in Kaiserslautern, we ended up walking behind a group of people all wearing the John O’Brien jersey. I had to ask…and it turns out, it was John’s brother, uncle, mom, dad, and a bunch of other O’Brien’s on the way to see the game! And to top it all off, Carlee’s Mom’s maiden name is O’Brien as well. It was an O'Brien family reunion in Germany.

John didn't play that day. We are thinking he starts against Ghana today. Huge game.

The Road to Nuremburg

We took the train to Nuremburg yesterday – pretty easy ride for me, but not for the guy across the way. About 30 minutes into the ride, I am already asleep and dreaming of soccer. I scored a goal in my dream, of course, and at the same time managed to volley the guy’s shin who was sitting across from me. Luckily he was from America so when I said:

“Sorry, I was dreaming of soccer”

…he forgave me.

Prior to Nuremburg, we spent some time at Dachau, a sobering and emotional experience. We were really glad that took the time away from the tournament to pay respect to the memorial. Two of the more recognizable sights are above and immediately below this text. The third picture captures the amazing fact that Carlee captured so well when she said, “I have no perspective on what this country is like without the World Cup.” It is a picture of a group of Mexican team fans who were visiting the memorial along with us.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Germany Celebrates

3-0. They are into the next round.
This is a closed off street scene in Munich.

Carlee's New Friend Ronaldo

At least that's what he said his name sure worked on the ladies.

...and me.

The Perfect Pickle?

It was different than Steck's in NJ...and I think that Steck's is still the winner.

World Cup 2006: June 20

So we spent the last few days in Munich. What an awesome city. We arrived the day of the Brazil-Australia match. The city was crazy after Brazil won.

Then we saw the Spain-Tunisia game at the fan zone. Each city has set up monster big screen TV's to show the games. Soccer is everywhere here.

People like to bike in Munich.

Maybe because their cars are kind of small.

Some bikers have a weird sense of humor...unless this is a German word that I have yet to add to my vocabulary.

Until next time!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

World Cup 2006 - June 17

Unfortunately, we tied.

...but, what an amazing game! And the atmosphere here is incredibly surreal. The streets of the city were filled with fans for hours. The stadium was electric. I have never been to more exciting soccer game.

There are only a few places in the world where this shirt doesn’t get double takes… It is weird to be in a place overseas where for once, it is ok to be a loud crazy American.

Even the urinals capture the spirit of the day.

I have an awesome film of the atmosphere in the stands which I will have to share when we get home. Here is a photo of the kick-off. We are headed to Munich today.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

World Cup 2006: June 16

Yesterday was a crazy travel day - but we are finally here! We touched down in Cologne around 8:30 am, took a train to Mannheim, took another train to Karlsruhe, hiked 15 minutes with our backpacks, and finally got to fall asleep again at the Novotel in Karlsruhe.

Let me tell you, Germany is wild about soccer. Even folks in business clothes are wearing cleats.

They are a lot like us though. They are into Dan Brown and realize that declaring the book sacrilege will definitely make the copies sell.

We rested by a pissing fountain.

And I ordered Baden style sausage for dinner. Who knew that ground up bologna could cost $15 and taste so good! I did have some awesome beer with my cold cuts though.

Dollar stores are everywhere.

That’s where I got your gift.

Today is the big US vs Italy game in Kaiserslauten. It is going to be awesome to be there! Talk to you again soon.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Imperative Balboa

Why I hate Marcelo Balboa as a soccer commentator on ESPN and ABC:
  • Every sentence is an imperative phrase. "You have to like..."
  • I disagree with 90% of Cello's imperative sentences.
  • He puts this wicked accent on the first or second syllable of every sentence.
  • His hair.
  • His continual references to his 1990 World Cup experience.

Another Birthday Wish!

That's right. Another Birthday wish! Besides my beautiful wife's birthday, it is also the birthday of a buddy of mine (who I have never met...but his dad has kept me sane for years). Cheers to Nathan (one day early)! I'm diggin the John Deere cap.