A Travellerspoint blog

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Day 19 (June 26th)

No goals in the games today

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P1010014.JPG No travel, no game tickets – just a day to see a bit of Heidelberg and catch the games on the tube. We took the vernacular up to see the view of the city.
06_26_Hei_g 011.jpg We had a small brunch at the top of the mountain/hill – it was a really nice view. It took two cars/tracks to get to the top, with the second, smaller one testing Kate’s slight fear of heights. On the way back down we wandered the castle grounds which were very well maintained. The castle also had a very nice view of the city.
06_26_Hei_g 029.jpg One of the tops of the castle had half broken away many years ago and it was quite interesting to see.
06_26_Hei_g 038.jpg There was an odd fountain at the end of one of the courtyards, the only thing odder was the girls posing for their picture with it.

06_26_Hei_g 040.jpg We all met up at an Irish Pub near the middle of town for a rare, full M6 watching of the Italy/Australia game. The game was pretty evenly matched when the referee ejected one of the Italian players for a foul worthy of a yellow at most – yes, a bad call against the Italians – amazing. The game pretty much continued pretty even with a few chances for each side. And even with the 3 minutes of stoppage time, this game seem destine for extra time. But the referee made his worst “mistake” of the game by awarding a PK to the Italian side as time expired. Phil so eloquently summed up this game, as another “classic piece of Italian shit”. Somehow the Italian scrapped through again on what some would later call the worse referee call of the cup (though the non-calls for Togo when playing the Swiss were worse in my opinion). This will probably go down as the worst refereeing that the cup has ever seen…

06_26_Hei_g 018.jpg We wandered to the old part of the city for the evening match. No one we met could stop talking about the Italy call. I was still undecided if the referee had cheated or just made a horrible mistake, but either way, the Italians were through. We found another bar with no crowd and a large screen TV and sat right in front – I guess the Ukraine/Swiss match up didn’t interest so many. The game was very uneventful as both sides mounted few quality chances – a typical dig in type of game. Contrary to the night before, this referee let the players play with several hard fouls going uncalled and rarely carded anyone – it was a good thing that the Russian referee didn’t handle this game either. This referee was probably one of the better ones for the tourney, but then again both teams were European and neither a traditional powerhouse. The first match to go to penalty kicks and unfortunately for the Swiss, they were really poor at it. So, without ever having allowed a goal in the cup, the Swiss were out – how funny.

Posted by wc2006 07:31 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Day 20 (June 27th)

Last of the Second Round

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06_27_Col_G 006.jpg Phil and Kate are off to Berlin and the rest of us to Cologne for the final day of the second round. We stayed right near the fan fest again in Cologne. We weren’t sure how popular the Fan Fests would be in a town where all their games were over. But about an hour before the start of games, there were long lines to get in. By the time the Brazil/Ghana game had started, the place was packed. Of course, most were pulling for Brazil but Ghana had some supporters as well. Ghana showed up for the game and played well, they were unlucky not to get a goal while they were outplaying Brazil.
06_27_Col_G 005.jpg Between the games, we met some German guys from the local area and had a few beers with them. They also explained why their local beer was served in small glasses – it has to be consumed within 10-15 minutes or it loses it’s favor. They were very warm and friendly guys; it was a pleasure to hang out with them.
The second game was Spain/France. The game was fairly flat. As Ivan kept on saying, the Spain team was very young and might have trouble with an experienced team. At the very end, France’s experience came through and they showed up at the end of the game – really for the first time in any of their games.

Posted by wc2006 07:40 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Day 21 (June 28th)

Real Day Off

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06_27_Col_G 034.jpg Wow. Three weeks in, and a real day off. That is, the first day without any soccer games at all. What would we do? All the catch-up activities – rest, sleep, laundry, etc. We strolled around Cologne a bit sight-seeing – the Dom, the shopping district. But this day was really about relaxing.
06_27_Col_G 012.jpg We strolled aimlessly through the town and stumbled into a perfume shop. Never really though of “cologne” being from Cologne, but I guess I can be a bit slow sometimes. We didn’t really care much for the scent, but could resist a picture with their cute little car outside.
06_27_Col_G 008.jpg We went inside the Dom because Gwen hadn’t seen it yet. The back part behind the altar was open (wasn’t before) and it was quite interesting. There were these fabulous mosaics on the floor. They covered the wide halls with a great deal of fine detail. 06_27_Col_G 010.jpg It was difficult to capture with my camera, and all of the visitors. Here’s the pictures, but I doubt it does it justice.
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We met for a very nice dinner at an Argentinean Steakhouse. It was a very nice dinner and we enjoyed it quite a bit. It was nice to just visit and enjoy a good meal. Afterwards, we visited a few local pubs and hangouts to finish out the evening/morning.

Posted by wc2006 08:34 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Day 22 (June 29th)

Soccer Withdrawals

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Okay, day two without any soccer, I guess the weaning process has to start because the whole thing will be over in a couple of weeks. 06_27_Col_G 023.jpg We slept in and missed breakfast this morning, so we grabbed something to eat and headed to the Chocolate Museum. It was just a short walk along the river to reach. It was a very interesting presentation regarding the history of the Cocoa bean and development of modern day Chocolate. 06_27_Col_G 025.jpg They also had a live production line and a chocolate foundation – with free samples of course. Of course, the gift shop there was the best I’ve ever visited ;)
06_27_Col_G 013.jpg When strolling the city, we came upon a guy that was using chalk to draw a picture of a face on the main square in front of the Dom. When we came back by later, he had completed his portrait of Mozart. Cologne is full of street “performers”, but this was something to see. It was really well done.
06_27_Col_G 015.jpg These houses sit near the river and were very near our hotel. We heard that the blue house on the left was the only one that survived the bombings from the war. The entire river is lined with restaurants with outdoor tables and outside TV screens.
Later on, we enjoyed some very good Chinese food and just relaxed more that afternoon. We got together for a late night Italian dinner (disappointing) and called it an early evening – Dean has to travel to Berlin tomorrow to meet up with Phil and Kate for the first Quarter Finals game.

Posted by wc2006 08:38 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Day 23 (June 30th)

Quarter Finals

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06_27_Col_G 036.jpg Finally, the restart of the games! And what better way to start than Germany/Argentina. It is quite possible that the winner of this game will be the winner of the cup. We figured that the Fan Fest would be packed support Germany, so we planned to get there early. We had thought of going to another Museum today, but overslept.
06_27_Col_G 037.jpg Our group here was divided as far as which team to support. Of course, I had grown to like the German team, but Argentina was my pick for winning long ago.
06_27_Col_G 039.jpg The fan fest was packed – three hours early – and it was hot. Germans were all terribly sad on the first goal by Argentina, but the Argentineans made the mistake of trying to sit back (and poor substitutes) and the mighty German team came back to tie. The goals by both teams were very good and the teams were pretty evenly matched. After the overtime, Germany was much better from the spot. And the German keeper guessed the right direction each time – stopping 2 and winning the game. The place went crazy! And the Germans were mostly nice, but very excited (some of the German youths weren’t so nice went we were leaving the fan fest, but 12 and beer probably isn’t Germany’s best idea).
Italy played a good match and with all the luck going their way, won easily. This time they needed no help from the refs, just a couple of crossbars and the post. Italy verses Germany should be a good game, we look forward to going to the game.

Posted by wc2006 08:42 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Day 24 (July 1st)

Quarter Finals 2

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Ivan, Dean, Gwen and I travel to Gelsenkirchen for the next day of quarter finals. It was only an hour away by train, but really crowded - not sure that this was what Ivan had pictured as 1st class travel :) However, Gelsenkirchen was trying to vie with Kaiserslautern as the worst venue. That is, it took us over an hour to get to the stadium once we reached the city. We were packed in herds waiting for trains, but no order to their stop on the platform or such. But since we had allowed for getting there over 2 hours before the game, we were still okay, just no time for food.
06_27_Col_G 045.jpg The England fans were as obnoxious as ever for the pre-game. However, during the match they raised their offensiveness to a new level – no wonder everybody hates the Brits (sorry to my friends back home). The “funniest” of their screaming was that Portugal was a bunch of cheating “diving” bastards (that deserved to die). But as soon as England got in the box, the calls were for their players to take a dive! The game was pretty evenly matched – neither team playing very well, but both have a few odd chances.
06_27_Col_G 052.jpg After losing Rooney to a questionable red card, the England squad seemed unaffected, to their credit. Without 3 of their starters, Portugal could do little to mount a real attack, even in the extra time. You might think that Portugal would lose on PKs when you know that they missed 2 of them, but the Portugal keeper guessed the right way on every kick and stopped 3 of England’s poor shots.
06_27_Col_G 064.jpg The group had enough of the armpit to armpit travel, so we passed on the wonderful 302 and walked the 3-4 miles to the fan fest. We made it in time for the start of the Brasil/France game. The fan fest was mostly empty – presumably the bulk of the English fans when home pouting. Brasil was on their heals the hold time, while France outplayed them the whole game. France had looked quite bad in the first round, but has really come on in the playoffs. Brasil played a new, weird line up (similar to the weirdness that Argentina had done). The Argentina coach had already resigned for his poor decisions; we expect Brasil’s tomorrow. Ivan joked that instead of buying referees like some (nameless Italians), the other Europeans bought the opposing coaches ;) But Brasil just got it handed to them, no question – France continued to have their number.
So, like the announcer rubbed it in, the World cup is over, on with the rest of the European cup.

Posted by wc2006 08:50 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (1)

Day 25 (July 2nd)

Konstanz for a Break

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06_27_Col_G 066.jpg Gwen and I travel to Konstanz while Ivan and Dean stay in Cologne for the next two rest days. Phil and Kate travel from Berlin to see our fair town. It’s a long day of travel for both of us, but it will be very nice for them to see our lovely town. It will also be the catch up day for this blog. Internet access has been more painful that anticipated – sorry for the trailing entries…
07_02_Kon_G 001.jpg Phil and Kate had a long day of travel to get here, but that didn’t stop Phil from a quick trip into the Rhein river (a block from our place). We headed to the beer garden down by the lake (boat docks) and chilled there for a bit. The lake and the river looked very nice, it was lovely with tons of people sun bathing everywhere.
07_02_Kon_G 003.jpg On the walk back, we went to our favorite Greek restaurant. We sat upstairs, outdoors since the restaurant sits right on the river. 101_0097.JPG We had the festival meal for 3, which was plenty for the four of us. It was a nice, relaxed setting and a really nice evening.

Posted by wc2006 09:57 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

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