A Travellerspoint blog

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Day 26 (July 3rd)

Full Day of Rest

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No travel. No games. Nothing that has to be done. We enjoy Konstanz and our familiar stomping grounds.
With just 4 matches left, the cup draws to an end. Just 4 teams left: Germany, Italy, France and Portugal.
07_03_Kon_G 001.jpg But today is a relaxation day. We just sleep in, do some laundry and stroll around Konstanz. It’s another lovely day here. We managed to get out in afternoon and see more of the town. With some arm twisting (yeah, right ;), we manage to get Phil and Kate to stop at our local microbrew, the Joh. Albrecht. It is actually one of the few (non-American) “chains” here in Germany, but serves a very nice beer called the Kupfer.
07_03_Kon_G 003.jpg I have tons of pictures of our local Munster, but none so interesting as Kate posing for Phil’s artistic shots. I’ve only been inside the large church a few times before, but there were several old sections that were never opened before, so that was nice to see. We hit the Indian imbiss for lunch for a nice meal. We had walked to Switzerland, because we can, and to try to get their passports stamped, but that didn’t work out (they said they weren’t doing that today – or anymore?).
07_03_Kon_G 004.jpg Some more arm twisting and we stopped at the “Red Rooster” for a quick beer. It is one of the few places that serves a variety of different beer brands inside of just types. A funny thing happened while we were there, it turns out the couple sitting behind Phil and Kate just moved here (like a day or two ago) from Australia. We exchanged info and hope to meet them again. We had a nice dinner at our favorite Turkish restaurant.

Posted by wc2006 21:32 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Day 27 (July 4th)

First Day of the Semis

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Phil and Kate head out to Munich for their semi-final game tomorrow, while Gwen and I head back to Cologne (and then on to Dortmund) for our semi-final today. Germany verses Italy, a classic battle, it should be a great game. This was our first time to visit the Dortmund stadium as well.
07_04_Col_G 005.jpg Dortmund had an interesting “wall” just outside of the train station. We got to see it because the local U was packed, so we decided to walk to the stadium. We strolled through their downtown area with was completed packed with people. The fan fest was on the same path as the stadium. We grabbed a variety of street pork and beverages along the way. We missed our landmark, red carpet, but still found the stadium in plenty of time.
07_04_Col_G 017.jpg It was a good game even though our seats weren’t so good. It was a very hot day and a good climb up to our seats. As you would expect, the crowd was nearly all German with only a small Italian corner section. The good part of the stadium was that the stadium was on a sharp angle, so all of the seats were closer to the field. The German crowd was excited and cheered the whole game for their team.
07_04_Col_G 021.jpg We had all worn our Germany shirts to support the home team and follow as many chants as we could. But the Italian defense was tough and only allowed the German team a few really good chances. But the chances they had were actually very good, but Germany just didn’t finish them well, they had some nice open looks. Even though Italy was not winning, they continued their time wasting tactics with everyone getting sick of their fake injuries.
As the game went to extra time, it seemed that the game would be destine for PKs. However, the Italian team suddenly played very well in the extra time creating several good chances. However, Germany survived those only to see more Italian time wasting, especially on their transition attacks. FIFA really needs to do something about all the fake injuries. Nonetheless, with only a minute left in the extra time, Italy found the goal when the German defense lapsed. When German pressed for the equalizer, they gave up a second goal and the game was over.
07_04_Col_G 024.jpg The German fans were very gracious in defeat and the team circled the field thanking the fans for their support. It was a hard lost, but one team has to lose. Unknowingly, we headed off for the next big adventure. We rode back half-way to main train station on the U but when we had to switch trains we decided to walk the rest of the way. The stop was actually in the middle of the fan fest, which was all but cleared out as well. When we arrived at the main train station, it was completely packed – wall to wall people, not moving at all. We walked around a bit looking for a place to wait it out. About an hour later, still no change in the situation. We waited some more, and some more, and… It looked like we were stuck, Dortmund had not anticipated this crowd. We thought of getting a hotel room, or taking a taxi all the way back to Cologne. We tried the main train station one last time, still no one getting in. 07_04_Col_G 026.jpg Oh, wait. They were letting a few people in the exit ramps, we managed to get in, found a delayed train, switched tracks, squeezed into the first class floor space on the train and made it home. It was only 4 am when we got back to Cologne!

Posted by wc2006 22:32 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Day 28 (July 5th)

Second Semi-Finals Game

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07_04_Col_G 029.jpg We slept in late (obviously) after the long night. Ivan and Dean were headed to Munich for the second semi-finals game. Gwen and I headed back to Konstanz as our matches are now over. We spent most of the day, just getting back. We got together with our Italian friend to watch the final game (and I had a nice helping of crow for dinner).
07_05_Muc_I 299.jpg Ivan had this strange karma thing going – if he wore the shirt for a team, the team lost. He was promising to wear France. I kind of thought Portugal should win (returning players, France down after Brazil), so it was a sure thing. So I tried really hard to place a 100 bet on Portugal – it was paying 3.55 to 1 so that sounded good too.
07_05_Muc_I 308.jpg The France/Portugal game unfortunately wasn’t very good. Neither team played up to their ability. Portugal was the most disappointing because they have so many good players and were down most of the game. They should’ve been attacking much more. The PK call was a tough one, hard to call, hard not to call. But the defender did make a little extra effort to trip Henry and he would’ve have a free shot at the goal. There were some no-calls that could’ve gone Portugal’s way (in the box even), but they didn’t show any replays of those, so I’m not positive.
Good thing that I didn’t get that bet made.
Zidane is the Cinderella story of the cup having come back from retirement only to play for the national time one last time. So he’ll finish his career on center stage now. But France will have to play more like they did against Brazil if they hope to beat the Italians.

Posted by wc2006 12:05 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Day 29 (July 6th)

Rest Day?

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Phil and Kate head from Munich to Frankfurt for their flight home tomorrow. Dean decides to try and make an early departure, but can’t manage it, so he’s here until the 10th.
Gwen and I take it easy in Konstanz and celebrate our anniversary. We had a lovely day together with beautiful weather, nice walks, some fine dining and a short trip to the casino where Gwen some a few bucks (and even covered my continuing losing streak). The bartender was very nice and kept giving us free (improved) drinks (Thursdays are slow for them, I think). All it all, it was a great (and relaxing) day.

This day was so relaxing that no one took any pictures, either.

Posted by wc2006 12:14 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Day 30 (July 7th)

Return to Munich

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Phil and Kate head back to the states today from Frankfurt. I travel to Munich to meet up with Ivan and Dean. I slept in, updated this blog and so missed the early trains. It was a rainy day, so I was moving kind of slow – and not exactly looking forward to the 3 trains and 4 hours to get to Munich. But it’ll be good to see the last games with Ivan and Dean before they head back.
707_D396.jpg It was raining in Munich, too. So, Ivan and Dean didn’t do much today either – still catching there breathe and recovering (they both caught colds or something). When I got there, we headed out for dinner. We passed by Marienplatz for the 5 o’clock turning of the Glockenspiel. We thought about the Ratskeller, but it seem too pricy so we wandered back to the Paulander im Tal for a nice dinner.
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Later we took off for the famous Hofbrauhaus for a taste of Bavarian beer and culture. The band was playing and the liter beers were flowing. 707_D417.jpg The nice thing about the Hofbrauhaus is that everything is so small, the beer, the pretzels, etc.
It was a good time as we met some guys from Finland as well as a former Ohio state representative. I think Dean and him devised a plan to bring the Hofbrauhaus to the states or something.
707_D427.jpg Of course, not all the good things were in large packages either, some great things come in small packages.

Posted by wc2006 12:17 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Day 31 (July 8th)

Third Place Game

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707_D436.jpg Well, the conditional tickets did not come through, so we’re watching this game in Munich. Kahn will get to keep as Lehnmann steps aside as a nice jester. I read that the Portugal coach really wants to finish 3rd instead of 4th. So if Germany shows up to play as well, this game might actually be a good game – we’ll see.
We changed hotels, so Ivan and Dean would be closer to airport when they leave in a couple of days. We stayed at probably the best hotel of the trip, funny as I made this reservation the day before (they had a nice pool and sauna). We had grabbed a late night snack last night that got Ivan sick and Dean was in relaxation mode to finish out the trip, so we chilled at the hotel for the game.
P1010176.JPG We enjoyed the game at the hotel, there were plenty of German fans with the hotel staff and a few locals as well. The game was pretty good, especially for a third place game. Germany played well and finished the tourney strong – nice for them to go out with a win. And I jinxed Kahn by saying it looked like he’d get a clean sheet, just seconds before Portugal scored. But Kahn had played well, it was just a good play by Portugal (one of the few).

Posted by wc2006 12:37 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Day 32 (July 9th)

Finals - Weird

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The final game for champion is here – would it be Italy or France. I wouldn’t have picked either of these teams from the start (although I knew the winner of Group E (Italy, USA) should end up at least in the semi-finals). France was a complete surprise as they barely qualified, then they barely made it through the group phase – only to start really playing well in the playoffs.
P1010004.JPG Dean remain his pledge to finish out the trip at the hotel, he really like their ham sandwiches, I guess. So Ivan and I headed back to town to see the town one last time and watch the game. The Munich lions were everywhere – like the Berlin bears or the Chicago cows if you’ve seen those. So, we had to grab a shot of one.
P1010003.JPG We also stumbled across a kids festive, the stage is in the very back of the picture. The thing that we really found interesting was that the kids festival also included a beer stand as well.
P1010005.JPG We chilled at a small bar, the Augustiner, for the final match. The game was well, interesting. It seemed as though France played the better game and was attaching more. Of course, that could be said about many of Italy’s games. But then again, they kept on winning. It goes without saying that Zidane’s heading of the Italian player was shocking – he must have felt the pressure of trying to live up to the fantasy of them winning, but it was still unbelievable. Italy squeezes by to become World Champion on one PK that was off the crossbar, as all of the Italians were perfect from the spot.

Posted by wc2006 13:18 Archived in Germany Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

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