Well only a few hours left in Germany, as today I leave and fly to Krakow, Poland. Germany has been amazing, great, beyond hopes. The people have been incredibly kind, including those who have let me stay on their couch, extra room, etc for little or better even zero euros. The football viewing parties have been simply incredible, with hundreds of thousands of people in the street, at cafes, in stores, everywhere there is a TV. I have watched games inside, outside, at the stadium, basically in every sort of establishment. I have met fans from all over the world, countries in the world cup and those not, I hope to stay in touch with these people over the years and if plans can work out, South Africa 2010 world cup is right around the corner. The mood in Germany here is very very excited about the chances of the team making to the final. The are playing Italy, and while have never beat them in World Cup History, in fact lost to them in the 1982 final, Italy has played good, played poorly, played average. Its hard to know what team will show up on Tuesday. They are expecting over 1 million fans at watch at the outdoor viewing in Berlin.
Some other observations about Germany, the train system is amazing, usually accurate down to the minute and very efficient. There have been some long or tough train rides after the games, when 50,000 people all seem to be going to the same place. The rides are expensive, but thankfully due to my Eurrail pass and an average of 45USD per day, its made train travel very affordable. I still have one extra day of use on the railpass, might use it later in the trip for a stop in Munich or Berlin, the 2 german cities that I was not able to get to on this trip.
The Beer.. simply amazing, its everywhere, I mean u can honestly drink beer anywhere, on the subways, trams, busses, streets, public places. I even joked with a guy, probably the only place off limits is Church, but he was like, nope I have seen a few people with Becks in Church. My favs are the Hefeweizen beer, but the Pilsner brands are all good. prices are very reasonable from anything from 1.5Euros to 3.5euros for a half liter of HefeWeizen beer at a bar.
The Beach, germans seem obsessed with beaches, being geographically not bleed in terms of location, any body of water, be it a canal, lake, river, stream they seems to dump some sand on the banks, throw up a few chairs and call it a beach bar. I have had beers at beach bars in Hamburg, Mannheim, Koln, Essen, and a few other cities, all of these cities are basically on the Rhine river, a major commerical shipping river, but does that stop them from having a beach bar, nope!! Some brave germans even goto the beaches on the North Sea, but if u are a man and afraid of shrinkage, I wouldnt dare go in the near freezing water. I guess my 20 year old question as to why Cesenitaco, Italy where I vacationed 2 years in a row was full of German tourists is answered now. And i am sure as I journey to the Black Sea and Adratic Sea I will be seeing more beach and sun loving germans. In fact the guys I was staying with last night, he jetted off to Ibiza for a quick 2 days of sun and fun. I have invited all my german friends to come to South Beach Miami in November or December and experience our beach culture.
Alright, so long germany, off to the airport, not trying to miss another flight, so giving myself plenty of time. Its still hot as hell here, another 31 or 32 degree day..