See you in Germany

The UPS man made a visit the Boudreausian palatial estate this weekend. And he came bearing gifts.

This past weekend Shelley’s and my match tickets to the upcoming World Cup arrived. And with them, even more material evidence that we are about to embark upon a once-in-a-lifetimeexperience.

Four years in the making, we’ve been talking about and planning this trip since the last whistle blew at the ‘02 tournament. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost here.

On a Friday afternoon next month, we’ll be getting on an international flight bound for Amsterdam. After a couple of days taking in the sights, experiencing the culture and hanging out with a bunch of Dutch people — the real adventure will begin as we go to the only place that holds the prescription to our World Cup fever: Deutschland.

We’ll climb aboard a train and arrive in Cologne, Germany. To make matters even better, we’ll rendezvous with our friends, The Poetschkes. Cologne will serve as our home base for a few days as we will be taking in a couple matches in the surrounding areas.

First will be our beloved team USA vs. Czech Republic in Gelsenkirchen. Assuming I survive the euphoria (or heartbreak) of that experience, a couple days later we will see host-country Germany take on neighbor-to-the-east, Poland, in Dortmund. The atmosphere at the German game should be electric. We were very, very fortunate to get our hands on these tickets.

Actually, I think it’s safe to say we are very fortunate and blessed to be going on this trip, period.

On that topic, the atmosphere in the entire country will be breathtaking. The entire world will be converging on Germany – in person and/or in spirit – for a little over a month to watch 32 teams compete in 64 games for one treasured prize. Being a part of that would be enough, but getting to attend games makes it all the more special.

So where was I? Ah yes… Cologne.

After the Germany/Poland game we will be catching a train down south to catch up with the Poetschke’s in Munich. A couple days of experiencing the beauty that is southern Germany, fraternizing with fellow soccer enthusiasts and drinking lots of Hofbrau House beer – we’ll head back west to Frankfurt. About an hour and a half south of Frankfurt, near the border of France, we’ll be catching our last game in a small town called Kaiserslautern.

There we will watch the USA take on Italy in a match that will be pivotal for our team in advancing out of group play. (Sorry if you aren’t familiar with how the World Cup is structured or what a soccer ball is… I will digress from that now.) That game will be a late night match. We will probably roll back into our hotel in Frankfurt very much past midnight. But there will be no rest for the weary as a flight bound for DFW airport will be leaving the next morning. And yes, we will be on it. Asleep. We’ll need our rest.

There will still be four weeks of World Cup action to watch from home.