Trini in a van
Tuesday, June 13th:
Spent the day walking around Venice, decided that 100 Euros for a ride on a Gondola was too much.
Words can't describe Venice.
It's a place you just have to see yourself.
Found the same pub I watched the Italy v Ghana game in last night, which is where I am now actually.
The Korea v Togo game had just ended it's time to pack-up-shop and head back to Germany.
There is supposed to be a cricket match tomorrow in Nurenberg - Trinis vs England, and you know I have my bat, so I going looking for that.
Monday, June 12th
We left Frankfurt and headed south towards Nurenberg knowing we had a few days to kill, so we pulled over looked at the map and put it to a vote, Venice!
You heard me, Venice Italy.
Within a few hours we were just outside of Munich where we decided to get a couple hours sleep.
Before I knew it the cock crowed and we were on the road again.
Through Munich at 5.30 in the morning and back on to the highway again. The scenery changed once we got south of Munich, much more forested, lovely pine trees lining both sides of the motorway.
Just when you thought the view couldn't get any better the Alps rose above the trees, a picture of heaven in the distance.
Onward south into Austria at the foot of the Alps, through small ski towns, crossing bridges of pristine water, never have I seen rivers so clean.
Tempted to stop and set-up-shop (you know how much I could get for this water back home?) we pushed on through the alps and into Italy.
Once in Italy we stopped off at Lago De Garda (lake Garda), had lunch on the lake - authentic Italian pasta (close but not Catelli), jumped back in the van and continued south towards Venice.
Once close to Venice we started looking for a place to spend the night, it turns out the one site in the guide book which was the "closest" to Venice turned out to be a lot further than the 8km stated in the book, not knowing where to go we continued driving around and spotted a sign for camping.
Friendly service, two stops by bus (not even 5 minutes) from the centre of Venice we just couldn't get it any better - you know the saying "God is a Trini", well we have proof.
Parked and plugged in we started looking for a pub, after all, we had to watch the Italy vs Ghana game in a pub, a pub in Italy.
Jumped on the bus, took the ride into Venice, found a pub full of Italians - which wasn't easy 'cause most of the people walking around were tourists.
Sat down and found myself cheering for Italy for the first time in my life, the atmosphere was electric. The pub was full of passion, I could only imagine what a Seria A game would be like.
On the road: Sunday to Monday
The euphoria from the draw with Sweden has not died down, and we are reminded everywhere we go.
When people see our Trinidad and Tobago flags on our van or we say we're from Trinidad and Tobago, people say they are so ecstatic that we actually held Sweden to this draw.
They just didn't expect us to do it especially with 10 men! Everybody is just on a high - no rivalry.
We expected to lose the game, and England didn't play very well in their game against Paraguay.
They have 3 points, so hopefully they'll be coming into our game with a little less will to win.
If we can hold England 0-0, I think maybe we could score in the last five minutes and beat England 1-0.
If we beat England I'll have to quit my job - because I won't be going back to work!
After the game we had a blast. Sunday morning we got up and checked out of the campsite and didn't know which way to go, so we headed left and found a cafe and sat in the van and decided to go either Switzerland or Italy somewhere we hadn't been to before.
We left Frankfurt on Sunday evening around 8.30 and headed towards Munich.
We drove through the night, stopped at a truck stop and had 3 hours sleep.
At 3.00 we drove to Munich and at 5.15 headed towards Austria. At this point we noticed how the scenery changed. There were lots of forests with pine trees - it all looked fantastic .
Then these incredible mountains popped out of nowhere and at this point I knew I had no regrets.
We headed for the Alps through small towns, and over small rivers - the cleanest I'd ever seen. They looked so blue and clear.
At this point we stopped for coffee and there was freezing snow on the mountains in little valleys - it was very nice but chilly.
We arrived in Italy about 9.00 am and started to drive along amazing, well made roads. I asked John where Austria gets its money from to have such fantastic roads and wished they were like this in Trinidad.
We had real Italian pasta by Lake Garda which was amazing
We're staying in a campsite just outside Venice city centre. It takes less than 5 minutes on the bus and costs 1 euro which is just amazing.
Saturday, June 10th - Match day
Ahhh Saturday, glorious Saturday.
Woke to blistering sunshine and warm weather (somebody knew we were coming).
Time to introduce the Swedes to rum and soca, after the first rounds we were friends for life.
Then the boss man come and shut we down. Apparently we not allowed to play music.
One of the Swedes explained it, you see "the Germans, they have the World Cup every year, they´re accustomed".
Well with that we wished each other well and headed for the before party, eh? before party?... yep, nobody else in the world could party like Trini, we had a big bram with stage and live band right in the heart of Dortmund, right outside the train station, and it was goood.
Maximus Dan come on and mash-up the place, then the Laventille rhythm section take over and it was Carnival in Germany.
Time coming close to the match so we make we way to the stadium, and is only yellow, yuh boy on the wrong side of the stadium.
I found myself in the right section eventually, found my seat (way up in the back, better known as the nose-bleed section, but I could see).
I cried all through the national anthem, the second time I would cry for T&T football, and felt very proud to be Trinbagonian.
At the start the Swedes were loud, louder than us.
But, as the game went on they simmered.
The longer the game went on with no score the quieter they got and the louder we got.
Half-time, 0-0, pandemonium in the stands, we getting louder and louder, more T&T flags than Swedish.
The second half start, BOOM, red card, I didn´t even see it... we down to 10 men, "oh god ohh" we in trouble.
But the boys held strong, kept their composure and pull off the best T&T defensive performance ever.
In a word: "SHAKA", what a game! Full time and we draw. Unbelievable.
Party now start, we barely make it out we seats and the rhythm section going.
We fete ´til the wee hours of Sunday morning, Destra get-on bad.
Men crawl in about 6.00am and after a few hours rest we were back on the road heading for Frankfurt.
Pulled in to Frankfurt about 3.00pm and I told you the cricket bat would come in handy.
Who do we bounce up first, ah side from Australia, in 2 toos we park and start to knock some cricket on the pavement... it didn´t last long though, by the time the second man start to bat the boss man come and shut we down.
Apparently you not allowed to play cricket either "you must find a park, not in the city, end of discussion" said the policeman, so game done.
Right now we trying to decide where to go next.
5am Friday, June 9th
The alarm never seemed that loud, on the road again and heading for Germany, made a few wrong turns, no wait, we don´t make wrong turns, we just didn´t make the right turn and ended up smack in the middle of Brussels at rush hour.
That took us a while to get out of.
Eventually made it to Germany, Dusseldof to be exact around 1.00pm, got to the camp site and it was closed.
Apparently the Germans take a bit of a siesta, from 12.15pm to 3.00pm, so we park up outside and wait.
Took a walk around the camp site and met some Swedish guys (about 8) camped out recovering from the night before, these boys were loud, friendly and hungover - the right set to meet.
When we were finally let in officially we pulled up right next to the Swedish crew, got comfortable and passed out after the Germany game (Friday).
Thursday, June 8
Hello from the land of sausage and beer.
It took a while but I finally got to an Internet cafe.
Getting here has been unbelievable.
We hit a few snags on the way but like true Trinis we "surviving".
We left home a little later than expected on Thursday afternoon - had to make sure we had the necessary essentials: rum (only Trinidad´s finest would do), football jerseys, game tickets, soca and a few other bits and bobs.
On the way out the door I grabbed the bat and threw it in the car (yeah, you heard me, I take a cricket bat to a World Cup Football Final - you never know).
We picked up the van in Essex and headed for the (English) channel crossing, although we left home later than expected we were still ahead of time for the crossing.
And this is where yuh boys decide to mount the flags on the bus and ran into our first bit of difficulty.
There was nowhere on the van to mount the flags.
We had these flags made to mount on the windows of cars - you see them everywhere.
But we were not driving a car and installing the aparatus in the manner in which it was designed was not a possibility.
But Trini don´t give-up, we used the only thing available to us - Scotch tape. Yep, we taped the flags to the railling on the van. Now we ready.
The train to France was an hour late, first time we make it to a World Cup and everything running on trini-time already.
Got into France at 9.30pm, made a left and headed for Belgium.
First stop Brugge, what a beautiful place, fantastic gothic buildings all lit-up at night, cobbled streets and an amazing fountain in the centre (well, the centre of where we parked at least).
There was only one problem, we couldn´t find any bread.
I don´t know if the Belgians don´t eat any bread or if they eat too much bread?
But at midnight in Brugge we were on the hunt for what seemed to be a scarce commodity.
Eventually we picked up the last three half-baked bageuttes in a little shop on a side street (the third we had been in to).
We left Brugge and made it to about 60km outside of Brussels where we parked for the night (Thursday).