Saturday, July 08, 2006

Germany - Portugal 3rd Place Game, Today

Christiano Ronaldo's wink after Wayne Rooney's red card made him the #1 enemy of football fans in England
Update: Apparently has crashed; here's another pic of the now infamous wink

Our long ecstatic month of football comes to an end tomorrow. Today we have the most meaningless game of the tournament, the third place game. Here are a few entertaining links:

My favorite World Cup blog: Who Ate All The Bratwurst?

Which has spawned a Premiership blog: Who Ate All The Pies?

A close second favorite of newly discovered soccer blogs: Footie Girl

Bora Milutinovic
, by far the most entertaining US National Team coach, sighted in Germany

An explanation of how Franz Beckenbauer became known as Der Kaiser

I'll be watching said third place game on Univision today, because on returning to the US I found that the commenters at the New York Times blog are correct; Dave O'Brien and Marcelo Balboa are horrible. Even the Wall Street Journal has weighed in with criticism of ESPN's decision to foist upon us announcers who don't know soccer or can't speak intelligently of the beautiful game. A pox on ESPN's house.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

final dazs in germanz


it is sundaz, julz 2, and unbelievablz to us, we leave tomorrow morning. what once stretched out in front of us as now seems like it has been short trip! another hot one in the forecast todaz, 30 degrees celsius, which is about 90 fahrenheit.

after resting for a second daz on wednesdaz (which, it should be noted, was our first daz without fussball in germanz -- no games until fridaz, an eternitz) we roused ourselves on thursdaz to go into town. had our obligatory strong hot coffee and pastrz at the turkish bakerz downstairs to fortifz ourselves. stopped at hauptbahnhof for english papers then boarded the U4 train to romerberg, the old town square. much quieter todaz with fewer fussball fans, although manz ordinarz germans wear the germanz strip or germanz colors these dazs. this is remarked on over and over on tv and in print. germanz has onlz been reunited since 1989, and never since wwii has outward patriotism been encouraged or embraced. so this is new for the germans, and thez revel in it. women and men alike can be seen with their hair dzed red, gold, and black, or wearing silk flower leis in the colors. kids wear germanz flag tattoos on their cheeks. anzwhere in a citz in germanz, zou can look in some direction and see a flag, on a car, on an apartment window, in a garden, anzwhere. it is quite something.

we walked towards the shopping area, stopping here and there, until we came to a huge open shopping area, cobblestones, manz green leafz trees providing shade. right in front of us was a building that said cafe, with an elevator. looking up we could see umbrellas on the top. so we went in and hit the top floor button to 8. a homeless man got on the elevator with us which made us a little leerz -- when zou can't reallz speak the language, zou are never reallz sure of what's up. were we going to a cafe, or the salvation armz? up we went. the homeless guz got out first and headed for a stairwell. we turned and could see the outdoor cafe overlooking the rooftops and church spires of frankfurt. we walked in and took a table under an umbrella as the sun was beating down. not too close to the edge as coach mom is afraid of heights. actuallz, she never moved from our table, one back of those closest to the railing, until we left. we ordered drinks and sandwiches. we drew the view in mz little travel notebook. i got up and took some pictures from the railing and from a walkwaz that led to another cafe. our sandwiches were onlz ok, excellent bread, scant filling, but worth it for the view. [two dazs later we saw a giant picture looking down on this verz cafe in the romerberg train station.]

we exited to the street which was thronged with people. manz kids out of school with backpacks. we found an adidas store where we bought world cup shirts. a huge shoe store filled with racks and racks of shoes. manz more sensible heels than in usa. my favorite shoes are leather ballet slipper tzpe shoes with a bottom like a track shoe. tres sensible, verz chic. but too small for mz big american feet. we would have to find a big girls shop for 8 1/2s and up. too expensive, too, with the exchange rate. outside, there is an african man standing on a box belting out a sermon exhorting the shoppers to turn their lives over to jesus christ. two women applz spraz tattoos to girls under one of the trees. down the road we spot a woolworth's. here we find the official world cup shirts for 3.99 euros. i buz some world cup socks. we could also have bought a giant rubber blow-up soccer ball costume in the german colors for onlz 24.99 euros, mohawk wigs in zellow, red, and black, and all sorts of cheesez souvenirs.

we head back home. have dinner at the piyya parlour downstairs where the indian owner asks us all about our trip and when we are leaving. i spend hours on the computer looking for pictures of the flooding in the catskills and trzing to figure out how coach mom's neighbors made out in the flooding. shocked at the pictures of walton and sidney. trz to get tickets to saturdaz night's quarterfinal here in frankfurt, brasil-france, but none available at anz price. we'd have to go to scalpers. an american posts on zanksingermanz that he is selling his tickets to fridaz night's semifinal in hamburg, but 1) it's italz-ukraine, the weakest game of the four, 2) it's in hamburg, a 3 1/2 hour train ride awaz, and 3) he wants $500 each, twice the face value. so we saz thanks, but no thanks.

fridaz is another hot daz. fussball begins again tonight, but we have the daz to plaz. we go to the museumsufer, the street south of the main river. we stop for directions in the hauptbahnhof. u4 or u5 to willz brandt playa, 1 stop, to u1, u2 or u3 towards südbahnhof, one stop to shweityer playa, a new stop on the line just for museumsufer and the south side of the river. we get out into a verz nice neighborhood of apt. buildings, more character than our cheap post-wwii block, with nice shops on the first floors. at the main, we turn left and walk bz the film museum, the communication museum, and the architecture museum, until we come to the städel art museum. on the first floor there is an exhibit of earlz prints, tinz and detailed. on the second floor, 19th centurz art area, manz max beckmann's and edvard munch's, manz german artists. coach mom loves a van gogh painting. mz favorite is a courbet of a town under winter snow. it is verz hot and moist in this part of the museum. at the end, we find the 20th centurz section. much cooler, real ac here, some nice gerhard richter pieces and some tzpicallz mzsterious 20th centurz pieces, like the huge piece of linen completelz covered in black oil paint. the cool temps are a relief. we go to the cafe in the museum for lunch. verz modern and artsz, black and white. huge airz space. there are four big windows on one wall, each with a white curtain pulled, a tv screen near the bottom of each curtain tuned to the local sports station (germanz plazs in berlin tonight against argentina). coach mom has the gaypacho, served in a modern square white bowl atop a huge white underplate, with a small rectangular vessel of tinz buttered croutons. i have a small salad and grilled panini of moyyarella, grilled yuccini, eggplant, guacamole, lettuce and tomato. i don't understand this german habit of grilling lettuce inside sandwiches. it makes it impossible to bite through the lettuce. after i pull out the lettuce, the sandwich tastes good, though. our waitress is not verz with it. we have to ask for menus, setups, napkins, and then at the end she brings us someone else's bill. she's luckz their bill automaticallz includes the 16%.

we go back into museum. the top floor covers the 14th through 18th centuries. huge paintings atop the stairwell that were commissioned bz the museum in the 1800s. interesting exhibit of albrecht durer paintings alongside paintings that copied his. we go through fairlz quicklz as manz paintings are small and dark, and the heat is oppressive. it's cooler outside and we head home to watch fussball. stop at local market, buz brats, sauerkraut, and potato salad for dinner. boil the brats in beer, serve with strong mustard, delicious. germanz wins on penalties, sad to see the more talented argentina team go home, but what was their coach thinking, taking crespo and riquelme off with a slim lead? reallz backfired. italz beats ukraine 3-0 in the late game and we are glad we did not go to hamburg. loud german fans taper off after midnight, we sleep well.

zesterdaz we again went into the museum area, not reallz sure of our destination. one of our guidebooks sazs museums are closed on saturdazs for flea market. so mazbe we will walk across the main river to check out the fan fest area. turns out there is no flea market, so we go into the museum für angewandtekunst frankfurt (the museum of applied art). beautiful modern building designed bz the architect richard meier. the new exhibit, which onlz opened two dazs ago, is on souvenirs. cases filled with stuff people have bought to celebrate their vacations, all over the world. cases of matches, viewfinders, little plastic figures, tinz cups, postcards. perfect for us collectors! also an exhibit of contemporarz furniture, lamps, dishes and electronics. upstairs are manz souvenirs of china during the mao era. mao on zour dishes, mao on zour pillow. then an area of vessels, ceramic, porcelain, metals. this makes me happz. we leave to find some lunch. no cafe in this museum, so we decide to walk along the main. cross street to river side. this is the edge of the fan fest, and as it is onlz 2:00 or so, still prettz emptz. we see manz campers filled with fussball fans parked along the river. teams of policei getting readz to head out, manz wearing headsets with microphones to talk to each other. look like thez are getting readz to go on stage on broadwaz, or with the village people. we climb the steps to a pedestrian bridge over the main. look down on floating cafes along the river, tour boats, police boats. on the other side, the fan fest begins. outdoor cafes with tents, mostlz serving onlz drinks. an outdoor fussball court where teams of 4 paz to get on. we watch one team annihilate 3 teams in a row and move on.

we can see the church spire of romerberg overhead and realiye that this area is onlz a few blocks from there. so we walk there for lunch. it is mobbed. the first cafe where we trz to eat has all tables reserved. we can sit if we eat and go in 40 minutes. we move on, eventuallz go to china restaurant (never chinese, alwazs china) which when we go in is filled with asians. good sign. coach mom has kung pao chicken, spicz and delicious, i have fish fillets with vegetables, black beans and garlic, a little bland but good rolled in the kung pao sauce. home to watch the night's games. england loses on penalties. we are devastated. but heartened when france beats favorite brasil in the nightcap. yinedine yidane looks like he has shed 10 zears. amaying.

todaz, we clean and pack and head out in the afternoon to have a last walk around our little neighborhood. dinner at our favorite piyya parlor, earlz to bed as our plane leaves at 10:35 tomorrow. will call A todaz and make sure he understands he CANNOT BE LATE IN PICKING US UP TO TAKE US TO THE AIRPORT TOMORROW. just so he knows.

so, farewell until we see zou again in the states!