The unfortunate question that we have been asked, repeatedly, in the days following Friday’s horrific terror attack in Paris: are you still going to France next summer?
Yes, we still plan to go to France. We plan to go to France and we plan to go to big soccer games in big stadia when we are in France. We plan to live our lives as we wish to live them and experience the cultures that we want to experience and see the sights that we want to see and take on the adventures that excite us.
It is our small act of defiance in the face of terrorism.
Because that’s the ultimate goal of terrorism, isn’t it? To make us so suspicious, scared, paranoid that we are too afraid to crave adventure?
We still crave adventure. We still seek it. We are not afraid.
Despite flying to California and back in a 27 hour period, the travel wasn’t too bad and miraculously the (tight) timing worked out and the dude who checked in our rental car marked the gas tank as full when it most certainly was not. The sun was shining in Pasadena and, after landing at LAX, we had a delicious breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House in Manhattan Beach. We watched Michigan football win its homecoming game from Barney’s Beanery in Pasadena before heading to the Rose Bowl, where it all went downhill from there in truly spectacular fashion.
Life lessons, my friends. Sometimes these trips are nothing more than life lessons.
The final after extra time: USA, 2 – Mexico, 3.
Once upon a time, there were two sisters named Lauren and Alyson and they had no self control. And when their National Team was pitted up against the big, bad El Tri for the CONCACAF Cup and a place in the Confederations Cup, it was a proved to be an impossible temptation.
They bought tickets with the intention of reselling them.
Then they made the mistake of checking airfare.
It was irresistibly affordable.
And that is the fairy tale of how this weekend’s pilgrimage to the Rose Bowl came to fruition.
We’re withholding all of the juicy details for now so you’re just going to have to trust us when we say that this trip might be our most epic yet.
We’re coming for you, Timmy Howard.
When we planned our initial World Cup trip, we first inquired with a few organized tour group and the prices were insane. Truly absurd.
Don’t do that. Seriously, just don’t. Unless you truly need some company to take all of your money, plan out your every minute and select every detail of your vacation, you (and your pocketbook) are so much better off coordinating your own trip. Trust us.
It’s not that hard, boys and girls. Planning your own trip is so very attainable, even for those of you who are not information professionals. Jump on Tripadvisor, work up the courage, buy some travel insurance and get to booking.
Your trip is going to be so much less expensive and so much more you, not some generic “see the highlights of [insert city/country/region here]” tour where you’re scheduled to go on a garden tour even though you don’t give a damn about flowers.
Not to mention that booking your own trip keeps you from spending your precious vacation trapped amongst obnoxious weirdos in your tour group who you would never elect to spend time with otherwise.
Example: The Dentist from Brazil. Had we been on a tour with that fine fellow, one of us would have been convicted of murder. There is no doubt.
Book your own vacation. Go rogue. Stay where you want to stay. See what you want to see. Get stuck with only obnoxious travelmates who you already know and love. Your trip will be better for it.
This feels very familiar. 10 days after cancelling the reservation at our backup hotel in Lyon, we receive an email notifying us that our first-choice, great-value, great-location, this-is-too-good-to-be-true hotel dropped our reservation.
Now it is back to the proverbial drawing and, wouldn’t you know? Hotels are booked up and those that aren’t are charging special, astronomical Euro 2016 rates.
Yet slightly less so than having your hotel burn down one month out from your first African adventure. How about that for positive thinking?
We are used to having to travel to see our national teams but, for once, the national team came to us.
The USWNT was in Detroit as part of their Victory Tour, celebrating their Women’s World Cup win.
U.S. Soccer was nice enough to give us on-field passes for their training session, which happened the day before the game.
Then we had some quality time with the Women’s World Cup trophy (and a few Ford Field staffers).
As is only proper, we went to Thomas Magee’s Sporting House in Eastern Market (where we watched the Women’s World Cup Final) to make merry before the game. It was a decent crowd for a random Thursday afternoon.
The Supporters marched together to Ford Field. The march was missing the magical atmosphere of our last march with U.S. Soccer fans — and it was also missing the bottle of Jack Daniels that we passed around — but there was something special about marching through our hometown with a harmless gang of soccer hooligans.
The Americans were set to play Australia until the Matildas went on strike. Good for them, bad for us. The last minute replacement was Haiti.
Here is Lauren contemplating how she is good enough to play on the Hatian team.
USA 5 – Haiti 0.
Despite the lopsided win, it was a fun time, an awesome reason to break out our patriotic skinny jeans and a really good warm-up for October.
What’s happening in October?
(Hint: dos a cero.)
Duplicating the Round of 16 games in Nice and Lyon, we ended up submitting applications for five matches.
We only got tickets to one game.
It is an inconvenient twist to our Euro 2016 trip but not a tragic one.
It would be nice to have the ticket thing all sorted out now but, we have the subsequent rounds to snag our seats. The next ticketing round doesn’t open up until after the draw in December, so we will be buying with a vague idea of the teams that could be playing in that match.
Like the Netherlands, for example. PLEASE LET US FINALLY SEE ORANJE.