And so it ends

On June 5th, 2014, I headed to Brazil to experience the World Cup.  It took me almost a year to plan and prepare for this trip.  There were many anxious and exciting moments during this preparation including the FIFA ticket lottery, finding flights from Brazilian airlines that would not get changed suddenly and without notice, and reading all of the anti-Brazil media reports covering crime and dangers in Brazil.  It all worked out great and I was able to see two wonderful games in Belo Horizonte, scene of the now famous Mineirazo.  The trip never ended after I got back to the States.  As each game and round of the cup continued, it took me right back to the scenes and feelings I had in Brazil.  But with the Germans completing their successful march through this cup yesterday afternoon in the Maracana, this chapter is now coming to a close.

When looking back at this tournament, there were so many amazing moments and stories.  I remember being at the Fan Fest in Belo Horizonte for the opening match between Brazil and Croatia.  When Brazil started the tournament with an own goal early in the game, there was a strange sense of panic and discomfort that quickly filled the very large crowd of mostly young adults and teenagers in the facility.  It was a strange thing to watch and be a part of because I had no loyalties to either team, but it quickly became obvious how important their performance affected the moods of the Brazilian fans.  In retrospect, they never really played all that well throughout the tournament and were almost beaten by both Mexico and Chile later on.  I think the Brazilian fans knew this and as devastating as the loss to Germany was in the semis, it felt like it was just a matter of time before they could not “win them all.”

Fan Fest for opening game

Belo Horizonte Fan Fest for opening game

Even though Brazil was not in the final, they still did not want Argentina to win the cup on home soil.  There were many reports before the game of how Brazil’s nightmare would continue if Argentina were to win on Sunday.  And as Rio was flooded with Argentinians, it would have only made it that much worse with all of these jubilant fans parading their victory.  But Germany’s victory became Brazil’s victory in a sense.  Argentina fans are not able to rub the salt into the wound anymore and many are making their four-day drive back home with a bitter taste in their mouth.  Either from the loss or too much cachaca.

James Young, a great writer for Sports Illustrated, quoted a Brazilian poet in his most recent World Cup article this morning.  Here is a link to the article: http://www.si.com/soccer/planet-futbol/2014/07/13/brazil-world-cup-final-germany-argentina-rio-maracana-memories

He used this line in the poem to sum up Brazil and the ending of this World Cup.  It is an interesting perspective.

“Sadness has no end, but happiness does. Happiness is like a drop of dew on a petal, it glistens quietly,” from the great Brazilian poet and songwriter Vinicius de Moraes.

And so it ends.  But for me it was just the beginning of a lifetime of World Cup memories and future plans to enjoy more World Cups to come.  Thank you Brazil for such a great experience.

Rio's Fan Fest

Rio’s Fan Fest

 

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The Cape: Lobsters, Whales & Soccer, Oh My!

Each trip to Cape Cod is different.  Some families go back to the same spot year after year.  This was our fourth trip to the easternmost part of Massachusetts and we are getting closer to finding that spot.  We were joined this year by old friends of ours from when we lived in Nashville, TN.  It was great to see them and since it was their first visit to Cape Cod, it was a lot of fun.

Chatham, MA, was our destination this summer.  It was our second time staying in Chatham and the familiarity was nice.  We knew the best spot to pick up lobster, some great kid-friendly beaches, a delicious pie shop and many other creature comforts.  The house was close to an inlet and had a nice view from the kitchen and deck.  The water birds enjoyed this inlet as much as we did.

Sea Heather Cottage

Sea Heather Cottage

View of the inlet

View of the inlet

There was a theme to this trip and it included four goals.  They were 1. eat as much lobster as possible, 2. go whale watching, 3. watch as much of the World Cup as possible, and 4. take the kids fishing.  Due to some stormy weather towards the very end of our trip we were not able to take the kids fishing which was a real bummer.  We scored the other three goals.

LOBSTER

This was probably the easiest task since we knew where to go to get it which is about anywhere on the Cape.  We book-ended our trip with two large lobster meals at the house and filled the other days with rolls, a seafood pie, and other lobster/seafood-themed meals.

2nd night

2nd night

6th night, look familiar?

6th night, look familiar?

WHALES

Our first whale-watching trip was in 2007 and I was curious to know if it would be a similar experience.  On that trip, there were whales everywhere, feeding and swimming like we were throwing plankton at them.  So we made our way back up to Provincetown for the second whale-watching adventure.  The kids were excited.

His first trip, pretty exciting

His first trip, pretty exciting

a 3-hour tour, a 3-hour tour

a 3-hour tour, a 3-hour tour

A whale!

A whale!

Thar she blows, captain!

Thar she blows, captain!

Back to P-Town

Back to P-Town

SOCCER

After coming back from Brazil just 9 days before leaving for the Cape, I was still in total World Cup mode.  I think it must be some kind of sports fever or something, but I have not been able to release myself from the grip of these games.  They have been so exciting.  And to think I was just there makes it too hard to put on pause.  And thank goodness for the WatchESPN app!  Not sure how I would have handled a trip like this without it.

There were so many great games during this week.  Brazil barely hanging on against Chile and Colombia getting past Uruguay happened on our first day!  I asked Lisa to drive so I could watch the Brazil-Chile game.  On our first full day, the guys left the gang on the beach to go to a pizza place with a decent bar to watch the Holland-Mexico game.  This was a tough game since our friend is Dutch and I have an affinity for Mexico ever since I lived there 25 years ago.  And I thought Mexico had it wrapped up until Holland showed up and stuck a dagger in my beloved “El Tri”.

The big decision, obviously, was where to watch the USA-Belgium game.  We found a spot on Main Street in Chatham.  I ended up speaking with two families there about Brazil and the games.  There were so many people there that were bandwagon fans.  And many left after the USA was down 2-0 and missed out on probably the most exciting 15 minutes of the tournament.  It was a tough loss though and one that I will never forget.

On our last day we watched the great games of Germany-France and Brazil-Colombia.  A great way to spend the 4th!!

Our Chatham spot for the USA game

Our Chatham spot for the USA game

Of course there were many other wonderful stories from this trip.  The beach days were fun with the kids who keep growing up so fast.  The nice meals with good friends.  And just relaxing and being away from work (again)…

The start

The start

Complete!

Complete!

Skaket Beach

Skaket Beach

Are you looking at me?

Are you looking at me?

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Negotiations

Negotiations

Our 4th of July T-bone feast

Our 4th of July T-bone feast

Ridgevale, the calm before Arthur

Ridgevale, the calm before Arthur

Some great memories were made on this trip.  The Cape has a way of etching them in under whatever circumstance.