Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Euro Tour 2011: From The Colosseum To Stonehenge

Ok, so it's been a couple of weeks since we got back from the Old Continent, and I've finally recovered. What an insane trip it was. The great You Suck Corrales (pictured above), and myself, took in several football games, and were even shut out of getting into one, all during the space of 10 days. We overextended ourselves with our original itinerary, and there were a few more unforseen problems along the way, but what a learning experience it was. Matter of fact, as a public service, I'll share some of the wisdom we acquired:

First, never land in the UK with a massive amount of cigarettes or you might get into more than a bit of trouble with Her Majesty's Customs. Second, if you plan on attending a Serie A game (in Italy, of course), always book your tickets in advance, as a ticket must have the holder's name on it and he/she must show ID at the gate. Third, never schedule a game-a-day (or more) for the length of your Euro trip or you might have an exhaustion induced nervous breakdown. Last, never, ever, go to Colchester.

That said, we did take in some great (and not so great) football action. The highlight (for me, anyway) was the great Premier League encounter between Arsenal and Everton (my video above). It was my first time at the Emirates, and sitting right next to the Everton traveling support made for a great atmosphere (as they wanted to fight everyone). That, and a great Arsenal comeback (from being down 1-0) to win the game (with Arsenal-style beautiful football), by the score of 2-1. After the game, I was even interviewed by someone from winkball.com. You can check out my photo set from this one by clicking here or you can click here for the slide show.

A highlight for the great You Suck Corrales was our trip to Reading. There, we got to watch his favorite English team, Queens Park Rangers, take on Reading FC at the Madjeski Stadium. 10 man QPR won the game 1-0 and, barring an epic collapse, are surely going to play in the Premier League next season. This NPower Championship game was televised and, afterward, we got to see ourselves on Sky TV several times, as we were sitting right behind one of the goals. You can check out my video, from this great day out, by clicking here. You can click here for my photo album or click here for the slide show.

Other trip highlights include our trip to Birmingham, England's Villa Park (above) to see Aston Villa vs Fulham (on the day that the EPL wend mad with goals), our sightseeing tour of Italy, where the RBNY flag flew at several famous sites (and where we couldn't get into Napoli's Stadio San Paolo) and our stop at Stonehenge, the iconic stone monument that's truly in the middle-of-nowhere. You can click here for my Aston Villa/Fulham video (click here for the pictures), click here for my Italy video and click here for my Stonehenge video, with a small bit of Bristol Rovers vs MK Dons (the worst game I've seen in Europe on my five trips there) at the very end.

The remainder of our trip included stops at the aforementioned Colchester, for the dreadful Colchester United vs Peterborough game (pictures here), and a stop at Brentford, for the much better Brentford FC vs Yeovil Town (pictures here).

Massive, massive thanks to our hosts in the Croxley Green suburb of London, Kevin and Emma, who gave us the use of their guest house for the length of our stay. As an aside, it turns out Emma is quite an acting talent who should really be in Hollywood or, at least on Coronation Street. Massive, massive thanks also to the great Jeff Lancaster for the drive to and from Gatwick Airport, his expert knowledge of Italy, for hooking me up with a great Arsenal ticket and the access to the Supporters Pub. One last video of final thoughts, and that's it. Until next time. Viper Out!
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