Star studded Stuttgart

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
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33
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Trip End Dec 01, 2006


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Friday, June 23, 2006

Stuttgart this time around was something else. Australia advanced to the next round in the world cup and I experienced my most luxurious CouchSurfing experience to date.

I arrived in Stuttgart with my accommodation already sorted, except I didn't know where I was staying. I called Ken, my host, to tell him that I had arrived in Stuttgart and he instructed me on how to get there and said that the receptionist will let me in. At the time I thought this was his little joke about finding the key waiting for me. When I got off the station and followed the directions, I came to a four star hotel. I talked to the receptionist and she gave me a key to this room. I go up to the room and I dump my stuff. Later in the night when Ken comes home from work, I find out that he actually LIVES at this four star hotel long term and they let him have guests for nothing occasionally. Ken and I chatted over dinner and drinks at this Irish bar downstairs, which he kindly payed for.

The next day was my chance to discover Stuttgart, but because I had partied so much in Munich, I decided that I would devote the day to being lazy inside this little paradise of mine: it isn't every day that you get to live inside a four star hotel when you are backpacking. I am used to sleeping on floors and on trains and buses - a little bit different. So, I just spent the day lazing about on the internet, taking intermittent walks around the hotel complex, which was rather large and had spas and sauna and casino and restaurants etc. - your typical hotel/resort set up. That night, we were due to receive two more guests in the room - two Croatian dudes. Given that there was the biggest game of the world cup for both of these teams the next day, there was going to be a good rivalry there in the room. When they arrived, they were chatting to the driver who picked them up from the airport and they gave him the impression that Ken was RENTING the room out to them. The driver told this to the general manager of the hotel and lets just say that he wasn't very impressed. I think the two guys said it best when they realised what they had done "Stupid Croatians". Even though I know they didn't mean to do anything bad, and for that reason I can't really blame them, they made a big mistake that put our gracious host in a hot water. He apparently can no longer host people, so that sucks.

Anyway, Ken had a CouchSurfing in Heidelberg (about one and a half hours drive from Stuttgart) and we went to meet up with her and her mates. We were to meet them on the grass in front of the river where they were having a picnic of sorts. They had brought some conga drums, a rattle and a cow bell along to make some music. To cap it all off, they had a hacky-sack. Unfortunately, none of us were very good at the game and so we put it away and starting hitting things (drums). We tried to get things going between the five of us, but it only worked for a couple of minutes - oh well - we were having fun. On the way home, I fell asleep in the car - not so hard when it is a nice Mercedes with all the comfortable seats and what-not. Fortunately I wasn't the one driving when I fell asleep. When we got home, the Croatian guys were still there and so Ken let them stay the night.

The next day was game day. I spend the morning eating the unlimited cooked buffet breakfast at the hotel and getting ready for what would ensue in the evening. When I got on the train to go to the city centre, I realised that I had forgotten my camera. Back I went 20 minutes on the train and then back to the city again. It wasn't such a bad thing because I met this nice American couple who worked on the Army base as a teacher and child care worker. We went out for some late lunch/early dinner and some beers. They were nice enough to buy me some - yay! We parted ways at about 7:30pm so I had an hour and a half to get to the stadium. On the train on the way there, there was light-hearted banter between fans with singing and appropriation of songs. Good times - we could all see that this would be a fun game, even with so much riding on it.

The stadium of this game was rather crap - from our seats, we would have been about 100m from the pitch, and we weren't even that far back! The stadium had originally been mad with a running track for athletics, so there was a lot of dead space there. The game started badly for Australia with a free kick going into the net after two minutes. Even though this was crap for the team, it ignited the stadium, literally, and the crowd was really into it for the rest of the 90 minutes. By ignited literally, I mean that there were flares lit in the crowd - I know, you would have never guessed that Croatians would light flares at a game - the world never ceases to amaze me hahaha. I'll skip the rest of the game except to say that Josip Simunic, who plays for Croatia despite being born and trained in Australia, was given three yellow cards before he was sent off. This is impossible under normal circumstances as you can only get ONE yellow card before you are sent off for the whole match. The referee was a retard. It has since been noted as the "worse refereeing display ever in a world cup match". Not bad - he should put that on his resume. After the game, when we knew we were going through to the next round, we stayed at the stadium for two hours chanting and singing and drinking and generally going nuts - you may or may not have seen this on television. Good times to remember. I also met there this bloke called Kyle Patterson who I used to watch religiously on SBS's Sunday afternoon soccer show 'On the ball'. He now has a portly beer gut - oh how far he has fallen hahahaha.

Nothing else noteworthy happened in Stuttgart and I am going back to Kaiserslautern now, but before then I will make a two day stop-over in Heidelberg. I like it.

Ciao
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