Eurotrip v2.0 begins! Once again you could not sleep on the plane. New for this trip was Lacey! (whom you also kept awake). We started the trip with Paris, hitting most of the major sights like Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Moulin Rouge, Arc de Triumph, etc. We ate snails, crepes, French food, French beer, French wine, all of it. I engaged in some forms of Jackassery, and we had a decent little Air BnB in La Defense. We managed to see most of the town that we wanted to, even though the Louvre is overwhelmingly huge. Some how Jerry, you managed to get several destinations closed, but that just gave us more bar time. After a couple nights, we pressed on towards Belgium, a little tired but not too bad, and realized I forgot controllers for the Wii.
I have to admit that I liked Paris way more than I ever thought I would. I’d actually really love to go back again. We were basically sprinting through the Louvre trying to find the few things we really wanted to see. I could definitely spend more time there. And that Air BnB while small, had some great views, and wasn’t in a bad location. And I don’t know what I did to get everything closed down, but when I do something, I do it right, apparently. Remember those nice old Japanese ladies that shared their champagne with us at the Moulin Rouge? They certainly know how to pack people in to that place, don’t they? I still can’t believe you guys got me to the top of the Eiffel Tower. That was about 280 meters higher than I wanted to be. The food there, though. Man, that was delicious.
Some time while I was at Ft. Rucker for flight school, we started playing 7 Days to Die. Sure, we played some other games online, Halo 5, and all the other Halos that come between 3 & 7 Days… but we loved this tragically broken port to XBOX One. We could lose our bases to glitches, get pissed and start over. DOGS! AH! We recently transitioned to playing on the PC, and its way better. SHIT, A BEAR! But we’ve had some good drunk and sober fun. Irrespective of who may or may not fallen asleep and drove or flown into whatever lake or radiation zone. Just shoot me a text when you get home and I’ll boot up.
Around the time you started work in earnest on your Ph.D. [Ed.d, actually] and I started off to Flight School. In the next several years we each attained our goals. I was super proud when you graduated with your Doctorate in Education, and I like to take the smallest amount of credit for it because I forbid you a second Euro trip until completion, but we both know I would have relented. And I’ve gotten way more out of flight school than I anticipated. Black Hawks, King Airs and now jets. We haven’t done so bad for two proud Meridiots. Hopefully our efforts translate into big future paydays, but if not, NO ONE can take away what we’ve earned and accomplished.
An excerpt from my acknowledgements page of my dissertation:
To the colleagues, friends, and family who supported me throughout this process, provided words of encouragement, or an ear to vent, provided distractions, and kept me moving forward, thank you. I’m truly blessed to have so many people who care so deeply for me.
You are definitely one of those people I was thinking about when I wrote that. You get more credit in some of those categories than others, but my sincere thanks nonetheless. And yes, I’m sure you would have caved on the trip eventually, but it wouldn’t have been the same being greeted at the airport without those signs.
Last day waking up in Belgium hung over and driving with that super new artist (Macklemore) bumping in the background while we drove to the next major European city. We went to the oldest sailors bar in Europe, the oldest pub mainland and the bar with the widest beer selection in Amsterdam (although it paled in comparison to the Delirium). We also went to the Rijksmuseum, Konigsmuseum, Heineken Experience, and the Van Gough museum. But our best times were had as non-buyers in the red light district. We wandered the window shopping areas, but most importantly we found the Red Lion pub and made friends with the owner and his kids (who were working the bar) and sang Karaoke with them. No matter the day time adventure we went back to that Red Lion to sing karaoke and enjoy super cold Heineken and the freshest Amstel Light you’ll ever taste. Unfortunately, this was basically the end of the first overseas Todd trip.
It certainly gave me the bug to travel. Not so much in the US, but the yearning continues for a return to Europe. Thank you again. It was an amazing experience.
The second portion of your first European adventure. We left form Germany for a brief stop in France for a beer (where you insulted my French) and then a second stop in Luxembourg (again for a beer). We then proceeded to Brussels for a could short stops, and then to the Delirium bar. We drank at the tap room, we drank at the bottle room, and we drank in the basement. We made new friends, and you made up your mind that you could navigate back to the hotel. Three hours and multiple encounters after turning down a free ride, we convinced a cabbie to take us home. Less than 5 hours later I woke you to Harlem Shake and we went back at it. You felt terrible in the basement sauna and all the way to the craft fair. We went to the top of the Atomium (and you will deny that). We returned to the Delirium each night before going to our next location and I like to think this is where our true appreciation for beer comes from. Either way “Con los terroristas” and do the Harlem shake.
WE DID NOT GO UP INTO THE ATOMIUM THAT DAY. We tried, but it was closed. Maybe I did black it out, but I’m damn near certain that was the case. As proof, I offer this: You took pictures of damn near everything while we were out. On the DVD you sent me with all the photos, there are a few of me standing outside the Atomium (looking extremely hungover), and a photo of the Atomium looking up at it, but NONE from inside of it looking out. You totally would have done so had that been the case, as we did exactly that when Lacey and I came back and visited it in 2018. So again, I say that we never actually made it inside that day.
Your first trip to Germany! You didn’t go to sleep on the plane, and I kept you awake by taking you to a castle, a spa, and making you go on a run. Then we drank German beer and you went to sleep for the night. We drove down to Neuschwanstein & Hohenschawngau castles and you got beers in Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Germany. You also got to see German Alps and experience your first taste of the Autobahn. We saw a few things and then were back at the house for Deacon’s birthday before departing for our next legs of the trip. Also, although you deny it, you went out on that snowy bridge at the castle. I’m sure you had a fear blackout, but you were there.
I was SO tired, but I really enjoyed that first day. It might have even helped the awkwardness of walking around naked at the spa. I seriously thought my skin was going to melt off in that one room where they kept whipping those big ass leaves around. Suiting up and walking over to kid-friendly area to hit up that water slide was a blast. The castles were amazing. One of the things I remember most was upon leaving, we wanted our Mt. Dews to be colder, so you stuck them on the first windshield of your car and drove with them there. It worked, but we were damn lucky they didn’t fly off and hit the cars behind us.
OK, after looking at the photo evidence, I must admit that you are correct. It was the same bridge as the one we were on in 2018. However, they definitely repainted it, and we did NOT take the same route to it the first time, since we had to cut through the woods as it was supposed to be closed for some reason. I don’t mind admitting I was wrong, but I just hate saying you were right…
Of course I’m referring to Nike Run. It’s actually not that terrible. It’s gone through highs and lows, much like our activity on it. We’ve had about five different run competitions and numerous challenges and haven’t found a better app to track our runs. The competitions have been fun up until the inevitable injury. Fortunately we’ve been able to recover after each injury to face off again for bragging rights, beer, candy, or whatever was wagered. Now we’ve been on Nike Run so long we can’t start over elsewhere and I get to humblebrag by posting runs around the world. I think it’s time for a run…
You definitely win the award for most countries with a 5K. I’m hoping that one day soon I can get back to where I was at when we were competing. The injuries, and subsequent weight gain have me basically starting over. My 5K times are shit, even on a treadmill where it’s easier on my knees and ankle, and I still have to stop multiple times. I’ll get there eventually, and maybe we can come up with another competition.
This definitely happened while you were at the Airport house. I decided to charter a fishing boat and thought it would be a great time. We also thought of all of us (Randy, Troy, Eric, me, you, and my Dad) sleeping in his motorhome would be worth the savings. As usual, beer was involved. Although I don’t think any of us were drunk. Neither of us slept much because of Randy’s snoring and our laughing hysterically at that, random farts, etc. We laughed at Troy telling us to stop laughing. The next morning we set off early looking like death. We didn’t catch many fish but still had a good time.
Another Tom and Jerry giggle fest. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone snore as loud as Randy, even with sharing a room with my uncle growing up who used to snore so loud he’d wake himself up. I felt nauseated most of the morning on the boat, right up until I got to reel in a fish, and then the adrenaline helped. That was also the first time I was so far out into a body of water that I couldn’t see the shore in any direction. I can still hear Troy yelling “seriously guys, knock it off!”
I mean, they’ve always beans reason to drink. They are what we were watching at BWWs before we left. We needed something (probably more beer) from Meijer on the way home. However, upon exiting the mall parking area, you misjudged the proximity of oncoming traffic. You then overcompensated for it, floored it, and jumped the curb. “Oh Shit! Jerry, you’re driving on the sidewalk” were my words. We watched the rest of the game on your phone in the WalMart tire shop while they replaced your tire that you blew while jumping to the sidewalk. I’m pretty sure the Lions lost and we drank more after we made it home to your house.
If I recall correctly, Lacey had asked us to stop at Meijer to pick something up (we had plenty of beer at home). I ran in to buy whatever it was while you finished putting on the donut so we could drive next door to WalMart. You left out *how* we watched the Lions lose on my phone while we waited. We FaceTime’d with Lacey and had her prop her phone up facing the TV, since we couldn’t find a way to stream it directly.
The joy of getting my ass whooped in a 30 year old Nintendo game. That is the joy of visiting JT’s bar and pool hall. We end up playing quite a few games of Tecmo. We end up drinking too much (or just enough) beer. We also play a bunch of games of pool, darts, and whatever else we can find on your arcade emulator. Fortunately when we play, I only have to walk to one end of Birchview or the other… because time travel may have occurred on several occasions. I’m certain you won more games than me, but I also know you are a dirty cheater. or at least that’s the story I’m sticking with.
Think all you want, but I’m simply better at that game. I do love that someone keeps updating it every year with new rosters but keeping the exact same game play. I’d buy them a beer if I knew who they were. I do believe that last time we got out the actual Nintendo to play and then you blamed the controllers…