Thursday, October 27, 2011

Da Bears

OMG. I had one of those Christmas morning/kid-in-a-candy store/grinning ear to ear/ fun fun fun fun fun evenings the other night.

On a beautiful autumn evening I went to Wembley Stadium

To see the NFL!!!!!!!!! It was Bears versus Bucs at the NFL game in London. Whoop! Whoop! (even writing this blog makes me happy). Was it a little taste of home? Was it just great to be at an NFL game again? I don't know but I had a such a good time.

 Maybe it was having a hot dog? Yes, this is my first hot dog in three years. They even had onions on it! Even though the stadium was branded with Bud Light, I had to settle for the stadium beer of Carlsberg. That's okay. Beer and a hot dog while watching a sports match? Almost close to heaven......

It didn't hurt that I had great seats. Row 14, in the corner of the end zone. All the throwing touchdowns and big interceptions happened in our end. They must have known I was there.

 As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave up their home game, the entire stadium was branded in Red and White. They handed out flags to everyone and the stadium was dripping in Tampa Bay gear. I have to say, the crowd responded and when Tampa Bay had the ball, not many people were cheering for the Bears.

 There were still plenty of fans though. Da Bears Da Bears Da Bears. Sausage. Ditka.

 A few Packers fans as well.

 Saints anyone?

Or how 'bout Dolphins, Iowa Hawkeyes, Bears and Bucs? Seriously. Every American football fan wore their jersey to the stadium. It didn't matter who was playing, everyone came to enjoy the NFL.

Still lots of Rome to organize. The weather has been gorgeous here in the UK so I haven't been able to shut myself in the house and get organized. Soon soon soon... but in the mean time, I'm grinning like a cat.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean?

I'm in the middle of trying to merge my photos with Radhika's so I can put some good posts together. As usual, it is taking longer than expected....

In the mean time, I'll share this statue from inside a church. Looks a bit more like the Pirate ride at Disney than it does a saint. You make the call.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More Roman ruins....

.. but guess where I saw them this time!!

I took a quick weekend trip to Rome (who says that?!?!!) and did some exploring with Radhika. I've got some fantastic photos and you'll be very sick of them after about 8 posts. My obsession with statues went a little over board. Who can help it when you come to this town? Now you'll have to see me whine about organizing my photos for weeks. In the mean time, here's the Coliseum.

It was seriously cool. I have to go watch Gladiator again it was so cool. Here you can see the underground paths and rooms where they staged everything before moving it up to the main floor.

Nope, not the Arc de Triomphe, but similar. We had two days of lovely sunshine and three nights where we drank some good Italian red wine. Not to mention some rest stops along the way for a bierra or prosecco or two. Sight seeing in that town is tiring work!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Roman Ruins... in England

Good friend Radhika came to town and so we spent a gorgeous day exploring the Great Park.

At the back of the park are a set of Roman ruins. It's quite interesting to come around the lake and see them sitting there.

The ruins have a little bit more significance in the next post. You'll see why soon.

Rumor has it they filled parts of Harry Potter here...

Lastly, I tried to get Tucker to pose for a Christmas photo with me. He was having none of it. Oh well, we had a nice time running through the park, exploring the ruins and then stopping for a pint. More photos soon - I have lots from a quick weekend trip with Radhika. Whoop! Whoop!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Alpe d'Huez.. after the race

The weather has turned cooler here in jolly old England and autumn has finally arrived. Since our record heat wave is over, I thought I'd finally post the other summer time photos from my camera. Here are some of the post race photos and although it only looks like we spent all our time on bicycles, I can assure you, we spent plenty of time eating and drinking too. :o)

After our post race celebrations and then being spectators for Gervase's race, we head out for a gentle ride out of town and through the valley. A nice wide bike lane (not that one of these exists anywhere in England) has John doing his Sound of Music impression.

 We even convinced Paul to get back on his bike again. Although he was a bit grumpy, I think the beers and the descending cheered him up in the end. Here the gang climb out of the tunnel and up, up, up....

 .. and away.  Paul and Gervase are chugging along.

 Working our way up the valley.

 At our first rest stop - this one for coffee - I decide to step in front of the camera for a change and pose by the dam. Please ignore my helmet hair. Thank you.

The view from the coffee shop. It's lovely, but would be nicer if we were water side and didn't have the parking lot in the way. Oh well, at least you can see through it!

 John and Beth did some shopping while we were out there and show off their new look. I think they still thought they were in Italy....

 Sadly, you can't see the tiny mountain village in the background. If I ever find some time to re-do the blog, I promise MUCH larger photos. Maybe when I take some time off at Christmas?

 The lunch/beer stop is at the top of Deux Alpes ski resort.

 I couldn't resist the view from my chair. Love the blue sky and white puffy clouds. Now, this might be old hat for the Americans, but we don't get this view in England very much.

At the end of lunch, the group checks in with the electronic age. As Beth indicates, now that we have climbed, eaten and quelched our thirst, it is time for a nap.

Lastly, we weren't the only people enjoying Les Deux Alpes.... apparently the slopes were open too!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In France.. Alpe d'Huez - before the race

Yes.. here it is October now and I'm finally sharing some July photos. I'll get there eventually..... I'm using my lunch hour to try and get a post out rather than get some work done. I'll pay for it tonight but at least y'all know I am still alive.

As mentioned previously, I went back to France to race in the Alpe d'Huez triathlon. I'm trying to get some photos of the race so you can see that I really finished. It only took me 9 hours, but I finished. However, before the race, we enjoyed the scenery and scouting out the course. This year, we stayed at the base of Alpe d'Huez and looked up to the climb. 

There was plenty of parking and lots of bikes.

These boys are just in front of our house, about 1/4 mile from the start of the climb. Thus no helmets. Now, I would never ride without a helmet but I can understand why they don't have one on. I think I averaged about 9 mph for the whole climb. If you crash, you are going very slow. But I'm still never riding without my helmet.

The top of the second climb during the race. Of course, it is brilliantly sunny on the day we rode it for pleasure. On race day, it was peeing down with rain. Notice the traffic? You can barely get your bike on the road....

Now that Beth and I are at the top, we need to pose for a photo before going down. I think I only pedaled for about 50 ft once I got going. Just brilliant.

I stole this photo from someone else. Thought you'd like to see photos from the third climb in the race. This is from one of the bends on Alpe d'Huez. We scouted this climb as well. Even though it started out sunny.......

... by the time we got to the top it was wet and windy. Therefore, arms and rain gear go on, and the we hide in the pub. You've got to have some reward for riding your bike for over an hour up a hill. Next up: post race and possibly race photos. I bet you are on the edge of your seat. ;o)