If you have read my blog before you know how much I love to travel. This is all thanks to my wife, because even before we were married she showed me how enjoyable it can be to travel. Part of the joy that I have in traveling is meeting new people, learning new customs, experiencing new things, and trying new foods. Part of the reason I enjoy going to Europe is for the history and how similar, and yet different these countries are from America.
A perfect example is the game of football. While they carry the same name, football refers to two different games between the United States and Europe. In Europe “football” refers to the game we (Americans) call soccer. In Europe there is no game like American football. While the two games are very different, there is one common factor between them. The passion that the fans have about their teams. And this comes through whether watching the game in your local pub or bar, or sitting at the game watching it in person.
This past week I was lucky enough to experience American football in London when the Philadelphia Eagles played the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Eagles have been struggling this year, like a lot of teams after winning the Super Bowl the year before. This game was no different, but at the end of the game they were the winners with a final score of 24-18. It was an incredibly exciting game, and our seats were good enough that we were sitting quite close. The pictures below were taken with my iPhone and I did zoom in, but hopefully this gives you an idea.
Truthfully, as incredible as the game was, the really special part were the people that we got to meet. I sat next to a Minnesota Vikings’ fan, and there were also fans of the Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, Greenbay Packers, New England Patriots, and other teams. Everyone was incredibly friendly – no matter which of the two teams playing they were rooting for. This was a Jaguars’ home game, and they had a lot of fans there, but everyone really got along quite well. And the fact that this game had a record attendance of more than 85,000 people didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm.
Before the game, Christine and I had a chance to talk to a some British fans who were there as much to enjoy the game as they were to root on either of the teams. This also gave me a chance to see some of the foods they eat at a game – like a two foot long sausage with pulled pork and macaroni and cheese. Throughout the day before and for a couple of days after we ran into Eagles’ fans who never shied away from a chance to give the Eagles’ chant. Even at a showing of Hamilton (the musical) we went to see on Monday night.
I took the opportunity this trip to get a haircut and cut-throat razor shave at Ruffians. And we also took a tour of Parliament, the Banqueting House, the Queen’s gallery at Westminster Abbey, the British museum, and after a tasting at Newby Teas a tour of the Chitra Collection. This was a special showing of a private collection of tea pots, cups, and full services. The collection was amazing and a special opportunity being able to visit it. And then we capped off the visit by celebrating our Anniversary with a formal, afternoon tea at one of our favorite hotels – the Savoy.
London and the UK are one of our favorite places to visit. But, it is traveling in general that Christine has shared her passion for. It is the opportunity to learn about new things, new people, foods, and seeing new things. As long as we have been drinking tea, I learned new things about the differences in teas – like the exclusive white teas or green teas. I also learned about the shadow cabinet positions that the Opposition party holds.
I don’t know where our next adventure will take us, but I am looking forward to it. Our vacations may not always be relaxing, which is just fine since it means we are experiencing new things. I don’t know if I would have ever had the chance to experience some of these things, but I will be forever grateful that Christine chose me to share it with. You may never thing you have the time, or the money to travel, but I will always recommend it. Every time a vacation ends I am happy to be home, but I am even more happy to review the photos and be reminded of the experiences of that trip. I hope you can find the opportunity to create your own adventures.