VIDEO AWOL and Her Monster Jam

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We have traveled with our friend AWOL from Suburbia Roller Derby a couple of times.  We traveled to Muir Woods in California, rode bikes around ancient ruins in Thailand, and floated down river together in Laos.

But once you get AWOL on the floor at a roller derby bout in Yonkers, all pleasantries are abandoned.  She is likely to knock you onto your tailbone or to fly around you half a dozen times like you’re standing stationary.  On this video AWOL received perfect blocking and one teammate was kind enough to smash an opposing player to the ground near the end of the jam.

The ladies are skating this Saturday, June 15 at EJ Murray Memorial in Yonkers, NY.

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AWOL cleans up well for her derby bouts.

Photos: KSC Football and Beer Fest in Karlsruhe Germany

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Germany is a large country unified by love of football and guzzling of beer.  When we visited our friend Lord Ax Hooper in Karlsruhe he delivered hefty heaps of both football and beer all on one afternoon  We originally met Lord Ax in Banos de Santa Agua, Ecuador while on our career break from teaching in NYC.  We traveled to Latacunga with the Ax-Man to take video of La Fiesta Mama Negra and Señor Hooper also counseled me on the benefits of acupuncture for my injured knee.

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The Karlsruhe football motto is “You’ll never walk alone”. These are comforting words for traveling nomads.

Reuniting with Lord Ax Hooper in his hometown of Karlshruhe Germany

Eleven months later we met the Lord in his hometown of Karlsruhe and he showed us around a swath of the southwest region of Germany.  We took a taxi to the Wildpark Stadion  where  the local team KSC was hosting FC Saarbrucken.  The visiting team hails from an interesting region of Germany.  In 1935 the residents there voted on a plebiscite and 90 percent of the resident decided for reunification with Germany while only 0.8% were interested in calling themselves French.

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Karlsruhe football supporters at the game against against SC Saarbrucken.

But who cares about FC Saarbrucken.  World Winder supports KSC.  Also known as Karlsruher Sport Club, the team lives by the motto “You’ll never walk alone”.  This fits in well since we are backpacking travel bloggers.  Our team defeated the visitors from Saarbrucken 3-0.  The game was held on September 2, 2012 and the attendance was approximately 14,317.

There was no sign of aggression or violence and security at the game was well-armed and intense.  So don’t be worried about hooligans or anything like that.  We witnessed nothing other than sport loving fans eating plates of curry wurst and washing it down with beer.  Armed guards seemed to outnumber sausage chomping fans, but that’s probably because I was staring at their shiny guns.  We cheered with local supporters as our squad extended their lead.

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The goalie makes a save

After the game we followed a knowledgeable group on a hike to an international beer festival by the castle.  Karlsruhe is one of nine cities across the country to hold this annual festival which serves hundreds of beers from over 70 nations.  I learned that even if you are at an international beerfest you’ll still get perplexed looks from locals when you grab a non-German liter of beer.  As the sun started to dip low, a balloon floated skyward.  We sipped beers hailing from the Romantic Road to Berlin and Croatia to Belgium while daydreaming about winning scores and steady pours.

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After the game we followed a crowd and walked to a nearby castle for an international beer festival. Mel sank her jowls on a fish sandwich.

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Fans enjoying a beautiful and a 3-0 victory at Wildpark Stadion.







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We enjoyed our time in this less touristed area of Germany in the Southwest.



Super Bowl Themed Photos at the Hall of Fame

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World Winder is back in the states for our favorite sporting holiday.  We missed two full NFL seasons while traveling through South America and Europe on our gap year adventures.  Now we are back in New York for Super Bowl Sunday.  We’ll watch Melissa’s beloved Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens run the ball against the defense of the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

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Stare into the bling of a Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl ring in Canton.

Being home for the Super Bowl is awesome

It’s the time of year where passionate fans from rival football clans get together and put differences aside in pursuit of the perfect dip to chip ratio and deft tv commercial analysis.  Fierce fantasy disputes take a backseat to pre kickoff wagers and everyone at the party is hoping for their numbers to come up on 10X10 box pools.  Even Mardi Gras gets shifted aside when the Super Bowl comes to the Superdome.

This year’s Super Bowl will take place on Sunday, February 3rd 2013.  It is the 47th Super Bowl (XLVII).  The game will be played in the recently renovated Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  It will be the tenth time the city has hosted the National Football League’s final game of the playoffs.  Halftime acts seem to be shifting from the rocking and wrinkled acts of past bowls and toward the soulful and smooth likes of Beyonce who will be holding the mic this weekend.

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The Super Bowl is watched all over the world.

More on our series on NFL football

If you are going to watch the game and want help understanding football or want to learn about football and travel, these links might be helpful.  Part 1: guide to the basics of American Football  Part 2: understanding  football  Part 3: Photo post of the football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio  Part 4: Photo Post of attending Chicago Bears and Rutgers Bowl Game  Part 5:  Where to watch football in Cusco, Peru  Part 6: Where to watch football in Lima, Peru


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Melissa caught football fever as a student at Rutgers. Ray Rice playing in the International Bowl in Toronto

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Mike Ditka won Super Bowl XX as coach of the Chicago Bears.

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The Vince Lombardi Trophy goes to the Super Bowl winner.

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Facts about the Lombardi Trophy on a wall at the football hall of fame in Canton.

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The football Hall of Fame makes for a great road trip stop. There are many kid friendly exhibits.





Red Bull Flugtug in Lima Peru

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For most travelers a visit to Peru wouldn’t be complete without a stay in Lima.  Sprawling with neighborhoods as varied as bananas in a market, the Peruvian capital is home to over 8 million people and a myriad of haute cuisine eateries, high-end shopping, and all-night clubs.  During the day, snack on caramel delights called tejas.  Stroll through the Miraflores district and watch the world go by.

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We headed to Callao for the Red Bull Flugtug with this crew of new friends.

We visited Lima last year in the heat of their summer.  Our first stop in the capital was to the offices of a helpful organization called the South American Explorers Club(SAE).  We had already visited the SAE Quito office while traveling in Ecuador.  We were eager to find out what information and events the Lima branch had available to wanderers and expats.  After taking a tour of the facilities we somehow managed to attach ourselves to a group of residents/volunteers at the SAE.  They led us on a collectivo and bus journey to the shoreline at Callao.


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A craft flies off the pier toward the Pacific Ocean

Red Bull Flugtug in Callao

Once in Callao we headed to the rocky beach to enjoy the Red Bull Flugtug Lima.  A flugtug is a competition where teams create their own glider planes and costumes.  One brave pilot sits in the makeshift cockpit as his friends run wild, pushing the plane toward the end of a pier.  From the shoreline, spectators gaze as planes fly off the pier and gravity hurls each craft into the unforgiving Pacific Ocean.  The vessel with the best distance wins but teams with great pre-launch dance moves can earn style points.

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Red Bull sponsored cars lined up in Callao Peru




We sat with the SAE crew watching cardboard and piping crash into the sea enjoying the hilarious scene.  The SAE Lima branch became our home away from our homestay.  We used the space as an office, searched for volunteer opportunities in Cusco, and even celebrated my birthday at SAE Lima.  If you are spending an extended amount of time in South America, consider a membership with the South American Explorers Club.


Where to Watch the Superbowl in Cusco

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Good news for sports crazed NFL football fans traveling in Peru.  It’s possible to catch the upcoming divisional playoffs, conference championships, and this year’s Super Bowl in cities across the country.  Four teams rested last weekend, having secured first round byes during the wild card round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs.  They’ll each host a game this weekend.  When in Cusco it’s possible to find a great spot to catch some games.


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Catch the games in Cusco and try a Cusquena beer.

Where to watch NFL football in Cusco, Peru

A year ago, Melissa and I were traveling through Peru for two months.  We explored the ruins of Kuelap, rode a dune buggy in the desert and had a ceviche making lesson.  Then we concentrated on something real important.  Where would we live during crunch time of the NFL season?  We decided to live at a homestay in Cusco that we found on AirB&B, took Spanish lessons with Mundo Antiguo, and volunteered for Aldea Yanapay.

On the weekends we’d head to Cusco’s Plaza de Armas.  Many sports pubs dot this historic spot.  Norton Rat’s Tavern, Paddy’s Irish Bar, and The Real McCoy were our favorite bars to meet fellow volunteers or travel buddies who were passing through Cusco while Melissa and I lived there.  I gave our new friends lessons on the basics of football and understanding how to watch the NFL.


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Catch these teams at Cusco’s pubs.

Watch NFL playoffs at Norton Rat’s Tavern

Norton Rat’s Tavern is by far the largest of the sports pubs we frequented.  They have dartboards, and at least one pool table, so there are games to play during halftime.  Norton Rat’s Tavern is located at Loreto 115 on the second floor and offers a full menu of bar favorites and a wrap around oval shaped bar.  Televisions are scattered throughout Nortons Rat’s which is decorated with colorful sports memorabilia.  An outdoor balcony offers panoramic views of the Plaza de Armas and the small roads that lead to the steps of the Cusco Cathedral.


Line up the pints at Paddy’s during the half time show

Paddy’s Irish Bar is the highest Irish owned pub in the world.  The altitude in Cusco can take your breath away and effects from alcohol are magnified at high elevation.  So be careful to drink slowly.  Paddy’s is at the corner of the Plaza de Armas at Calle Trinufo 124 on the second floor.  The bar is sectioned into two rooms with televisions scattered around.  They boast curries, Irish Breakfasts, and shepherd’s pie to go with your Cusquena beer or Jameson on the rocks.


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Backpacking in Peru didn’t prevent us from catching the end of the football season.

Chow down on dinner specials for a tailgate at The Real McCoy

According to their facebook page this restaurant will be closed until March 1st.  The Real McCoy is a treat for hungry stomachs and travelers who need information on Cusco and beyond.  The English pub has a varied menu which kept us coming back to their dining room.  The Real McCoy is located at Calle Plateros 326 on the second floor (you’ll have to go through an outdoor market).  They probably won’t have the NFL action on when you arrive but ask the friendly staff to find the game on their satellite television.  They were able to find me the Baltimore Ravens playoff game last year and I watched Ray Rice run all over the field as I ate a hearty roast dinner with trimmings.  The restaurant hosts a frequent pub quiz and offers a book exchange and newspapers to read.

All three of these pubs were located near Cusco’s Plaza de Armas where Melissa and I spent one crazy New Year’s Eve.  They are all located on the second floor and have English speaking staff.  Click here for information on a pub in Lima to watch the NFL games.