Next time a German says your spelling of “Czech” is dumb because it has “cz” in it, remind them that they spell it with three, yes three “tsch” clusters.

I stopped on the way from Cinque Terre–great if you want to relax and do nothing for several days, but after the hike and some kayaking I got kind of bored and left the next morning; extremely beautiful, though–to Berlin at Kaiserslautern to be there for the US-Italy match, which I won’t go into here because I could bitch for far too long. Anyway, I ended up being awake for just over 60 hours on my way from Italy to Berlin, 50 of travel and 10 or 12 of seeing Christian for the first time in two years. That was a lot of fun, though. Frankfurt Hbf is apparently the place to spend the night if you have a giant backpack. I’d say there were 200 people sleeping on their packs around the station. I also had to go through Hannover, but didn’t leave the station, so I can’t say much about that.

Yesterday I snagged tickets to the Iran-Angola game in Leipzig tomorrow, which means Leipzig has just been added to my itinerary, and I had to lose a day in Liverpool. (It cost me more to change my flight to the next day than it cost to get the ticket in the first place. But it was still slightly cheaper than buying a new one.) All in all it’s costing me about 250 euro to see the match (115 for the ticket + 10 fee + 125 to change the flight) but that’s a lot less than what I would’ve paid for the US-Italy match (around 400 cheapest) and this ticket comes legit from FIFA. Plus, it’s “Category 1”, which means somewhere along the touchline, between the goals, and only row 6 of the 2nd block up. Look for a lone “Dutchman” in bright orange. That will be me.

It’s hard to get a real taste of Germany with all the tourists. I intend to come back. The Eurail Pass covers all the high-speed ICE trains (up to 330km/h!) without even need of a reservation, so it’s absolutely free (though for a specific seat you can pay a 3 euro reservation fee). So I’ll come back with a new Eurail pass and discover the whole country. It works on so many trains here they’d probably take it on the U-Bahns.

So tomorrow to Leipzig, the next day to Liverpool, a couple days later to Dublin and a bit after that? Home. Really feels like hitting the home stretch. I think that feeling will get more acute once I hit an English speaking country.