Wednesday, September 15, 2010

West Virginia, Mountain Mama, Take Me Home.......

This past weekend was the 9th year since Sept 11, 2001.  Now instead of giving you all a story about where I was when the planes hit the towers I wanted to do something a little different.  As our country goes through some growing pains (after all, in the grand scheme of things America is the global equivalent of a teenager) I wanted to tell you a different sort of story.

A few years ago "pterodactyl" and I went on a trip with a couple of friends we knew through the Navy.  We flew space available (a.k.a- on a military cargo flight, by the seat of our pants) out to Germany.  After we landed we promptly grabbed a beer and a brat at some random train station vendor then we went our respective ways with the plan to meet back in Fussen to see the Neuschwanstein Castle, spend a night in Munich then make our way back to the air base in Ramstein to wait for a flight back.

Now this was back in the day when I panicked about vacations.  My parents are not huge travelers so I always grew up with the assumption that the opportunity to travel only came along once or twice, so when I got the chance to go somewhere I adopted a "you can sleep when you are dead" philosophy.  This was no exception and I over scheduled our trip.  So by the time we met up with our friends towards the end of our vacation we were delirious and exhausted, but, in the best way possible.

The four of us went and saw the castle that inspired Disney and it was great.  Then, we all headed back to Munich, found a tidy little hostel where all four of us could share a room, and promptly made the requisite trip out to the Hofbrauhaus.  We settled into a giant table and ordered beers and let the night begin.  Eventually we started chatting with the group of guys that sat at our table, all friends from random places in northern Europe who played cards together.  As the night wore on and the beer hall got louder we started to pay attention to the polka band that was playing.

I have known various people who have done an extensive amount of traveling and say that one of the best moments in your travels is the moment you get back, get your passport stamped, and the employee stamping your passport says, "Welcome home."  And that is a really damn good moment.  However, sitting in the beer hall in Munich, I believe, will forever be imprinted in my brain in a way that outshines that moment you leave the international terminal at the airport.

As we sat there in Munich, in the giant beer hall full of drunk folks from all over the world we heard a familiar tune.  The polka band had started playing "Country Roads" by John Denver.  And even better, the entire beer hall started singing along.  I can't exactly explain why or how, but hearing couple hundred  intoxicated Europeans sing a song, heavily accented, about West Virginia made me really happy.  Happy that I was there witnessing a positive and unifying American mark on the world (however small and trivial it might be) and happy that, out of all the places in the world, I got to come home to here.

In other news:

New photo post here.

Also, I will be taking the rest of this week off and should be putting up my next post next Tuesday.


  1. First of all, Take Me Home, Country Roads is, and always will be, one of my favorite songs of all time. I love John Denver and cried every day for 2 weeks straight when he died. Love him and his music.

    Secondly, the fact that you heard it in Munich? From a Polka Band? And everyone sang along? AWESOME.

    Also, oddly enough, this song has a really good beat for running (at least at my slow pace...)

  2. I read your story which really interesting I like it your post. Well, have you visited Luray in Virginia? If not so I’d recommend you visiting there and get a taste of its outstanding places like Luray Caverns and Shenandoah National Park etc. I’m sure you would definitely re visit there.

  3. this was a awesome experience you faced in the other is just a amazing experience that all tourist want to be,when they travel in different country.specially i want to face such condition during my traveling.

  4. Loved this post! Thanks for bringing back my own memories of Oktoberfest @ the Hofbrauhaus singing (screaming?) at the top of our lungs to whatever the band was playing! lol

    On my previous trip to Germany, after a long night of drinking, "Country Roads" is exactly what the Germans sang! I think it's a national fave for them :)

  5. A great post! I love the part about the germans singing "country road." that's a classic! Nice photo also..

    My family never went on a single vacation together, so I know what you mean. It took me a while to catch on that they were really good.