Monday, July 10, 2006

Auf Wiedersehen Berlin...

It is 0600 hours on Monday, July 10th. We are doing our final packing and will be heading to the airport in a few minutes to make a connection through Frankfurt to take us home. I have more stories to bring you about this great adventure and will fill you in about the LOC party, a visit the Chancellory of the German Republic, the last days for us in Berlin and naturally the Final match.

The recording of all of that and some other earlier entries will have to wait until I am across the Atlantic and comfortably at home. I will then bring you those pictures and anecdotes as I have throughout this great World Cup. Auf Wiedersehen Berlin. Auf Wiedersehen Germany.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Dinner with Donna...

One of my all time favorite people is Donna de Varona. For soccer people, I will describe Donna as the Chairperson of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup USA. For everyone else, I will describe her as the lovely two time Olympic Gold Medalist who won the 400m Individual Medley and the 400m Freestyle Relay in 1964 at the Tokyo Olympics. For people interested in justice, I will tell you that Donna was at the front of the pack pushing the U.S. government to adopt Title IX, a law giving equal benefits to women athletes. She was also a founder of the Women's Sports Foundation. For those interested in broadcasting, I am proud to describe Donna as a lifelong TV personality who created a place for women in sports broadcasting and demostrated that she could do it all when it came to creating programming, interviews and hosting shows. For those of you interested in the future, Donna continues to be someone to watch since she is always in touch with what is happening and has the stature to lead those looking to do good.

Donna arrived on Friday morning, July 7th, with her husband of 20 years, John Pinto (who is a lot of fun). The good restaurants around the city had been booked for weeks but we were lucky that they made a place for us in the Lorenz Adlon, an incredible French restaurant on the the second floor of the Premier Kempinski standard bearer hotel. The view from the window was a panoramic view of the Brandenberg Gate.

I must admit that the food offerings exceeded the view. First were two tasting menus. The seasonal of five courses; the other with seven. If that didn't ring your bell there were two full pages of a la carte dishes. We didn't opt for the tasting menus but decided to do a traditional appetizer dishes and a main entree. The wine choice was tough, since there were so many to choose from, but I managed to find one that everyone liked and we polished off three bottles while digesting a really great meal.

During the day I got a message from the producers of Lynne White's WOR "drive time" Radio Show, to see if I could do a 4:10pm New York time live interview about the World Cup. That meant it would be around 10:00pm locally here in Berlin, right in the middle of this great dinner. So, with some good planning, I was able to leave the dinner table for the 15 minutes needed to do the radio show and returned just before the main course arrived.

Mary Lynn and I devoured chocolate souffles, while John, Jason and Donna did their own thing finding delicious choices on the menu. As soon as we finished, I headed back up to the room and a good night's sleep while the quartet headed out to the street to catch some of the flavor of the Fan Mile. More fun tomorrow.