Woke up in: Hamburg
Went to bed in: Munich
Postcard: Shawn Bennani doesn't have tickets, but he didn't seem to care.
He came to Munich from Manhattan for the atmosphere, which was in once-in-a-lifetime form at the world famous Hofbrauhaus, near the Marienplatz in the city center.
Backed by the house Blaskapelle band, the assorted fan groups got throaty on the eve of the tournament -- a night where hope spang eternal:
"Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole... Ticos... Ticos"
"Mex-i-co, ra ra ra."
"Aus-sie, Aus-sie, Aus-sie... Oye Oye Oye."
"Ooooooh... pu-san Ko-re-a!"
Draped in the Stars and Stripes, Bennani posed for photos and sang arm-in-arm in the brewery with fans of at least seven other countries -- Germany, Costa Rica, Mexico, Australia, South Korea, Portugal and Brazil.
And during one lull in the singing, Bennani and corps began a respectable "U-S-A!" chant which was well received both inside the brewery and on the outside patio.
"It's awesome," said the 23-year-old, who was traveling with four co-workers from his Manhattan public accounting firm. "It's been nothing but fun. There's no anti-American sentiment."
Although, the American abroad had an awkward moment while attempting to phone home in a shop owned by an Iraqi on the day U.S. forces succeeded in killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
"I walked in and it was just awkward," said Bennani. "He told his brother in Arabic, 'There's an American in my store wearing a flag,' "
Bennani, whose father is Moroccan, told the shop owner that "all Americans don't always agree with everything their government does."
"Then we went our separate ways," said Bennani.
On to the festivities of the Hofbrauhaus, where Germans and Costa Ricans shared songs and beer one day before they open Group A play against one another at the Allianz Arena.
"This is awesome," said Bennani. "These two teams are playing tomorrow and they're doing this."
-- Joe Curley is covering the World Cup in Germany for the Star. He can be reached at jcurley@VenturaCountyStar.com. View his blog at http://blogs.venturacountystar.com/vcs/worldcup.