When we lived in Ireland, good friends Mike & Patrice were our frequent co-conspirators on many an event. From pub crawls & lacrosse events to crazy trips and awesome adventures.
Mike & I coached UCD and played on Dublin together as well as Team Ireland. Our ladies came along on the big trips and the four of us conquered many places together including Helsinki, Tallinn, Bruges and Waterford.
We discussed all the places we had been and one night we made a list. It turned out we had all been to many places, around 25-28 countries each.
From then on it became a game. A contest. An obsession.
Mike tried to play it off that I was the one being competitive....then he booked tickets for him & Patrice to spend one day in Norway. He also argued that countries that no longer exist can not be counted, thereby erasing East Germany and Czechoslovakia from my list. (Later reinstating East Germany when his State Union of Serbia & Montenegro came into question)
Then one weekend they snuck off to Andorra...yes, Andorra in the Pyrenees Mountains. The competition was heating up with Patrice being the most country-visiting-rabid of all of us! They make formidable opponents. They recently also flew off to Tunisia making the first African appearance of our motley crew..
Upon arrival in Austria, Kelly and I hit the ground running knocking off Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia in short order. Kelly hopped over to the Czech Republic recently and we're back in the race.
A recent tally shows the leaderboard:
Chris 34 countries
Mike 33 countries
Kelly 32 countries
Patrice 31 countries
All in all good fun.....until I talked to Mike last week. After a pleasant phone call of catching up he says he has to go and then says "Oh and I had one more item I forgot to tell you about....on Friday week (the friday after next), Patrice & I are headed off on a little trip. We're going to Riga (Latvia), St Petersburg (Russia), Minsk (Belarus) and Vilnius (Lithuania)....HOW YA LIKE ME NOW ! BOOO YA KAAAA SHAAAA"
Touche' Michael Kennedy, Touche'...and damn you all to hell!
I am now kicking this competitiojn into a little thing we call overdrive...my new motto comes from Conan the Barbarian. When asked what the best things in life are, he responded :
To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you and to hear the lamentation of their women.
Next month Kelly and I are off to Turkey for Thanksgiving. Hopefully I can find a shuttle bus or something to take me to the Greek and/or Bulgarian borders. I am also just waiting for a spare day when Kelly & I can hop on the train to Liechtenstein...thats right Kennedy, LIECTHENSTEIN ! I'll also get to the Ukraine if I have to skateboard there.
Stay tuned people, this is gonna get ugly.