Seeing as how our first day of this trip is really lost while en route over the Atlantic, I will use this opportunity to introduce the characters in this spirited adventure and why we are attempting this trip.
We've kept our group very small to maximize the chances all participating parties will return alive, so there are three of us and that could very well be too many. There is myself Mike, Technical Services Manager/Webmaster/"knower of all things beer." My jobs involving documenting the trip, arranging our lodging (I'm just going to apologize for that now), and act as a reference as I'm the only one whose been to this side of the Atlantic before. Joining me is my older brother Doug. Doug is, well..., Doug. His job is to make this trip interesting. Technically, he is our Assistant Store Manager and Director of our Beer and Glassware departments. Also joining us is Doug's wife Sabrina whose principle job is to keep the rest of us out of trouble and take purty photographs.
The title and theme of this trip maybe "Doug and Mike's Drunken Europe Trip '99," but the true scope of the trip is purely educational. Doug and I read, hear, and preach so much about the wonders of good European food and beer, we just had to travel half-way around the world to experience it first-hand. We have plans to visit at least eight breweries whom we have working relationships with, but in addition we plan to soak in plenty of culture to help all the pieces of the culinary puzzle fit together.
With all that said, let me fill you in on Day 1's trials and tribulations. Day 1 will be, by far, our shortest and uneventful day (ironic that it falls on the longest day of the year.) We started the day off in Chicago where we left our car a friend's house. After waiting for nearly an hour for our shuttle to pick us up, we were off to O'Hare airport. We made a short flight to Detroit and then the long flight to London's Gatewick airport. That's it. That is Day 1. Wasn't that exciting. Because of all the funky time zone changes (there are six) Day 1 ends a bit abruptly. I can assure you, that Day 2 is far more entertaining...especially when you've been up for almost 29 hours straight.