From Argento's Transylvania to Hitler's Hofbrauhause, a European tour proves interesting beyond the gigs.

Matt On Italy - Feb. 17

We played our first club date ever in Italy that night (as we've only just played two festivals in Bologna in the past) in Milan, and had a great time. Everyone -- including us -- was very excited and seemed to have a blast. We were pleasantly shocked at the turnout/response.

The venue itself was a treat to play, as it was opened by famous Italian horror film director Dario Argento, whom we admire greatly. The venue is called Transylvania and is decorated in all things macabre (i.e., human skulls, vampire bats, spider webs, etc.), the inside is painted entirely black, and behind the bar hangs a huge portrait of Mr. Argento. Needless to say, we felt very at home. Everyone at the club was very hospitable and sweet.

After the show we embarked on a 10 hour drive to Munich where our next show was to take place. Our bus driver, Frank, is a great driver and a very nice guy. He's a big, handsome biker looking chap that used to be a sniper and a tank driver for the French Army.

Matt On Germany – Feb. 19

After our sound check and interviews, a few of us headed into the Bavarian city center of Munich to check out the beautiful buildings, monuments and streets that had survived the Second World War -- it was breathtaking.

We visited a famous public house (enormous drinking establishment) called Hofbrauhause, which is a very popular place to drink enormous beers and sing and dance in Bavarian tradition. It also served as the location of Adolf Hitler's very first impromptu public speech that began with him jumping up onto a table and firing a pistol into the air to get the attention of the Hofbrauhause's patrons. It is considered by many to be the birthplace of the Nazi party.

The place itself was very overwhelming. The environment inside was very loud and jovial. There was an "oompa" band playing in the traditional Bavarian attire, and there were waitresses there that were spitting images of the "St. Pauli Girl."

We took some photos and left before too long and headed back to the venue. The show that night was incredible once again and it seemed that all enjoyed themselves immensely.

Europe has become a place that we've grown to love dearly, and as the crowds grow and we make new friends, we have to pinch ourselves at times to make sure that we're not just dreaming.

Read Alkaline Trio'sprevious entry.