Cincinnati, Soccer, Tattoos, and Belgian Waffles

Last year, my wife and I went on a short, weekend trip to Cincinnati for our second anniversary. While we really wanted to do something big, we were at a place in life where something short and sweet was required. Keep in mind, our son, Griffin, was only 9 months old, and anything away from him for more than a few hours felt extremely odd. Nevertheless, anyone that has kids knows the necessity of getting away, even if it’s only for a day or two. We settled in on Cincinnati because it was close (barely two hours from Indianapolis), and because it was only going to be a Friday night-Sunday morning kind of trip (we don’t like to travel far if it’s only going to be a short duration). We were newbies at parenting and those were requirements we put on ourselves for our first trip away from Griffin.

The first thing I’ll say about Cincinnati is that there was something comfortable about it, meaning it felt a lot like Indianapolis. It had a relatively big downtown, but not so big and congested that you couldn’t get to your destination within about 15 minutes, even with traffic. We enjoyed this primarily because I hate driving with traffic (I’m too timid) and Rebecca has….let’s call it a traffic induced temper (Don’t worry, I got approval to say that). Now, I won’t write this post and pretend that Cincinnati is the most gorgeous place ever, but I tend to see the bright side in everything, so that’s where my focus will lie. Honestly, you could stick me in a 3rd world country and the only thing I would see are the positives, but I digress.

First: FC Cincinnati.

The most memorable thing for me was my first ever MLS match! I watched a handful of matches in college, and I’d been to a few in high school (I was a rowdy “student sectioner”), but I’d never been to a professional soccer match. 2019 was FC Cincinnati’s first year in the MLS, and they had a home match that Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps. First and foremost, if you EVER go to a soccer match at FC Cincinnati, just know that you either need a VIP pass to park on campus (matches are played at the University of Cincinnati’s football stadium), or you need to get to the match somewhat early to find parking within a half mile of the stadium. We made the mistake of getting there about 10 minutes before the match started, and ended up parking on some obscure street about a mile from the stadium. Fortunately, we used a Bird (if you don’t know, it’s a ride sharing scooter that you can use in most big cities) to get from where we parked to the stadium on time for the start of the match. The fan experience was terrific for anyone that’s just a fan of sports, let alone avid soccer fans. Soccer fans are absolutely RABID, and that was on full display at this match. There was somewhat of a rowdier section behind one of the goals that had drums and chants going the entire match, and we were on the edge of our seat almost the entire time! Granted, it was a great match and neither team blew the other one away, so that helped, but even for a casual soccer fan like me, it was an amazing experience. If you’re a sports fan at all, this is a must next time you’re in Cincinnati!

Next: Our first tattoo.

Since my freshman year in college, I’d wanted a tattoo. Nothing fancy, nothing too big or showy, but just something important to me. I’d always heard that from the moment you first want a tattoo, wait a year and see if you still want it. Well, as of our anniversary, it had been 5 years and I still wanted one. But what would I get? It was fitting that Rebecca had also had a recent revelation about wanting a tattoo (she didn’t have any either), so we decided to get a couples tattoo while we were there. It seemed fitting, being that it was our anniversary and all. I remember the drive there, where for the last hour of the drive, I scrolled through pictures of couples tattoos while Rebecca drove. There were a lot of yin and yang type tattoos, almost like puzzle pieces that would fit each other, but were separated into two parts. We both decided on something that would commemorate our anniversary (August 4th, 2017). In short, we ended up getting Roman numerals on the outside of our forearms (mine is on my right forearm, hers is on her left). Here’s my advice to anyone thinking about getting a tattoo: 1) Listen to whatever your artist says about cleaning and taking care of your tattoo, and 2) You will want another one almost immediately! I’ve wanted a second one since the minute we left the shop! I’m sure I’ll get a few more on my right arm sometime in the near future, but just be warned about your new addiction! Also, we got our tattoos done at Mother’s Tattoo (this was in Covington, KY, literally 5 minutes outside of Cincinnati) and it comes HIGHLY recommended. It was ultra clean, and everyone there was extremely professional. Remember about the addiction part though, ink at your own risk!

Last: Belgian Waffles.

This was perhaps the best part of the trip because I had the best Belgian waffle I’ve ever had! I have to start this section off by telling you that I’m an avid Food Network watcher, more specifically, “Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives,” “Guy’s Grocery Games,” and “Beat Bobby Flay.” Since Triple D became my favorite show to watch, we’ve tried to find restaurants that have been featured on the show in whatever destination we go to. On this trip, we went to Taste of Belgium (Season 21, Episode 6 on Triple D). While I can’t remember what Rebecca ordered, I ordered the brunch burger (I’m salivating while typing this, just so you’re aware). On this burger was a sizable patty, an over easy egg, Havarti cheese, bacon, waffles as the bun, and a side of maple syrup. It was literally all the best things about breakfast and lunch combined together. I tried a bite of the waffle separate from the burger, and yes, it was (by a long shot) the best Belgian waffle I’ve ever had. It was extremely messy (mostly due to the thorough coverage of maple syrup), so I sat my pride down and ate this burger with a fork and knife, and I 100% do NOT regret it!

I almost forgot: where did we stay? We ended up staying in an AirBnb about 10 minutes outside of downtown. We’ve rather enjoyed using AirBnb since we’ve been married, mostly because they tend to be cheaper for what we need, and because we usually are out exploring the city we’re in instead of spending the majority of our time in the room.

All in all, this was a great trip for us, especially for that time in our lives. Griffin was 9 months old, and while we wanted to get away to be together for a couple days, it was difficult to plan anything more than a couple hours away in fear of something bad happening while we were gone. It will be a fascinating adventure to see how we evolve in our travels as Griffin gets older. He’s at an age now (17 months) where he’s starting to enjoy things other than eating and sleeping, so we want to be able to take him with us! Now, it’s just a matter of finding things he’ll enjoy that we can have fun with as well 🙂 We’ll get better at it, but the only way to find out is simply to just go and do! Hope you all enjoyed the Cincinnati recap! Seriously, go try Taste of Belgium…you won’t regret it.