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Badgers, Badgers, Everywhere: Europe

Badgers in Europe.

Eiffel Tower


I graduated the UW in May 1995, and two months later, I found myself working as an intern at a bank in Basel, Switzerland. I left our office building for lunch one day and ran into a guy who looked very familiar. By the perplexed look on his face, he thought I looked familiar, too. It turns out we attended a German class together in Madison. We never managed to meet up, but it started my trend of friendly Badger faces in Switzerland. A couple years later, I would venture out on my own to WCHA all-star men’s hockey games (with Jeff Sauer as coach) and sat with the other fans who wearing red, of course. It's amazing how the university ties work. I'm still in Switzerland, and wearing Badger fan gear every football/hockey weekend is still a great conversation starter. On Wisconsin!
Maureen Schlosser ’95
Horgen, Switzerland

[It was] 1979 while skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland, I got in the gondola and standing next to me was a guy with a Badger hat. He had retired there, and was living the “good life.” I only regret that I did not or cannot remember his name. Another time was when I lived on my sailboat in the Bahamas (1989) and met a fellow sailor at Staniel Cay.
Rick Frederick ’66
Loudon, Texas

While recently vacationing in Portugal, my wife, Bonnie ’77, and I were walking along the Douro River in Porto when we were treated to a greeting of “Go, Bucky” by a couple of UW alums who were sitting at an outdoor cafe on the riverwalk. I was proudly wearing a UW shirt and Rose Bowl cap at the time. We had a similar encounter several days earlier in the medieval town of Aveiro! It's always a treat to encounter the “Bond of Bucky Brotherhood” no matter how far we roam.
Jim Klamik ’75, MD’79
Elm Grove, Wisconsin

I have found over the years the best way to meet other Badgers is by wearing clothing with one of the many available Badger or UW logo designs; my choice is a red visor with the Motion W, which I put on often in our current hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. Whether I am here at home, or in Park City, Utah (our choice to escape the heat of the Arizona summer, or visit snow in winter), I am constantly approached by other former Badgers who want to say “Hi” or share a story. Likewise, I am always on the lookout for other similarly attired Badgers.

I have had two recent, international experiences meeting Badgers who identified me by seeing my Motion W visor. In July, 2016, my wife, Leslie, and I and two of our Amalia and Kaila were traveling in southwest Norway. We were near the town of Tyssedal (about 3,900 miles from Madison) to do a hike to Trolltunga (Troll's Tongue — seems that trolls are an important part of folklore in Scandinavia), a beautiful rock formation. Now, this town is accessible only by car, and even then, is not easy to get to. The hike itself is about 27 kilometers round-trip, with an elevation gain of about 5,000 feet. As we approached the top, we came upon a crowd of about 30 people, all waiting patiently to have their picture taken while standing out on the "tongue". As I waited my turn, a young man ahead of me saw my visor, and immediately asked the question, "Did you go to Wisconsin?" When I answered in the affirmative, we struck up a brief conversation, including “Where are you from?” (me, Waukesha, Wisconsin; him, Hartland, Wisconsin). He then asked if I would take his picture, and I obliged. We chatted for a bit while we took in the incredible scenery, before heading back on the return hike down.

In June of 2017, Leslie, Kaila, I, and our third daughter, Maya, took a trip to South America to visit Machu Picchu (4,000 miles from Madison). Donning my trusty red visor, I was greeted with a hearty “Go, Badgers” by a young woman as we hiked from the SunGate at the end point of the Inca trail down toward the main archeological site that is Machu Picchu. The following morning, while hiking the narrow peak of Huayna Picchu that is adjacent to, and provides incredible views of, Machu Picchu, I was greeted similarly by a young man and his hiking companion. He was a UW alumnus and school teacher in Alaska who was traveling on his summer break. We got to chat quite a bit about memories of the UW, the Memorial Union, and Madison while negotiating the steep, narrow trails of this mountain and pausing for breaks in the thin mountain air at 8,000–9,000 feet. We said our goodbyes as we arrived back at the base, but I won't forget passing the time with a fellow Badger in such a spectacular setting. I've attached a couple photos of from these adventures.
Brian Frohna ’83, MD’88
Paradise Valley, Arizona

It was in 2007, and I was on a tour of Poland, the Czech Republic, and other Eastern European countries. We had left Krakow, Poland, and were going to spend a few days in Warsaw prior to seeing some of the camps that were part of the Holocaust. A number of my fellow tourists joined me on a walk to one of the plazas in Warsaw, and we decided to pick a restaurant from one of the many choices. Just as we got in line, who should come out, but Bruce Bachman ’56, a fraternity brother of mine from the 1950s at Madison. He was a few years older than me, but we spent some time discussing why we were both at this place at the same time. He also was on a tour sponsored by the Jewish United Fund, and I told him why I was there. It was quite an interesting experience meeting someone who I knew and both of us being so far from home.
Joel Wineberg ’59
Wilmette, Illinois

In my freshman year, I took a very challenging biology class and had a really nice, young woman as a lab partner. We did a great job dissecting a rat, and in the summer of 1971 toward the end of a six-month trip to Europe, I ran into her in Amsterdam at the American Express office where I was picking up my mail. We had a brief reunion, but I never thanked her for her contribution to my passing that tough bio course. A couple of weeks later, I ran into a guy on the street in Oslo who was on my floor in Sellery Hall freshman year.
Bob Fogel ’68
Potomac, Maryland

Walking across the fabled Chain Bridge connecting Buda with Pest across the Danube, my wife and I passed two gentlemen leaning on the rail surveying the spectacular scene. I wore a red wind shirt with a small Motion W logo. As we passed, one of them said, almost under his breath, “Go, Badgers!” Later, on the Pest shore, another stranger stopped to tell us he grew up in Green Bay, attended Wisconsin, and remained a staunch Badger and Packer fan in far off Hungary.
Paul S Counsell ’58

In September, 2017, I was on a cycling trip in the Piedmont region of Italy. On September 27th, I cycled into the piazza in Acqui Terme, an old Roman town, for lunch. Before I could get off my bike, I heard someone yell, “Hey, Badger.” I turned and a guy with a UW ball cap came wandering over. I was wearing my UW cycling jersey that day, which has Bucky on both sleeves. He was on a gourmet eating trip across Italy, and wanted to take a photo of his wife with Bucky and the big red W. After the photo shoot, we exchanged pleasantries, and where we live (he in Naples, Florida; I, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), and then they ran off to catch their tour bus. This is not the first time my Badger cycling shirt has been a magnet for other alumni. A few years ago while vacationing in Florida during March Madness when the Badgers were on a winning streak, people would pass me in cars, or while walking, and yell, ”Go Badgers!” Everyone who cycles should have one of these shirts!
Barry McPherson PhD’72
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

At Charles de Gaulle airport [in Paris, France].
Leila Belakhdar ’95

I was on a backroads bike trip along the Rhine River last June with my wife, Susanne, when I met Jim ’78 and Mary Crist. It turned out they were also Badgers. It also turned out that both Jim and I brought our Wisconsin bike jerseys. Pictured are Jeff Lyons ’78 and Jim Crist ’78 in the Alsace region of France. I currently serve on Board of Visitors for both L&S and political science.
Jeff Lyons ’78
Ross, California

So, we are at Newgrange, an archeological site in northeast Ireland. We're in the line waiting to go in, and I'm wearing my Motion W cap. As we pass the people coming out, I hear this: “Go Badgers!” This Badgerette wants to sing “If You Want to be a Badger” with me. Actually, on our trip to Ireland and the UK, I got Badger salutes six times.
And here's a weird one. We went to the theater last Friday, and this couple sits down next to me. I'm wearing a green windbreaker, but it's not a Packer coat, and I'm not wearing anything else Badger or Packer. The woman says “You are not a Packer fan, are you?” I confess that I am and so is she and we are both Badgers, but I'm a bit stunned as to why she would approach me just because I was wearing something green. And the kicker: they were in the wrong seats. If I were a religious person, I'd be convinced that god is a Badger who brings his followers together.
Bruce Greenlee JD’79
Richmond, California

My wife and our two small children were enjoying a driving vacation through Tuscany without making any advance hotel reservations. We arrived after dark in the hilltown of Cortona, made famous by the author Frances Mayes. We pulled into a local hotel and were pleased to discover they had a room for us. We were directed to an elevator and as the elevator passed one of the floors we heard a large group of people singing our time-honored Varsity! At first, we thought it must be jet lag playing tricks on our brains but we later learned that it was a UW alumni group enjoying the last night of their tour of Italy over dinner in the hotel's restaurant.
Mark Lange ’79, MS’82
Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

I encountered one fellow badger (that I knew!) on a scenic overlook in a tiny, cliff-side village called Ronda in the south of Spain.
Marissa Beste ’14
Carol Stream, Illinois

As a high school teacher, I used to take my students on trips to Europe with one of my colleagues. Once we were in Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre region of Italy's Riviera. Our large group of students and a few parents were massed waiting to go out on the trail to walk through to the cities of the coast. I spotted a couple from the UW [the fella was wearing a T-shirt] and I approached them. We had fun sharing stories and they posed for a picture. I keep my Flat Bucky with me on these trips so he has his own little photo album. Another, we were in Florence, Italy, in the Piaza della Signoria walking with our students, and I looked up and saw my friend Nora. We had both been in the classics department, she a grad student and I an undergrad. I dropped back from the group to catch up with her to find she was there for school. We reminisced for a few and then on our separate ways. My students could not believe I ran into someone I knew on the street in a foreign country. It was quite a surprise.
Greg Oppel ’95
Edmond, Oklahoma

Badgers Are Everywhere

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