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The Bachelorette in Antigua

“It’s absolutely breathtaking…”

“Like, this place is gorgeous…”

“This is built for love…”

“Everything about it really sets the tone for romance…”

Or heartbreak? Hot-tub makeout sessions? A proposal? We’ve heard this all before. It’s the 9th season of the Bachelorette, and they have the formula down pat: 25 potential suitors + beautiful backdrops = recipe for true love, or at least guilty-pleasure TV. Desiree didn’t have quite the globetrotting season that Emily Maynard did, but she still swept away her bachelors on some pretty amazing vacations.

Atlantic City, NJ: Early in the season, the bachelors checked into the penthouse suite at REVEL in Atlantic City, where they enjoyed AC’s finest saltwater taffy, the Steel Pier amusement park and, of course, beachfront sunsets with Desiree.

Munich, Germany: First stop abroad was Munich. Think: sausage, lederhosen and sledding down the highest point in Germany. The crew spent a night in igloos, but the rest of their stay was at the 5-star Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten.

Barcelona, Spain: In Barcelona, Desiree’s entourage checked into the top floor of the beautiful Melia hotel. The guys even got a chance to try to score on Desiree when they took the field at the RCD Espanyol for a game of futbol.

Madeira, Portugal: On the beautiful island of Madeira, they made themselves at home at the Quinta de Lorde resort. What’s more romantic than taking a toboggan ride down a narrow street and kissing on “Cloud Nine”?

And if you want the Bachelorette treatment (while avoiding the casting couch) enter ABC’s sweepstakes for a romantic trip for 2 to Antigua, the Caribbean escape where the final episodes will take place. This winner will receive a 7-day of all-inclusive accommodations and luxury spa treatments at Galley Bay, St. James Club, or the Verandah.

(Don’t ask us why the final rose ceremony isn’t rumored to take place at St. Anne’s Point. But who are we to complain about Antigua?)

For more vacation highlights, check out “As Featured on The Bachelorette.”

Often times there’s rarely a real connection between an athlete and a specific sports travel destination. More than any other player on the US Women’s National team competing at the 2011 FIFA World Cup, Ali Krieger feels quite at home in Germany, the host country for the tournament.

Krieger for three of the past four seasons has played for a German professional club, FFC Frankfurt. The World Cup championship match on Sunday between the US and Japan will be played in Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt. FFC Frankfurt, with Krieger on the roster, plays their home matches at the stadium and won the women’s European club tournament there in 2008.

Krieger admits she endured a challenging transitional period adjusting to the German culture when she first joined FFC Frankfurt in 2007. In a recent USA Today story, she lamented the Germans’ blatant honesty.

“In the U.S.,” she says, “if you make a mistake, we say, ‘Nice try.’ In Germany, they’re like, ‘Oh my God, you (stink).’”

She elaborated on that thought at a teleconference from Frankfurt on Thursday.  “They tell it like it is,” she says. “I would take things too personally, but I’ve grown used to it and I like it. I had to find a happy medium and grow some thick skin.”

Krieger hopes to show her US teammates around Frankfurt before the game on Sunday. And she hopes her familiarity of the country and its culture will improve her comfort level as the Americans try to win the tournament for the first time since 1999.

Krieger famously converted the penalty kick that clinched a shootout win for the Americans over Brazil last weekend in a quarterfinal match. It will tough for her to match those heroics in the final on Sunday.

Krieger can certainly claim one triumph off the soccer field. She has grown comfortable with the German culture and has learned things about the Germans that can help any traveler who plans a trip to the country. “The people in general are nice, punctual people,” she says. “They know what they want and how to achieve it. They’re very competitive. That’s similar to our culture.  If they can’t do one thing perfectly, they won’t do it at all. They’ve very organized, and I like that.”

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