Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Trade

There is a first for everything . Yesterday I left the Rainman AllStars team to play for the Slovakian Bulldogs who apparently I was supposed to play for anyway . On day 1 I was gonna play their first game and skip the second one to go find The Whiskey Robber ( yes I'll write about that later) there is a girl goalie they used in my absence and she's keen to play but isn't that good :( so the Slovaks aren't really interested in using her . 

When I woke up I told Rainer to tell her she will play for him and I will play for Slovaks ... After all i paid and she didn't ! I met the Slovaks in hotel lobby and they were excited that I would play for them as it was a decisive game . Regardless they qualified for playoff because 1 team from their group dropped out . They won second game 19-4 with the girl goalie and now had to play Rusich from Russia with the winner getting bye to quarter finals and a later start . 

When we got to the ice after dressing the girl goalie was there ??? Ok well the guys told her she wasn't playing but she still came onto the bench expecting to play LOL ... I absolutely stood on my head ! Breakaway saves , one timers , even drew a penalty late in game when I stepped to top of my crease to take a hit ;) yeah it was awesome and we won a tight game 3-0 , yes I got a shutout ! 

Everyone was so happy then when I was getting off ice the girl goalie asked if she was playing next game ???!!!! Really ? Wtf are you blind and deaf ? No I'm playing ! As I said that I told her she is playing for Rainer in next game ... She didn't show up for that game until halfway through . What a retard ! No offense to the mentally disabled :) 

I felt bad that I abandoned Rainers team but I had too . There is no way I was gonna pass on an opportunity to play for a team with a shot at winning not after spending so much money and travelling so far so really I could care less if this girl goalie is upset . After Rainers game I bought a round of beers for the guys as they got smoked 10-2 :( they had a 3 on 3 game vs a television crew and then I had an interview for Servus TV . 

We hung out with the Norwegian Penguins and I had the honour of working their bench in a friendly game they played against a Finnish club from Turku . Great guys also ! They gave me a ride on their team bus back to the hotel and I ate and called it a night . Big games today so I wanna be fresh . When I went to bed Rainer was in his bed and when I woke up at 4 AM he was gone ? I found Mr.Backpass in the hotel lobby coming home around 6 AM as I had to go get another room card ... Rainer took mine ! He said he was with Rainer but lost him . It's now 9:30 AM and still no sign of Rainer ....

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Santa Claus Cup

So here is the low down . Yesterday we a
started the tournament and headed to the arena for our first game after having a great breakfast at the hotel ... Radisson Blu Beke which is a great hotel ! Our taxi driver was hired by Rainer but it doesn't seem to be such a great deal but it is what it is . There are a lot of shady characters in Budapest and taxi drivers are definitely included . Our first game was against a Romanian team and my team was mostly drunk . Yeah not too impressed :( 

We started off strong scoring the opening goal but after that we seemed to just cruise and we started to fall apart giving up the first goal on a screened one timer from the point . Defense is not our specialty . We went up 2-1 then the craziest shit happened ... I left the puck at the side of our net for a player who I can only explain to be a disaster ! He either lost it or passed it out front for their player all alone in front of goal :( they tied it up then we took a few penalties and actually got a couple break aways which they scored on one of them to go up 3-2 .... With a minute and a half left I started waving to the bench and nobody even responded ??? Do these guys even want to try to win ?!?!? I don't think so ... At the 30 second mark I made the mad dash and nobody responded and in fact I don't even think anyone jumped on ... What a disaster this team is ! We gave up an empty netter and lost 4-2 . The guys weren't even upset , in fact they were laughing and joking which really pisses me off ! I said if things don't change then I will switch teams as there is a serious team from Slovakia begging me to play for them .... They asked me to give it one more game so I did .

In between games I decided to drink some beers as I took the teams stance on not giving a shit about winning but really I want to at least compete . So we have to play a team from Lyon but for some reason I don't hear these guys speaking French ? It's weird but this tournament is so disorganized that it's normal . I will get into that later ... For now we had to play this Lyon team and of course it was the same shit again except my team was drunk and not hungover . We can control the play except for this super weak player on the team that can't take or make a pass ... Really if you are shit then why are you playing tournaments with high level players ? Apparently Rainer thought he would be good based on who he said he has played with ... Heard this story before :( anyways we did ok but this weak guy just isn't making my life easy on this team . We gave up a few breakaways again which I would stop the first shot then the trailing player would pick up rebound for easy goal due to our lack of defensive play ... Yeah I don't have tine to waste talking about how shit we played on this loss ... It was 4-2 at the end and I give up ! Last night after this game I decided to switch teams .... I will now play for the Slovaks who want to win and have a good chance to do so , good luck Rainman Allstars I am done playing this tournament with you guys ! Trade me right fucking now ;) 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Country #29 ... Hungary

Yesterday was a good day ;) Rainer arrived around 9 am but was dead tired which was just fine as I had planned to go for a skate on that monster rink near Hero Square with my buddy Zoltan . So around 10 am Zoltan came by the hotel and we headed off to the rink . We took the subway which is really old and super small . This rink near Hero Square is one of the oldest and largest outdoor rinks in all of Europe and man it was awesome . It costs 2000 forints which includes locker and deposit for the plastic card which is 500 forints . 2000 forints is under $10 Canadian so after getting deposit back it sets you back a whole $7 cdn ;) well worth it though ! Skating there with this giant castle there as the backdrop is pretty awesome. ! 

After our skate we headed back towards my hotel which is near where Zoltan lives so it's perfect for both of us . Rainer is not sleeping but instead on the phone which is ringing off the hook since all teams are showing up today . He's a busy man since he organized everything for  6 teams at this tourney but finds time for a nap as I write my blog . When he awakes we went to an all you can eat buffet which is dirt cheap and down the road , yeah I ate my fair share LOL ! 

We then went to the mall to meet some pro players that play for local club UTE which is the same team Attila Ambrus aka The Whiskey Robber played for .Karol Csanyi ,Miroslav Durak and Jozef Mihalik sat with us and we joked around telling hockey stories while sitting in the food court ... They even offered to give us tickets to their game on Sunday which  I definitely want to go to but were more intrigued to hear about the whiskey robber ;) their coach had played with him so they got his phone number for me regardless I will leave my team mates tomorrow to go find him ... Apparently he is selling ceramics in a town about 100 km away from Budapest in a Christmas Market and Zoltan has offered to take me ;) yeah I know crazy eh ! 

We came back to hotel to visit our buddies from the Norwegian Penguins and they were having a full blown hotel room party . I had a couple drinks but kinda wanted to stay a big sober as I had to split a game tonight with some girl goalie for Slovaks vs Norway game which was a friendly warmup . When our team mates from Finland showed up with Mr.Backpass we had to jump in their van and head to the rink . 

Here is where it gets silly .... The Norwegian Penguins wear white , the Slovak team wears white ... Rainer told the Slovak guys that they will have Rainers jerseys available and yeah it was quite childish when these guys started crying that they wanted to wear their own jerseys , it was pathetic ! How can one team want to wear their jerseys so bad that they would rather play with same color as opposing team ???? It was like a ten year old throwing a tantrum :( I honestly didn't want to play ... Shit like this turns me off big time ! Just before the game started then decided to put Rainers jerseys on but so reluctantly. I started the game made an awesome glove save on a breakaway and pretty much didn't have much more action after as these Slovaks are good and the Norwegians are wasted ;) I let in one goal and then let the girl goalie take over ... She got lit up and the Slovaks immediately asked if I could play for them . I told them I can only play first game , they asked why I couldn't play both and I explained I must leave the city in search of The Whiskey Robber ;) 

 I had a couple beers and we came back to hotel where we were gonna meet our team mates . When I was out front of hotel this scabby looking chick approached me and asked "do you want cigarette ? " I said no then she calmly said " you want sex?" Ummm no . I couldn't even fathom which diseases were crawling around her body :( I wouldn't stick my worst enemies dick in that lol ! After that I grabbed a gyros with Rainer and Mr. Backpass who finally showed up and we called it a night . 

I should probably get some food now since I have a huge day ahead of me ... Searching for Attila Ambrus ! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Road to Budapest

Yesterday I had to leave Belgrade and caught the 8 am bus for Budapest . When I got to the bus I dropped my bags and heard someone say something about my hockey bag . It was these 2 Serbian speaking Australians travelling around Aleksandar and his mom (Vera?) hope I got it right ;) I was short on dinars and Aleksandar actually tossed me 100 which is like $1.25 cdn to help out and I sat near them on bus since they just glowed with awesomeness ! We even made friends with the fellow behind them that we called Ferrari whose name is Simic . It was fun ! Chatted and laughed the whole ride and when we stopped after the boarder they even bought me a coffee ;) 

When we arrived in Budapest we were stopped at the side of the road in front of stadium. ?!?! Not what I expected and none of us had forints so we walked into the station down the road and nobody spoke English or even Serbian :( we stuck together helping each other and then Aleksandar found us a money exchange and a bank machine . They all took transit and I took a cab so we parted ways but I hope to see them again this weekend if we can . You guys are awesome. ! 

So I found a cab and probably got ripped off but again I don't give a shit . Paying 7000 forints to get to hotel seems cheaper then Toronto cab prices anyways and there is no way I'm dragging my bags onto transit bus or train anywhere in the world . When I got to the Radisson I dropped bags grabbed a gyros down the road and met fellow HC ambassador (Hockey Community) Zoltan Sos who is also an IIHF ref/linesman and we went for a coffee . 

Have you ever heard of The Whiskey Robber ? Well the above pic is taken in front of one of the shops he had robbed ;) it used to be a touris bureau shop . Zoltan knows I am keen to find and meet Attila Ambrus and in fact has met him before actually during the period of his life when he was playing for UTE and robbing banks !!! He didn't know at the time that even one of his coaches was an accomplice and told me a ton of intetesting stories . It won't be easy to find these guys apparently but at least I got to see one of the places he robbed and actually we walked into a shop beside and met the old couple that owns shop ..  They were in their shop the day he robbed their neighbour ;) they were smiling as they told Zoltan the story in Hungarian . Cool ! 

We walked over to the main square where the city rink is ... Everything is so beautiful here with amazing architecture and cool statues everywhere you look . But this rink smashed it all .... Apparently it's one of the biggest , oldest , outdoor rinks in all of Europe . Right in front of a castle that is a replica of a castle from Czech Rep . Earlier on Zoltan asked if I wanna go for a skate , I said no thinking it would be some rinky dink ice rink but as soon as I saw this I knew I made a mistake . It was breath taking ...  

There is a bar there so we grabbed a couple beers and hung out watching people skate as we talked about Hungarian hockey . All I could think about is why did I say no ? Why didn't I bring my skates ... Just kicking myself .  

After a couple beers we jumped on the subway which is really small ;) and headed towards my hotel . We were both a bit hungry so we went to a Mexican take out , yeah I took a big burrito to my hotel . Zoltan went home and I went to my room to gobble my food ;) I passed out early and I'm up early now ... Rainer and the rest of the guys should arrive today .... First things first , I'm going to skate on that outdoor rink ;) 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Last Day in Serbia

Slept like a baby woke up and really chilled out for most of the day until my buddy Alex came to pick me up to take me sightseeing with his car . We drove over to the fortress then past the ginormous Orthodox Church ... After we cruised by the football stadium that local club Red Star plays . Alex is a Red Star fan and told me he won't show me the Partizan stadium LOL ! Fair play buddy hahaha I can relate ;) 

There were some bombed buildings that I saw and was told the people want to keep them as is to show the world what NATO had done to them and honestly it looks devastating . I asked how those days were and it was crazy to hear that those were great days for kids ! No school , kids hung out and played basketball all day and when sirens went off most kids would go to the bomb shelters and would play cards . Not exactly what I thought I would hear but it makes sense from a child's stand point :) 

After cruising the city and getting a quick lesson on Serb culture we went for a coffe where Alex was disappointed that I paid ... It's pretty much traditional to pay for guests here but as a Canadian I enjoy returning the favour . Alex thank you so much for showing me around Belgrade buddy but I felt as though paying a coffee would be a good gesture since you took the time to show me around . Once again it was great meeting up and hanging out ! 

Around 8 pm I went to meet my good friend Jovan for some beers and chicken wings .... Jovan is such an awesome guy. ! We met at Passengers pub and the craziest thing happened while we were there . A couple Brits were there and we were all watching Champions League Footie and I asked them who they support ? VILLA ! No f*#king way !!! That totally blew me away and shocked the shit out of them too ... What a small world eh ? To be in Belgrade and meet another Villa fan ... What's the odds really ? 

Jovan and myself had a great time together talking about everything you can imagine as good friends should and trust me Jovan is a great friend hehehehe ;) as usual that sad moment came when I had to say bye :( yeah I had a great time in Serbia and didn't have a boring moment . I would highly suggest everyone come to Serbia ... How can you go wrong with good people , great food and cheap beer ? Alas I must head to Budapest , Hungary tomorrow but I'm sure I'll be back ... Until then bye Serbia ! I'm gonna miss you . 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Back to Belgrade

Wasn't feeling too hot when I woke up but I found the energy to go grab breakfast and pack my bags . Nebojsa met me in hotel lobby to make sure I don't get lost again LOL ! We walked to the arena together and the sad reality started to kick in that I'm really gonna miss these guys here . When the tourney was over I heard a few guys saying they were upset because it was all coming to am end and that kinda kicked in as I walked to the rink with Nebojsa ... I truly made some good friends here and obviously the thought of going to Belgrade is not as good an idea as when I planned this trip . 

When we arrived at the arena I had to pack my hockey bag and Straja my favorite bartender showed up to drive me to the bus . He's such a great guy and another new friend :) I honestly can't stop gushing over how awesome this experience here was . When I left the rink I had to say bye to Nebojsa and that sucked but I'm sure he is happy with the tournament and that he can now rest ... It's a lot of work ! Organizing , reffing , playing ... And drinking beer ;) 

Straja got me to the bus 10 min early and we hung out told each other to stay in touch and we hugged and I was off for the hour bus ride to Belgrade . This time I decided to book a different hotel and when I got off bus at another terminal I needed a cab and one was waiting there trolling for a ride. It cost me 1000 dinars to drive me like 5 min away which is like $12 for me so it's cheap by my standards but is a ripoff by Serbian standards ... Regardless I don't care ! 

My new hotel is literally 30 second walk from the other trashy hotel I stayed at which is like $10 more a night . Queen Astoria Hotel is really nice and artsy , the staff are nice and helpful and what a difference $10 can make HA ! If you are wondering it's $60 cdn per night ;) totally cheap and worth way more then what I paid if you ask me . When I settled in and stunk up the room with my gear I needed to sleep. ... Still feeling rough from the night before . 

When I woke up I had to shave and shower up to A) go to meet Jovan or B) order room service and stay in ... Well Jovan was meeting some friends at a restaurant called Tezga so I joined them . Took a much cheaper taxi and met my buddy Jovan and his friends who were all very friendly . I ate a nice bowl of pasta and drank a few Staropramen beers as we talked about everything from soccer to hip hop . Jovan is a great conversationalist and seems to be happy all the time . Obviously another good guy ! If my friend Ali Crni in Toronto is reading this ??? You were right Serbs do love Canadians and yes we Canadians are not here often enough and that's why they like us here  .

I didn't get wasted or anything . It was a perfectly chill night ! Dinner , drinks and back at my hotel by midnight ... Hoping to do some tourist stuff today and meet my friends Alex and Uros hopefully ;) 

I love it here ! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Don't think twice ... Come to this Tournament !

Can't stop gushing over how amazing this tournament is ! Really it has everything you would want from a tourney but the main thing is that it's all about friendship and trust me when I say it's not hard to make friends here :) Serbian people are just amazing ! 

When I got up I had breakfast and was ready to go play in the championship game . Remember we played our last game vs. this same team and lost 5-0 but I swore I would make a difference in the final . Of course I got lost on the way to the rink but not too lost and didn't need help finding the rink either hahaha. I got to the rink early and Snowa the bartender and one of my new good friends offered me a beer but I declined . The flag you see him with in the above picture was a gift for me ... How cool are these guys here eh ? I was there early to watch some of the other games and say bye to everyone as they are leaving after their games ... Kinda sad saying bye but it's part of travelling :( 

So the big game comes and we hit the ice . Last game one of their guys ran dm and I had to make sure they know I won't accept their punishment without handing some out also . First guy stepped in my crease got tripped flat on his face , second took a chop on the back of his leg and on and on ;) I got away with quite a bit , kinda helps that the ref is a goalie and understands what and why I'm doing this stuff . I should have chopped my own defence men because they screened me on 2 point shots and we were down 2-0 ... We had 1 shot on their goalie in the first and scored. ;) down 2-1 going into last period ... 

By the second period the team we were playing knew not to come near me unless they enjoyed getting punched , cross checked or slashed ;) made my life easier but unfortunately we made a bad line change gave up a 2 man breakaway and they scored to go up 3-1 . I made a ton of saves and really gave it my all but luck wasn't on our side today as we missed a glorious opportunity and hit the cross bar as we fought to the bitter end . 

We ended up losing 3-1 :(  ... But honestly I was so proud of my team mates for playing so hard against a much more experienced club and during the awards they gave me a club jersey and I was almost in tears . They all saw me kiss the logo and I think a few of them felt the same way I did . Proud ! 

After the game I grabbed a beer took a shower and went out for my television interview with Radio television Vojvodina which will air this coming Friday ... Yes I will post it don't worry. You can all laugh at me when you see it ;) back to the bar ... I really have kept way below budget and decided to do a pay it forward which means I bought 4 beers for the next random 4 people that went to the bar . They thought it was amazing to do this and I explained it's something that people do as random acts of kindness back home. Hopefully they adopt this here ;) 

Most of my team mates hung around and the bar was opened for a while and was free for all as they wanted to finish off the beer. ... So we did ! A few of us went to another bar called Gerila (I think) and I got wasted and Nebosja had to walk me home ... Thanks buddy ! 

As I've said more then once , if you are reading this you definitely should go to this tournament . I guarantee you won't be disappointed ! Right now I'm in Belgrade and I already miss all my friends in Novi Sad . Time to rest.... 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Novi Sad Tournament

Starting to feel worn down from all the travelling over the last few weeks but it's fully worth it . Just sucks totally that my Macedonian SIM card doesn't provide me with internet for some reason ! I blame them for me getting lost again ... Yeah on my way to the rink again I took a slightly different route and found myself in the wrong place AGAIN !!! Damn you SIM card :( if I had internet at least I could look at a map and find my way but at least this time I wasn't too far and found my way to rink by asking one person on the street :) 

We have 2 games today with our first game against my buddies Alex and Uros from Belgrade . They are playing for Drvene Nogice and they had a bit of a short bench . Alex came by my room before the game and asked me how many goals he would score on me today as he put 2 by me last week in Skopje tournament . I went out on a limb and said zero :) .

When the game started we jumped out to a 1-0 lead and we were pretty much the aggressor this game . I gotta admit whenever Alex or Uros had the puck I was shitting myself as we needed to win 1 of our 2 games today to qualify for finals . The period ended with us up 2-1 as they scored a decent goal on me short handed AGAIN ... 2 goals against in 2 games so far and both of them are shorties :( yeah I have confidence in our power play LOL . The second period we were on our heels and they attacked us quite a bit but didn't get too many shots on me thank god because I wasn't playing my best .... Last couple minutes they pull their goalie for extra attacker and they were swarming . Puck was behind my net and the player went for the wrap around , I went to slide across crease and their player in front grabbed my stick ?!?! I couldn't get across and they scored to tie it up .... Bad news , can't believe the refs didn't see it and allowed it :( 

Alas the hockey gods were on our side and we charged down the ice and scored the winning goal in the last 30 seconds to assure us a spot in the finals ;) the way it worked out at the end is that if we tied we would not have made the final as they won their last game by a huge margin over the team we beat yesterday . 

So we have to play last round robin against Telemach and then play them in final so my team told me to get drunk and not worry about this game .... So I did ;) I was also told that this would be friendly game and well it wasn't ... Our team was wasted and they were sober and scored on me in first 2 minutes of game , 2nd goal came soon after when one of their forwards ran me giving me a minor injury . I would be surprised if my team even tried ! We got slammed 5-0 and to be fair I don't think these guys realize it won't be so easy in final . 

Tournament party was after and I was dead beat so I went to hotel for a meal and a quick nap .... And never woke up . I highly doubt the other team went out as they are apparently a semi-pro team . On my way back to hotel I got friggin lost again , man this sucks! 

*real time* I am waiting for my laundry to be returned from hotel , had a nice breakfast and should be ready to compete for the championship today ! I am not gonna go down without a fight .... Let's go HK Gentlemens !!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Country #28 ... Serbia

Let's start my day at the bus terminal , it kinda sucked dragging my bag from hotel to the terminal which was across the street but it at least saved me a few bucks not having to take a taxi ... Especially now that I know that i actually got a good deal from that cabbie from the airport the other day . Taking a taxi in Belgrade is not cheap :( when I got to the bus I had to pay 40 dinars to put my bags in undercarriage ... Equivalent of 50 cents Canadian ;) the guy told me to take backpack on bus ! Big mistake as it was full and I had to ride the whole way with it on my lap :( 

One of the tournament organizers met me at the bus terminal and took me to arena to drop bags . If you need to know his name is Nebojsa Ivanov , very nice guy who is a goalie and an IIHF referee . Nebojsa was also kind enough to walk me to my hotel Fontana . When I got to the hotel my room wasn't ready so I had a beer with Nebojsa ... Well he had a coffee ;) there was a Slovenian old timers team there drinking beers so when Nebojsa left and I was all alone I decided to have another beer and realized it's so cheap and I should break the ice with the other guys . I ordered a round and sent it to there table and next thing you know they were all speaking English with me , playing music and were all around great guys . I had about 8 beers with them then decided I should take a nap . 

Went to sleep and overslept , woke up and started to make my way to the rink and of course I got lost ended up at the bus terminal and got a taxi to the rink LOL ! Barely made it to the rink on time half in the bag I rushed to get my gear on and stepped onto the ice . I'm playing for local club HK Gentlemans from Novi Sad ;) first game is vs. Blejski Vitesi from Slovenia . 

Obviously playing for new team you wanna play well and prove your worth especially when their real goalie is on ice refereeing ! We jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then I gave up a goal :( it wasn't my fault but I was disappointed in myself . The guys on the team were fine with it as I didn't let any more goals in the 2nd period . Tournament format has us playing two 20 minute run time periods which I didn't know about so after 2nd i was ready for more ;) we went on to win the game 6-1 then went to beer area and started to make more friends ;)

The beer pump broke and the mood changed so I asked one of my team mates Jovan where I could buy beer ? He took me to the store and I grabbed 10 big cans and handed them out at the rink (making more friends) I stuck around to watch Uros and Alex play their game . We met last week in Skopje . Uros was the Serbian National team captain a while ago ... Pretty cool eh ! Unfortunately they have a short bench with 8 skaters and lost a close game . After the game I went with Jovan to grab a bite to eat and we went to a bar playing hip hop which was totally cool . I started to get tired and got back to my room around. 2:30 am . Today I get to play my buddies from Belgrade ... I should leave early in case I get lost again LOL ! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Serbia , you're next !

Not exactly a super eventful day . I basically slept in and then took my sweet time packing my bags . Not exactly happy to leave Greece but I have to since I am The Travelling Goalie ;) so the other day I thought about choking my taxi driver for charging me €35 to get me from airport to Plaka ... I'm glad I didn't as I found out that is actually true ! Minimum fare is €35 and to go back from hotel is also flat rate but this time €40 :( these guys must make a killing lol ! 

So I headed out to the airport in my super expensive cab ride and got there safely and went to check in ... For some reason these stupid kiosks don't read my passport ?!??! I kinda don't like this automated bs anyways so I approach the counter smiling of course and super apologetic and get my pass ... Check my golf clubs in ;) yes my golf clubs are free HAHA ! Then I put half my bag on the scale and pay my luggage which is €35 this time with Aegean . I guess they expect people to travel with clothes on their backs ? Whatever ! 

I kept my wits about me cleared security and got on my flight which wasn't so bad considering I got a sandwich AND a chocolate croissant ... The service was great ;) but the 2 hours with no movie or anything kinda sucks ... Flight is cheap so I guess it's a double edged sword ! Good thing I got my iPod touch so I don't kill my phone . 

When I arrive I find out my Macedonian SIM card doesn't work here either ? WTF ! I paid 1000 dinars before I left for what I don't know ??? Thanks VIP . I get approached by a guy asking if I want a cab , usually I say no and opt for meter cab but something just made me say yeah sure and I ended up paying 2000 dinars to get to my hotel , yeah I probably got gipped :( 

Wanna know how I came to that conclusion ? Well I'll tell ya ! I dropped my bag at my 4 star shithole hotel The Belgrade City Hotel ... Argued to get a room on ground floor because there is no elevator and was told I have to pay a tourist tax that wasn't added in my hotel fees ... The room is just a bit bigger then my bag and looks like a bad 70's stylist designed it :( at least it's close to bus terminal . So I head over and book my bus for Novi Sad tomorrow then book my bus for Budapest .... Bus to Budapest is 3000 dinars , taxi from airport is 2000 dinars ?!?!? Does it sound right to you ? Oh yeah if you ever take a bus from here they give you a coin to enter bus ! Don't lose it or it's 150 dinars to replace !!!!

If I continue to think about it I might implode so I decide to go eat . Eating in a restaurant alone is kinda sad so I pass a bunch of places and see a sign with the Golden Arches yes McDonalds . Gonna grab food and scurry back to hotel to eat and call it a night ... Sounds fair but then I get lost , really lost , so lost I had to take a taxi :( get to my room to eat my cold burger and here I am . 

Tournament in Novi Sad starts tomorrow night so I'm gladly gonna take it easy and relax and crash early as I have to look half human for my TV interview ;) yeah I have to go for this interview before my game . I'm hoping all the ice time I've had this week helps me pick up my game , guess I will find out tomorrow ! For the record I haven't eaten McD's in a while and I already don't feel great from eating it .... Damn you ! LOL ;) 

Last Day in Greece :(

For some reason I couldn't sleep and woke up early yesterday :( went down to the lobby and booked a ticket to go do the Athens open bus tour . Headed to the pick up point and grabbed a Starbucks coffee and waited at the pick up point in Monastiraki . It was early so I caught the first bus and next thing you know I was at the Parthenon . 

Jumped off the bus and headed to the ticket booth where I paid €12 entrance fee which was well worth it ! What an amazing place :) as a child I always dreamt of coming here to see this wonderful site . I was alone which was kinda strange as I'm used to meeting people and doing this stuff . It might be better this way as I took my sweet time wandering around for about 3 hours as I wandered over to the Agora also . 

There was a lot of amazing historical artifacts to see and it was a beautiful day out ... Almost too beautiful as I was sweating like a pig ! I sweat right through my shirt and I probably looked kinda disgusting but I didn't care as I was happy to see all the amazing stuff here . I highly recommend everyone comes here at least once in their lives !!!

I jumped back onto the bus and finished the full tour then headed for a pork souvlaki as I had chicken the day before . I love souvlaki so it's no bother for me eating it both days . In fact those were the only 2 meals I ate here ? Yeah time kinda restricted me as I have ice time and I don't like to eat before I'm on ice ... After I ate I headed to my room for a nap to catch up on the lost sleep the night before . 

I had to make my way to the Ice and Skate rink a bit early to do an interview with Iosif Kapetanidis who is the rink owner and a huge hockey fan . I have to thank him for all he's done for me as if not for him I wouldn't have had the opportunity to play here . On this night I am skating with his club the Ice and Skate team ;) unfortunately Dimitri the other goalie was sick and couldn't make it so Iosif strapped on the pads , unfortunately the wrong way LOL ! It was his first time ever playing goal and he didn't do so bad . It was pretty hot on the ice and we were all dying but still managed to play for 2 hours as I filled my water bottle 3 times to get through this heat . 

After the game we all had a beer and Iosif told me how he he a new found respect for goalies and how he noticed so many mistakes players in front of him make and will put that towards his game in the future as he enjoys playing defense ;) 

I want to thank all the guys I met here in Athens for allowing me to play with them ! As usual the experience was amazing and I hope to see you all in the future ... Stay in touch guys and keep up the great work . I am sure ice hockey will grow here and will be following the progress . Take care malakas :p 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Country #27 ... Greece

Woke up drunk still and had to meet Dimitrios , sorry i was still a mess buddy :( I had to pack up , check out and take a taxi to the airport . My coach from Iraklis is a taxi driver so I had arranged for him to pick me up . When I got to the airport I mustered up the energy to smile and be chirpy so I could get as much help with my luggage .... It's always better to be in a good mood when checking bags ... And of course it helped ! The girl behind the counter told me to say my stick bag was a golf bag ;) free of charge ! But I had to pay €25 for my gear which was way overweight but she let that go too  ! 

The chipper attitude disappeared when I saw a couple trying to skip lineup to get on plane ! I saw them sauntering by everyone and said to them "don't you see the lineup" ? They sure did and went back , probably angry because they felt like they were special or something ... Back of the queue ya douche ! When I got on the plane I slept for the half hour flight ;) 

Leaving the airport with a taxi , no way I'm taking transit with all this gear ! My driver pretty much ripped me off as he pretended to not know where he was going , when I arrived my fare was €28 I gave him 2 twenties and he gave me 5 back ??? I said I saw the fare where is the rest and he claimed it's fixed price of €35 from airport ! I should have choked the bastard but just wanted to get into my room :( 

I wasn't really bothered by it either and was in fact hungry so I decided to wander around and find a place for a nice souvlaki which was around the corner from my hotel ... Hotel Adrian :) yeah I couldn't resist booking it since it was my name ! After I ate I came back to hotel for a pre skate nap ....

Had to take a taxi to the Ice n Skate rink and when I arrived it was in middle of factories which seemed odd as most rinks are usually situated in malls in these warmer countries . I honestly was a bit spooked when we pulled up but then noticed it was the rink and not some horror story ambush LOL . Iosif Kapetanifis owns the rink and was the person who really made this all happen . He was there to greet me and it was pretty cool that all the guys were excitedly expecting me . Tonight I am skating with the Athens Warriors ! 

Dimitris is their goalie and he was happy to see another goalie :) he has been a goalie for the last year and a half and I was more then happy to give him a few pointers . We got along quite well , he is a trooper as he seemed pretty ill :( but it didn't phase him . He introduced me to everyone and we got ready and stepped onto the ice . Due to the weather the ice was foggy and got worse over the next 2 hours that we were on the ice . The ice is not the greatest but as I always say ... It's better then nothing . It's a multi purpose ice rink with curling dots ;) 

At first the guys were running drills then we had a quick 3 on 3 game ( it's a small rink ) then we played rebounds ;) I took it easy as I wanted to help the guys with some positivity , you don't show up and try to dominate ( unlike that jerk from Puerto Rico said I do ) *thats another story. * after our ice time we shared some stories and I gave all the guys some Hockey Community stickers and told them they should all sign up , so if you're reading this and haven't yet then don't waste anymore time. :p 

We had a couple beers and I hung around with Iosif for about an hour after the guys left chatting about his rink , etc... I had to get a taxi so Iosif called one and I was off . Thank you Athens Warriors for letting me skate with you all ! Can't forget to thank Iosif for hooking this up and for the beers. . You're a great guy and I look forward to getting on the ice with you tonight ! I should take a nap now ... Cheers.