Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Home Time

Was I happy to go home ? Yeah I kinda missed my lady , but I kinda didn't want this trip to end . This was one of those trips that nobody in their right mind would want to end . Alas the ticket I booked had me leaving on this day and for some stupid reason I booked another stupid early flight .... This time I had to be up at 4 am to get to the airport for 5ish as my flight left at 7 ... When I woke up I wasn't in the soberest of moods :( 

When I got downstairs at the Jurys Inn the night manager who is a dbag was there ... I have had words with him before on other trip and I've actually complained about him , he must have some nuclear cockroach super powers because he is still there .... Whatever I'm checking out . He offers a taxi and I declined and ordered an uber . The driver that showed up was super friendly and we had a good chat as the reality of me leaving set in . I was sad and I am still sad that I left but my life is here in Toronto . It will always be my home .... But I love leaving it ! When we got to the airport I checked my bags in with Lufthansa ... Yes they suck ! They charged me another $100 for my luggage and at this point I don't even care , ok maybe I care a bit but hey it's money and Lufthansa is not about making you happy ... They are about keeping their pockets lined until they go on strike again like they currently are ...grrr ! 

Anywho I flew to Frankfurt and had enough time to buy some Prada cologne and a bottle of Johnnie Walker :) new bottle aged in rum casks only available at certain airports ! I barely had time but made my flight to Toronto on time . When we boarded it was chaos ... Don't they know about queues ? Why can't they rope off a line ? What a disaster free for all ! Took forever to get us on the flight ... I ended up with a window seat in the back with a bunch of spare room beside me :) a girl sat beside me and was instantly looking to move seats ... Is it me ? Do I smell ? Maybe it's my breath ? Who cares right ? That self conscious behaviour made me a bit sweaty . Maybe it is better if she moves then I have a row to myself :) how can I chase her away ? Do I fart or turn the air on or keep the window open ? Forget it ! I'm ok the way this is lol . She stuck around and no I didn't fart (that much) hahaha . 

I was hoping to see a good movie on board .... Best selection was Ghostbusters . Wow was that shit ! I wish I could've slept but that didn't happen . Instead I watched 3 horrible life stealing movies which I won't talk about because they seemed to drag the flight on . You can't imagine how happy I was to arrive in Toronto . Home sweet home . Now I have to clear customs and I'm home free ..... I know I lead you to believe I had some issues but no it was all good . No weirdos , no hassles and next thing you know I'm in a taxi home . And that was that ..... Another amazing trip in the books . I can't wait for my next trip ....

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

That last day :(

Last day of my trip . I know this happened a week ago now ... I'm so sorry I have been busy being normal again back home :) I'm happy to be home now but last week I wasn't feeling so good . 24 days of travelling by plane , by bus and by car rental . Covered a lot of space and had some good times ...maybe too many based on the way I was feeling . Made a lot of good friends and a lot of amazing memories .... Usually this is that day I reflect on all this and it's sad .... 

When I woke up I went downstairs to get some breakfast because the person that checked me in had said that there was breakfast included . As said in my last post ... I doubted it when she even said it as you never get anything inclusive when you book third party reservations . When I got to the breakfast area the person at the entrance took my number then called for his manager and honestly I knew what was coming and I wanted to run and hide as this makes me feel a bit desperate and embarassed and sure as heck the manager tells me sir your room is not inclusive of breakfast but you can pay £10 and charge it to your room .... Of course I'm not that stupid so I replied I will just go to the Witherspoons and pay £4 for the same food , then I scurried back to my room . I still like Jurys Inn but this is one of those embarassing experiences I don't like having to deal with in a hotel I am paying a premium to stay at !!!  

Never had breakfast :( instead I went to my room , packed my bags and went back to bed . When I arose from my sleep I noticed Aideen was out on New St so I got ready and weaved my way through the massive Christmas Market and met her inside the Villa Shop . No i didn't buy anything else as I already have something like 50 kilos to drag around ! We met to grab a bite so we went to the Wok & Go and had a box of noodles before finding where Peever was at . Newcastle plays Leeds so we wanted to find a pub .... Peever suggested The Outback on Broad St , I haven't been in there since my trip over in 2004 ... Back then they served all types of interesting meat like crocodile and kangaroo !!!! So when we were going I thought about trying something different .... Unfortunately they don't serve anything aside from pub grub now :( at least they have BrewDog on tap !!!!! Yes I had drinks that day .... 21 out of the 24 days travelling I consumed alcohol ... I am such a drunk lol ! Anyways Aideen had to split and catch her flight after a couple pints and one of Peeve's buddies showed up and we had a pint with him before heading to Mike's place . He is so close to Broad St ! It's just a hop and a skip away :) we "chilled" there for a bit 😜then headed out for dinner . 

There is no better place to go to eat in Brum then Turtle Bay . I know it's not for everyone but man the food is so good there . I love me some Carribbean spices :) I'm still surprised Peeve had never been there . So when we went over I made some suggestions and we ended up slinging back some Beachcomber Zombie cocktails . The beer selection there is actually shite so if I was you I would stick to the cocktails ok ? Yeah that beachcomber zombie has 3 or 4 rums and absinthe in it so it has kick . I know as a manly man I shouldn't be drinking cocktails like Reece does but hey when the beer option is slacking then go with the flow . I had another jerked steak , couldn't bring myself to eat anything but ! Peeve had a full chicken , it was massive and he smiled the whole time he ate that bird . I'm sure he liked the food and atmosphere there . It was actually quiet and hung in with the theme of being sad a depressed about leaving . After we ate we went to BrewDog and had a pint there to was down the food ! And yes Peeve tried a beer at Turtle Bay .... Ask him how it went . Lol ! Stick to the cocktails 🍸

It was nice hanging out with Peeve that night . At some point we gotta call it a night and walk back ... Surprisingly he didn't wanna go for some sheesha so we  left John Bright St and headed for Broad St. .... When we got to Fletcher's Walk we emptied out our pockets and gave some homeless kid our shrapnel . He must've got at least £5 in change just from me and when we arrived at Jury's Inn we gave each other a big hug and said our good byes ... I already miss you big guy ! This is the end of my trip . Have to wake up at 4 am to get to the airport .... I'm not booking early flights ever again  .... Think I've said this before hahaha ! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

English Weather

Yes of course I woke up hungover :) Peever just was getting up and I messaged to see if anyone was alive . Reece was up ! Peever is heading to meet this local gal he knows and Mike .... Well Mike is sleeping . So I met Reece in the lobby to go to this pub called Post & Telegraph to meet Craig Alsop . He says he is there and leaving Brighton at 11 am . When I get down to the lobby there are some fuzzy stories circulating about what happened the night before ? Everyone wondering where each other ended up and apparently we missed the party :( most everyone stayed out until 4 am on the lash . 

The weather at 10 am was gorgeous in a warm and sunny way . We walked fast to get to the pub to meet Craig and at least say bye and when we got there he was not there ? I messaged him and he said they left but were coming back so Reece and I grabbed a table upstairs an ordered breakfast ... Craig showed up soon after my food did and said hey and bye and said they were going to sit downstairs and that was the last and only moment I saw him :( I needed that breakfast so badly . Reece had ordered 2 coronas as you do when there is a 2 for 1 sale and I knocked one off em :0 ok I asked politely and he graciously gave it to me and yes we chugged them and left an on our way downstairs spotted the kiddy lions :) 

The Kiddy Lions are like my footie mentors when I'm over . They treat me really well , like one of their own :) this weekend I didn't spend as much time with them as usual with Peever running us round all these Brighton hotspots so today it was great to wander about with them . We all wanted to go watch some footie on the telly and we found a place called Horatios on the pier which would be sound . When we started walking over it started to get grey out ..... Unfortunately Horatio's was holding a private function so we ended up at the Queen Anne ( I think ?) and beer was not so tantalizing . I got on the cider with Reece and Mike soon arrived and so did Peever with his lady friend ( sorry I forgot her name ) the banter started kicking off again and poor Reece hahaha ! Those tight jeggings or meggings or whatever you call them ... Oh Brighton lol :) 

It started to piss rain so hard and beautiful Brighton became walk faster !!!! When it started coming down I noticed this sign and got Reece to take it with me . Our Elvis , Mark Byworth who goes by the nickname decided to replace the other Elvis and I have no clue what Steede was doing ? Pisshead lol :) I love posing for these funny photos . Just to let you all know .... It didn't work out , we split up before consummation and I am currently asking for half of his worth . That might be a fag and an empty tin of Kopperberg . 

After pictures the race was on as it was raining cats and dogs . Only thing to do is to pop into a couple boozers to stay drier on our way back to hotel . We stopped in a hotel grabbed beers and sat down in the dining area hahaha ! That didn't last long though as the overly fake smiling manager came and removed us and put us in another area , that was too ba because I was already eyeing that steak at table 4 ! 

Got to our hotel ! Everyone was drenched and I found out my hotel bar has BrewDog so I grabbed a few for the bus and when everyone was done changing into drier clothes we headed off with our first stop in Swindon . Well after some interesting occurrences like that naked kid , or that guy that smashed all his pints of beer he snuck onto the bus in his paper bag for some reason and didn't want to clean it because he was too drunk OR that kid that smashed up the bathroom ..... No this wasn't us or the kiddy lot either . Not gonna say who but they collectively didn't really do much to impress me if you know what I'm sayin ..... Anyways I contacted my mate Nick Onslow and told him to meet me at the Dolphin Hotel which he thought was totally random but really you should always be expecting the unexpected from me :) when I landed in Swindon I was pissed and needed a kebab . It was shitty but I gobbled it then met Nick !!! It was so good to see my good friend Onsy .... Love this guy so much !!!! We haven't seen each other in a couple years so we had some catching up to do .... So we grabbed a pint and pulled up a couple chairs and made the most of our 20 minutes before my bus left . I really hope we get more time next time mate , it was great catching up with you and I would love to do a tourney with you soon !!!!!

When I got back on the bus I was a bit sad , tired and totally drunk so it was now time for a nap . I know everyone is gonna have their way with me .... I'm still waiting for some picture of me being tea bagged to surface .... When I woke up we were arriving at Land Oak out in Kiddy where Mikes car is parked . He stopped drinking a long time ago to drive legally . We dropped off Reece first :( see ya soon mate ! Then I was dropped off somewhere on Broad St which was hopping .... Forgot it was Saturday night to be honest . I stumbled to Jury's Inn checked in and grabbed my goalie bag and was told I have breakfast included with my room .... Hmmm ... 

Before I end this off I would really love to thank Mr. Paul Harris aka Harry for organizing this and all my Aston Villa related adventurers , you are clearly in a class of your own !!!! Also have to thank the Kiddy Lions for being the best Lions Club in the world .... I really mean that ! And it was nice meeting you too Reece ✊🏻💦💦💦

Monday, November 21, 2016

Brilliant Villa Away Days

Before I start let me first say that this was the best away day I've ever had .... My morning started with Mike Steede and Perver coming to pick me up at Jurys Inn at 7:30 am . And yes I was already drunk from the night before . Left my hockey gear at the hotel for the night as there was no way that massive bag was coming on this trip :) the guys were a bit late and then we headed to get Reece ... This guy is so frigging funny that it hurts just thinking about him ... A very unique individual he is and we all love him for tha . Not taking anything away from the 2 other wanka's lol ! We have to make our way out to Land Oak in Kidderminster and Mike is driving but we need to A) get beers for the road and B) eat something .... First shop we saw open had their beer fridge raided by the bunch of us ... Food ended up being off a chippy truck at the side of the road .... Somehow they fit 2 eggs , 2 sausage and bacon on a sandwich that I consumed in a very fast manner . It wasn't great but we need to eat before we start drinking ....  And that started when we got on the bus ... Ok it's a coach Mike 🤗

As soon as we met up with the Kiddy Lads the race was on ... To get totally pissed . Ok maybe it wasn't a race up front but we are the back of the bunch lot and we got pissed by the time we reached the first stop to pick up a fellow supporters group . Not gonna mention em as we didn't really socialize with them too much ... Doesn't matter we have each other and lots of beer and cider . I got on the cider cause it was cold and k have to admit that Kopperberg stuff is fruity but ain't so bad . 

The banter was fantastic on the bus . I mean I must have smiled or laughed the whole ride . Some of us got knackered and took naps and yeah a few nice photos were taken ... I expect the same if I pass out on the coach (bus) see how this works Mike ? Now people think I passed out on my coach ! The guy on my team on the bench screaming at me not the thing with wheels that took us to Brighton ... Argh ! And I fully agree with Reece that a kit Kat is a biscuit not a chocolate hahaha ... Is it a biscuit or a chocolate ? Leave responses please . 

We had to make a stop for the (bus) coach driver to take a mandatory 45 minute break ? Yeah they get breaks after 5 hours here ... Not like back home , workers have rights here :) of course we stopped into a posh little pub that were absolutely horrified when us footie hooligans popped in . I think I had 3 pints and 1 or 2 shots there during that 45 minutes :) had to keep hydrated ya know ? Back on the coach , back of the bus and back on the piss ! I honestly have no clue how much was consumed on the bus (coach) but it was a lot and by the time we arrived at our sea front hotel I was tanked . 

I shared a room with Peever . He was sober enough to check us in and got our keys and I'm sure we were both praying for two beds ..... And then you open the door and , and , ???? Thank you God ! There are 2 beds !!!!! Mike and Reece got the cuddle room with 1 bed hahaha ! I think I mentioned I was drunk right ? Didn't even remember what room I was in when I came back to it .... Yikes , surprised I remember any of this to be honest :) 

We then went to grab some grub at a fish n chip shop .... I don't like fish so I got chicken wings . Then I got shit on .... Yes I got shit on by a bastard seagull . Almost shit on my food too ... Apparently I'm lucky one didn't swoop in on me for my food lol ! Stupid tourist hahaha ! We then made our way to a Brighton supporters pub were I felt like we shouldn't have been but apparently is a pub that welcomes away fans too ? Didn't feel like it when I went to the bathroom that was plastered with Brighton stickers and all the friendly smiles I wasn't receiving as I wore my colours with pride ... Yea pride , Brighton hahaha ! 

We took the train over from that pub to the ground . Free train with ticket :) not bad aside from the fact the train is on a partial strike .... So less trains . I know it's a bit messed up but the idea is great . When we got to the stadium I was amazed at how nice it was ! Gotta admit it when it's true and what a contrast from the shithole St. Andrews . Total opposites . I was hungry so I grabbed a pizza and shares it with everyone and then things went absolutely mental in the concourse !!!!! I'm still buzzing thinking about how all us Villans just went crazy singing and jumping and flares and wow .... Look it up online and you will see videos . Most ridiculously amazing feeling I have ever experienced by a mile . Everyone went mental . Beer flying everywhere . Peever lost his wallet and Mike found it along with someone's keys :) just imagine a couple hundred drunk Brummies going totally off !!!! Wow . Everyone needs to experience this . 

We had a moment of silence to kick off the match which some of our supporters interrupted as they were coming in the stadium late and didn't know what was going on .... Next thing you know we scored !!!  Peever jumped on me and I swear he bent me backwards and somehow I held us both up ... Don't ask it's one of those things that shouldn't be physically possible ... Maybe it was the alcohol ? Unfortunately Brighton tied it up at the 45th minute and went into half time  with the boost . I sat in my seat for the half time as I needed a bit of sobering up . The next half I am sure that all those cocky Brighton supporters were humbled as we totally owned them ! They had some serious luck on their side . Maybe they were shit on by more birds then I was that day ? We hit a cross bar and their keeper made two amazing saves to keep them drawn .... I think we all knew who the better team and better supporters were that night . After the match we cued for the train and waited 45 minutes to get back into town . By that time I was just plain tired and when Reece said he was going to the hotel I decided the same . Brighton was hopping too . It's a party town ! Too bad I partied too much earlier . And that was that , couldn't have asked for a better away day even though it was a 1-1 draw . Felt more like a win :) UTV ! 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Back to Brum

So this happened a few days ago and I have been too plastered to write about it . With less then 24 hours left in my trip now I will try to catch up as today as usual will be hopefully very chill .... You never know though judging from my last night I wrote about :) that next morning I had to get up at 4 am to get to the airport for 5 am .... This was all after drinking all night in Bucharest with The Michelin Boys !!! I was feeling like shit and Nebojsa woke up and called me a taxi . When the taxi arrived I said bye and tried to stuff my massively overweight bag . I've accepted too many hockey gifts and my bag is bursting from the seams . My bag had to go in the back seat while I sat up front with the disgruntled taxi driver who sped along and got me to the airport with plenty of time to spare . 

There used to be a time that I enjoyed flying Lufthansa but those days are long gone since they became a money grubbing company that are only a step above Ryan Air when it comes to their thievery . Show up early to deal with bags and try holding a smile in my drunken state :) my bag is so heavy I get told it has to go as cargo ? This is a new one .... Good thing I have a bag inside my bag . Good thing for Lufthansa ? Yeah the money grubbing dirt balls sucked €80 out of my wallet like a vacuum . You can't even disagree , just pay the fees and move on . The days of getting by without paying for luggage are long behind us . Don't even want to think what I'm paying tomorrow :( 

The first flight was OK aside from the little woman sitting in the middle seat that had to talk the entire flight !!! Shut the f*#k up please ! Not only that ... She was small so she turned around and was constantly hitting me in the ribs with her elbows so she could be comfortable .... These Romanian women are really a piece of work . When we arrived in Frankfurt I blew by her and that was that .... Then I chilled out there for a few hours and waited anxiously for my flight to Burmingham . Another Lufthansa flight but this time I ended up with someone with a bit of class beside me and I slept like a baby . 

Once I arrived in Brum I jumped in a taxi and dropped my bags off at Jury's Inn and headed off to meet some friends quickly before heading back to the hotel to meet Daniel Peever ... Who was late and i ended up meeting Aideen Quinn and had my first pint in the hotel before meeting Mike Steede and heading to his for a nice curry ... It really was good and I gobbled it all :) love a good curry ! Mike stayed in and Peever , Aideen and myself heade to O'Neills pub on Broad street to have a few pints . It's one of the only places without a stupid dress code . Who cares what kind of shoes I'm wearing ? Really ?

Aideen left early and we carried on with our pints and scratchings . Yes I'm over the horror of the hairy scratching :) we tied one on and headed to the only place you go to when you are drunk on broad st. .... The kebab shop :) I think it is called yum yum and really it should be called no no but it's food , I think lol ! We called it a night and went back to our rooms . Tomorrow is the big road trip to Brighton and we have to be up early . Not sure what time it was but it wasn't that early . Nothing new ....

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Last Day in Bucharest

Yesterday when I woke up I had no plans at all to do anything aside from going for drinks with Nebojsa in the evening . I got him to put on that Red Army documentary again and I watched it from the beginning and man that flick was solid . Totally loved it and would recommend any hockey enthusiast to watch it .... If you don't , you're missing out ! After the movie I packed my bags and headed out for a coffee :) but not any coffee , I wanted some of the good shit :) so I went to 2 Minutes and hung out there for quite some time chatting about hockey , football and of course coffee ! This is the coffee I gotta bring home to my lady , she will love it and I totally have faith in Ionutz who is a barista through and through that learned his trade in Toronto . He hooked me up with a nice bag of coffee to take home and a few cups to take pics with . I really hope they survive the trip :) Alex saw me check in from there and came over to meet me and we had another coffee and had some great conversations with the locals . Just like a real coffee shop should be , with people socializing and enjoying the coffee ....mmmm ! Highly suggest checking this place out of you ever go to Bucharest . 

Alex and myself left to go eat some pasta which a few of the guys highly suggested at the coffee shop but first I noticed a liquor store across the street and I figured I would take a stab at finding that Gin Mare that Kathleen loves and wants so badly . Just my luck , they have it :) I bought it without any hesitance and then we jumped into Alex's awkwardly parked car .... People park everywhere here ! I mean everywhere with absolutely no regard or fear of being ticketed . I mean who needs sidewalks anyways hahaha .... Over here cars park on them and people walk on streets ? Sounds right ? Hahaha ! We then headed to Osteria Ciao Niki and the pasta there was hand made in front of us and was really really good . Good enough to give me the pasta itis .... I should go home and nap before drinking . I keep calling Nebojsa's place home because he made me feel at home there :) when I got there it was around 4:30 said my good bye to Alex who I'm gonna miss . Such a great guy and good contact to have in Bucharest . Buddy I hope to see you someday somewhere and you know you have a place to stay if you ever visit Taranna aka Toronto ;p 

That little nap was not long enough but much needed . I thought Nebojsa would be back at 7 pm and I would have a couple hours sleep .... Then my phone rang around 6 , it was Nebojsa asking if he should come back or if I should just meet him at Apartment 13 which is the bar where it all started a week ago . I offered to meet him there . Got my head straight and walked over ... It's about a 20 minute walk at my pace :) he was already there with the guys from work and his brother showed up soon after and we did some drinking . I have to be up at 4 am to shower and catch a taxi but that's nothing new for me .... You all know how I roll :) 

I had 3 or 4 bottles of Ciuc at Apartment 13 and we decided to go to another bar . It's in the big park that I can't recall the name of but its huge and the place is like a Bavarian beer house it's called Beraria H and it's massive . First we got lost in the park after taking the metro over and Nebojsa's brother did the responsible thing and called it a night while the rest of us trudged on through bushes and paths to finally get a beer , or 4 :) the guys ordered a metre of beer which is 11 pints on a meter long board seen above . They got the Weiss beer and I don't like that stuff so I ordered an IPA which was quite good . I think I had 3 or 4 there also so I was pretty buzzed . For some reason one of the guys had a craving to eat and we went to a KFC that was closed then instead of staying in the taxi we got out ? Walked around to find a 24 hour shop and they grabbed burgers and at this point I was tired ! It was already about 1 am and I saw a taxi and called it a night . Sorry guys I needed the minimum sleep to deal with my bags at the airport :( I felt bad because they wanted to go back to there place and I just felt like the night was beginning to drag on . Not that I didn't want to stay out it is just that I have  to feel a little bit decent for my flight which I'm on today at the moment (feeling like shit) . When I got to Nebojsa's I didn't waste any time and hit the sack . Thank you Michelin boys for a great night ! You're a really good group of friends that I had a lot of fun hanging out with . We definitely had some interesting stuff to joke around about eh :) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Country #35 Romania

Remember the other day I went to the rink and hockey was cancelled and I met a guy named Alex Rizea ? Ok maybe you didn't read my blog yesterday .... You should ! In fact you should read it daily ... Yeah yeah we are all busy lol ! Listen things were dicey and it was awkward and all but I met the one guy that became a good friend to me :) like I said sometimes there is a rainbow at the end of the storm . 

Alex offered to go sight seeing with me and the one place I thought to go to he had never been to . The Palace of Parliament . This is the second largest building in the world next to The Pentagon . It was the building the Nicolae Ceausescu wanted to build to fill his ego . He was the dictator that was executed on Christmas Day in 1989 alongside his wife after the people here had enough and never got to see the project finished .   We took a tour which didn't cost too much but you had to pay extra to take pictures . We were allowed photos on the observation deck up top and that was enough for me as I will never forget how unreal this place is ... It's mega massive . 

The 2 hour tour was lead by yet another Alex who was very knowledgeable and eager to interact . This was all after we cleared security as the building is still used by parliament . We walked approximately 2 km over the 2 hours going through the elaborate measures taken to make and preserve this building along with many interesting stories about this megalomaniac who was the dictator here :0 I mean this guy imported silk worms here to make the silk in Romania so the silk would be Romanian amongst other wild stories . The 2 hour tour covered a whopping 4% of the building ? Yeah it's massive like I said .... With built in hidden passages and escape routes an even air filtration systems created to ease this mans stress of being assassinated . Regardless to say it didn't help his outcome .... 

Alex then took me to his buddies coffee shop then to another buddies coffee shop and I got massively high on the Java beans :) I was buzzing hard ... We have hockey tonight at 11 pm so it's a good time to head home or I should say to Nebojsa's place to meet him and order a pizza . Nebojsa threw on this documentary called Red Army ! What an amazing hockey doc .... I didn't have time to finish it last night but man was it ever good . Please check it out , you won't regret it !!!! Around 10 pm Alex came to pick us up to head to AFI mall for our skate with Torpedo Bucharest which is an amateur club hell bent on having fun . 

The rink here is a small rink inside a mall good enough for 3 on 3 hockey with some odd twists to it . No the rink is oval but the twist is that their is advertising hanging over the rink not too high ... I can actually touch it with my stick . There are no benches so the guys bring stools on the ice to sit down near the boards during play and there is no netting around the entire rink so picks can fly out at shops :) oh yeah and the nets were smaller then the zamboni you see in the pic above LOL ! This is awesome still . I had so much fun during the 2 hour ice time . The gal that was supposed to sort everything and forgot to tell me our ice was cancelled showed up at the end and I wanted to kill her ... Just joking lol ! 

We had fun . My team won both times even when I switched and I got a couple cool jerseys and left my OG Ghetto Blasters jersey with Alex with the promise that it will end up in a hockey bar if they ever open one .... That's the plan :) Nebojsa was reffing and now pretty much has a bunch of new hockey buddies that be can play with here ! We brought a 6 pack with us and offered them to everyone but they weren't down with drinking . I also did leave a goalie stick from Oxelo Hockey with Nebojsa as he is a goalie and can basically play goal , skater or ref here as he pleases . Trying to make room for other stuff now lol . Alex gave us a ride back to Nebojsa's place and I showered and crashed out .... Just like I'm gonna do now !

Thank you Torpedo Bucharest for letting us skate with you all . It was a pleasure meeting you all and I hope we all meet again :) 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Chillin in Bucharest

It's funny that someone mentioned something about my photo game ... Sorry guys I am a travelling goalie not a travelling photographer . I don't carry around a laptop or a fancy camera and without either I would not be able to post beautiful pictures . I travel with a goalie bag and play ice hockey :) the photo game is not my thing so please excuse my photos as I'm always on the run and hardly have 2 seconds to stop and take pics . Someone also mentioned getting a selfie stick recently and I'm not sure what to say aside from , I don't know where I would put that thing .... Do you really know what it takes to do what I do on my own ? Try it someday ok :) please take an overweight hockey bag and a bag of sticks then jam enough clothes in a backpack and travel the world .... Then we can talk . I'm a bit cranky today . 

Yesterday I woke up and went out to the mall which is about a 20 minute walk from Nebojsa's place and I've never been happier to see a Starbucks . Just need a good cappuccino to get me going . I'm tired after the last few weeks feeling a bit under the weather and I'm no longer touching alcohol as I've been way too drunk on this trip with a total lack of sleep . I might need a vacation from my vacation so yesterday I was glad to do pretty much do nothing . Did a bit of shopping for Kathleen yesterday ... I really do hate malls but was happy also to get my hands on some KFC until I bit into it and some grease squirted out of it across the room :( yuck . It was gross but I still ate it and no it didn't make me feel better . Obviously the race was on to get back to Nebojsa's as I wasn't feeling great but probably better then the gypsies living under the sewage pipes ? Or was it aquaducts ? I'm not sure but I felt bad taking these pics .... Which I was in a hurry to take ! 

Again let me apologize for my lack of high tech film gear that I have no room to carry :) film snobs eat your heart out ! So when I got back I passed out .... Yes that much needed nap which i was craving . 3 hours later I woke up and it was getting dark out and I had to go out to the market to grab food and beers for my host that I promised to get before he came home from work . When I left the apartment I was dizzy and disoriented , totally out of it . Felt like a bag of crap but I apparently have this ice time tonight which popped up out of the blue in the morning as I was asking for info for my skate on Tuesday night . Apparently there is an outdoor rink here that I was invited to play on at 10 pm . Even though I'm out of it I can't wait .... So food is needed to . When I got to the Kaufland I was still disoriented and walked in and didn't grab a cart so I went back to the parking lot to get one . Somebody helped me and I grabbed some bread , meat , cheese , Ciuc beer (as requested) and some Mirinda orange pop .... I love Mirinda !!!! 

Got back just before Nebojsa arrived home from work and we had a good long chat about international ice hockey which I really wish I had more people at home to talk about this stuff ... Unfortunately most people at home think hockey is only played in the NHL ... Zzzzzz .... My time to shine arrived and I ordered a taxi and headed off to the Patinoarul Drumul Taberei after explaining to my driver where to go and undoubtedly getting the tourist treatment with a detoured tour of the city ??? Yeah these cab drivers are shit heads ! I kept asking the person who invited me where it was and what was actual address and I know the driver was bullshitting me but this is what you have to deal with when you are the foreigner that doesn't speak the language :( i was more then pleased to see an NHL sized rink here even though it was outdoors and immediately saw the giant screen that was not covered and wondered how many pucks it would take to smash it ? 

I found my way to the dressing area and didn't see a single hockey bag ? I messaged the person who invited me and she wasn't replying ? She didn't reply earlier either ? Wtf ? 2 guys approached me and said there was no hockey here .... I was not happy . Not happy at all !!!! It was one of those moments that I wanted to just turn into the Hulk and destroy everything but I kept my cool and spoke to the guys to get a better understanding . Alex is one of the teams captains for Torpedo which was the team due to practice there . He explained to me that they needed to put netting up to protect the big screen and the bar beside it ... Totally understanding but why didn't anyone tell me this wasn't gonna happen before I went on this wild goose chase ? I was still upset and Alex was really cool and offered me a ride home and said we are practising tomorrow in the mall on the small ice as he was taking off his skates . That made me even more sad knowing I wasn't gonna get on the ice :( so he put his skates back on and we went for a 15 minute skate which I enjoyed but would have rather play a game ! Beggars can't be choosers and you take what you can get and I was slowly accepting my fate . Sometimes some good comes out of the bad and meeting Alex was the good . We spoke about how I planned to meet everyone and would hopefully find someone to show me around Bucharest a bit tomorrow and he offered to meet up with me and show me around and in exchange I offered to buy him lunch . This made me happy :) sometimes there is a rainbow after the rain and this was my moment . Can't forget that the other fellow who worked at the rink offered me a football flag which was also a very nice token ! I got dropped off at my place after talking hockey with Alex and got to hang out with Nebojsa for a bit . No I did not do any drinking and it's been 3 days now that I've refused anything with alcohol . Not sure what's up with my insides but today I'm hoping to feel a bit better for my ice time here in Bucharest . Let's hope this happens .....

Monday, November 14, 2016

Chasing Down the Count

This was the big day . Almost as big as game day in a foreign country :) something I always wanted to do was visit the mystical Transylvania and I've been here for a few days and have yet to see any spooky shadows or and people without reflections . Yeah all the stories are just stories or are they ? The man,  the myth , the legend of Count Dracul . Now there is more then just the Castle Dracula to visit when wanting to be mystified by these stories from our past . But first things first .... We have to eat breakfast and say bye to Jimmy and the White Dove Pension :( I know , another good bye that I didn't want to deal with ! Thank you for your great hospitality .... Hope to see you on the ice again someday my friend :)

When we hit the road it was 8 am and our first stop was back at the salt mine in Salida Praid which is up in the mountains and the roads were less then ideal as a snowstorm was just hitting . Yeah this wasn't just a light dusting .... This was snow snow hahaha ! Nebojsa loved driving so I left him to it and settled in as navigator and we battled our way up there arriving later then planned and because of this we had to cancel the second leg of our trip to Sighisoara which is where Vlad grew up so we could make sure we made it to Castle Bran then the MOL Liga game we planned to see . I wish we could have done the castle instead of the salt mine because basically the salt mine was well .... Not as great as we thought it would be , in fact it was far less then expected as its really just an underground cave where old people go to play dominos and children play so it's a good day out for families but really don't bother if you are like me . Don't get me wrong it was nice seeing this giant man made cave and it was nice that I got to say a prayer for my friend Chris Brzezicki but I would have rather seen the other castle . 

The snow didn't give up and neither did we ! Nebojsa is a good driver and I'm glad he handled the road with ease as we cruised down the mountains to Castle Bran .... We hadn't eaten but we're on the same page understanding that the castle was to be closed at 4 pm so when we arrived at 2:30 we knew we had to just do the castle which I though was awesome ! For those of you that don't know this .... This castle gets has the monicker of being called Dracula's Castle because of Bram Stokers novel . He didn't really live here for that long but he was here and the town around it has fully embraced it and is making plenty of money off it too muah-ah-ah . I didn't wear my throat guard but I didn't leave my neck uncovered :) it was funny when the Italian tourists were doing the sign of the cross walking in as if that was gonna help right ? I'm sure the count would have laughed too :) 

We walked around for an hour and a half and after we went into a haunted house amusement park and we had a good laugh ... Well Nebojsa had a good laugh as I walked in front of him and dealt with the brunt of scary stuff happening in front of us . It was really worth going through this for shits and giggles but now we gotta eat , so we hit the closest restaurant and had a mixed meat grill which was pretty good and quite filling ! That pork neck was yummy :) 

Back on the road to Brasov which is about half an hour away . The road was littered with car accidents obviously from the idiots that drive too aggressively even in bad conditions , honestly I can't believe how bad and aggressive the majority of drivers are here ! It's like you have to drive like an ass to get your license or something :0 when we arrived at the arena we bumped into our friends from HK Beograd who were there to scout the game , they are on a tough road swing playing 3 times in 4 days and none of the cities they play in are close. We thought about sneaking into the rink with them but really tickets are only 10 Leu which is like $2.50 each :) gotta love these prices here . 

The crowd was fantastic and the game was great too up until the 3rd period when the home club fell apart giving up 2 quick goals in the first minute of play leading to their starting goalie gettin pulled which was the right call but honestly he kept them in the game until this part . I'm sure the coach had hopes of shaking up the lineup with this but really it didn't help . Our new friend Arpad  Mihaly had a decent game but seemed to get hurt in the 3rd and missed a few shifts . He did score the lone goal for the home side though but later admitted that playing center is not his forte and it was evident with the defensive play of the club . Not his fault at all if you ask me ... I did notice some bad defensive play and Nebojsa was quite critical of the refereeing , I fully agree as they missed a lot of calls and even messed up an icing only to drop the puck at center ice .... You know it's a huge no no when :( truth be told the Hungarian side DVTK Jegesmedvek was clearly the better team and fully deserved the 4-1 win .... Always
sucks to see the home side lose and unfortunately I was 2 for 2 in that category this weekend in MOL Liga action :( 

No time to waste . After the game we got back in the rental and made our way back to Bucharest . Thankfully the roads were clear and the closer we got to Bucharest the less signs there were of snow with eventually dry roads which I'm sure made both of us more comfortable . Some of the winding mountain roads from Brasov to Bucharest were pretty bad and there is no way I would want to skid of one of those roads ! When we got back to Bucharest we dropped off our bags at Nebojsa's then headed to the airport to drop the rental car off which I was supposed to do originally but since I saw the way people drive here I was a bit spooked and I have to apologize to Nebojsa which I did a few times in person for questioning why he wanted to drop the car off before the bags ... I honestly didn't know we would be driving  by the airport and next time I should just deal with things the Balkan way which honestly I don't think I can ever get a grasp of . You really have to come to this part of the world to see what I mean when I say the Balkan way lol ! I am hoping to some day return to Transylvania to do more vampire hunting :) thank you everyone ! Bravo :) 

Hockey in Transylvania

So as you all know I got pissed beyond pissed my first night out here because my skate was cancelled and when I woke up death was definitely an option ? No it wasn't but feeling like shit would have been an upgrade and I really have to stay away from that palinka stuff ... My god it destroyed me ! I think I rose from the sea around 10 am in my super comfy super amazing room out in Ceskiszereda at the White Dove Pension .... They call hotels pension, don't ask cause I don't know :) Jimmy owns this place and it's really fantastic waking up to see a herd of cows walking by your window . It was serene and beautiful and I was eating it all up . Speaking of eating , breakfast is included with the €40 per night and it is super healthy food . Really loved the deer  sausage YUM !!!!! 

After I took a shower to help me feel better which it didn't :( I came downstairs and Jimmy put some suggestions into Nebojsa's mind and we then decided to go to Strand Praid which is where this giant salt mine is located . All I'm really concerned about is playing some puck but Jimmys on top of things and said he put in some calls . So in our rental we went but first we went to a car wash ? Picked up some boxes . Picked up some dude that ended up being pro player Arpad Mihaly who was property of the Philadelphia Flyers at one point and is now captain of the Brasov Wolves in the MOL Liga which is same league I got blitzed watching the night before .... Still trying to remember stuff :( after running these errands I guess we decided to hit the road . Kinda wish somebody checked the operational hours there because we found out just a bit before we got there that the place was closed ???? Mamma Mia ... And now I'm finding out I'm on ice tonight :) at 7 pm with the mine closed we just wandered around and went to see Jimmys in laws next to his future property . 

By this time I'm finding out that I'm skating with these amateurs back in Ceskiszereda at 7 pm and it is roughly 4 pm . We went by to check out the salt lake which I am told is the only salt lake in the world ! It was beautiful but quiet and around this time I started getting nervous that I would miss this ice time . Really nervous . As the clock ticked we seemed to find other stuff to do which I had absolutely no interest in doing like going to check out a hotel spa ? Yeah ! Now remember this is at least an hour and a half drive and it's about 4:45 now and I need to be in that dressing room at 6:30 to comfortably get dressed . We ended up taking a tour of the spa which was absolutely a waste of time (in my mind) as I would probably never go here ! For €300 a night I will pass and I think the woman giving us this tour realized that too . When we were done this "tour" it was 5:15 and I was down in the dumps thinking I'm gonna miss my golden opportunity . Next thing you know we were absolutely flying back ... I am dead serious when I say Nebojsa did everything he could to get me on that ice and drove so fast that I sat in the back seat with my eyes closed LOL !!! We stopped at Jimmy's house for absolutely no reason then went to the White Dove to drop keys off I think and arrived at the rink at 7 pm which is when I was due to be on the ice ? Nope ! This is killing me :( apparently the ice time is now at 9 pm . Not sure how this scheduling thing works here but it does not work very well . There was a Romanian semi pro league game on with Steau Bucharest playing and wow was the goalie crap hahaha ! 

We were all hungry and went down the road to grab a bite . I usually eat 3-4 hours before my ice time and usually I don't eat anything heavy so I don't get cramps . I wanted to order pasta but they didn't make pasta ? Ok I guess a schnitzel will do .... Not a great idea ... Head back to the rink and of course I'm late and had to rush to get dressed and the guys in the room even rushed me and I stepped into this organized shinny game and immediately gave up a goal with no warmup then threw up on the ice :( I threw up a lot ! Not sure if anyone noticed as I swept it into the net lol ! And then I felt better got into my groove and played quite well . These guys all thought I was amazing hahaha ! They asked me before the ice time how good I am ? I said I'm an amateur and they said yes but how good out of 10 ? I modestly gave myself a 7 but I'm pretty sure thy would have given me a higher rating or based on what the semi pro goalies looked like before our skate maybe they would consider me a 7 at the semi pro level :) after the skate I rushed to get dressed to get back to my room to shower and sleep as we have a big day tomorrow driving around and had to get up early . I am very thankful for the opportunity to skate with these guys and I'm sorry I barfed all over your ice :p