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Four Countries, One Month

It is now November…. a time where the trees become bare and the grass has lost its’ summer green look.  It is also a time where ball caps are replaced for toques and shoes get exchanged for boots…. however ….in Switzerland, the grass hasn’t lost it’s beautiful color AND my shoes are still my footwear of choice! I have yet to see even a hint of snowfall (of course the mountains are the exception). The weather has been great and my Dad can attest to that as he was wearing just a t-shirt during our tour around the city of Zurich.  Personally, I’m loving the ‘warmth’ of November.  With hockey, we have played 4 leagues games and 2 out-of-league games since my last entry. Our record is still without a loss (knock on wood) but we did have two regulation ties.  We have started training on outdoor rinks, which is kind of a new and interesting experience for me.  It’s no Fenway, but it does bring a little more excitement to practices, especially when it rains! Now, those of you who have been following my blog know that I planned to do quite a bit of traveling during the month of November and as the title states, I visited four countries in one month…and so the story telling begins….

It all started with Amsterdam, Netherlands, a trip that I will never forget! It was a bit spontaneous in that we traveled to Amsterdam mid-week during the last week of October.  I traveled with Sara O’Toole, a player for Langenthal.  If the connection hasn’t already been made, I have traveled with Sara before as she was with me as we hiked the Jungfrau region.  This was our second trip together and we were really looking forward to our visit to the Netherlands.  We arrived early Wednesday morning and immediately made the most of our time there.  We started by going to a small, quaint café near the train station to explore the taste of the Netherlands.  We continued our adventure by visiting a few museums before checking into our hostel.  Following our check-in, we decided to get in touch with our artistic side and visit the famous Van Gogh museum.  It was there that I discovered I am a very harsh critic to work that has attained great success.  By the time we grabbed dinner, we decided to check out the nightlife of Amsterdam and maybe stroll down the “red light district,” and this is where things got interesting….I was so amazed and baffled with that fact that this act of business is legal that I thought I would try it our for myself to see the kind of customers I would attract…JOKING!! Of course I didn’t do this but there were literally hundreds of girls selling their bodies for sex and money…it was crazy!!  The next day, we got up to eat our continental breakfast (of course) and ended up meeting some people for the US and Australia.  The nice advantage to staying in a hostel is that you get to meet many people traveling the world just like you.  Our next visit was to the Anne Frank house and our newfound friends accompanied us to this exhibit.  The line for this was rather long but we were troopers and waited out the line.  It was almost surreal that we stood in a building with so much history and secrecy.  I felt like I was a part of Anne’s story and I am very grateful to have experienced that during our stay in Amsterdam.  Next, we prepared for the concert; we had tickets to see Boyce Avenue.  The concert was great, a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.  With it being our last night and all, we decided to take another walk down the red light district seeing as our hostel was just one street away!  We flew back to Switzerland on Friday having a very successful trip under our belts!

My next big adventure was traveling to Germany for a two-game series against Planegg and Garmisch.  This took place during the last weekend of October and it was organized to be a team-building weekend.  However, due to a few conflicts with other teams and commitments, we actually were short players.  Fortunate for us, and for me, we called up three players from Vienna (a team in Austria) and two of the players happened to be North American and they also were former Vermont Catamount players, meaning I competed against them for four years in college.  This was nice experience for me because it gave us the opportunity to speak about our overseas adventures and the different traditions we have come accustomed too. Our first game was against Planegg, a team we played at the beginning of the year.  They are in first place in the German league so it was tough competition for our team.  We ended up tied 4-4 in regulation and went on to a shootout.  We were successful in the shootout and were very pleased with the match that we just played.  After the game we hoped on the bus and traveled about an hour to the dorm-like residence we were to stay in.  I stayed with Eva and Haruka, so together we had Austria, Japan, and Canada very well represented!! The next day we traveled to Garmisch, Germany and from what I understand, it is a fairly famous area to visit due to the spectacular views of the mountains.  This game was interesting because we actually got lost on our way there and showed up to the game 15 minutes before we were suppose to start.  Everyone kicked it into high gear, except for me. I think I missed that part of the speech because I was the last one to be ready, sometimes with the language barrier I miss the important parts! Besides that, we won our game and feasted on a very delicious meal after the game.

In my return from Germany, I was now to prepare for my dad to visit for ten days! He arrived of the 5th of November, where I met him at the Zurich airport.  That morning, I received an e-mail from my mom stating that my dad’s flight was suppose to land 40 minutes early.  So me, being the good daughter that I am, wanted to be at the airport for when he arrived, but the short story is that I waited almost an hour because his flight didn’t land until it’s scheduled time! That night, I was to work with the Bambini’s and train with my own team.  So I introduced my dad to the Swiss transportation system with having my hockey bag with me! Needless to say, we were sprinting from point A to point B for about 4 hours just to make the tram and trains! The next day, my dad has his first opportunity to see me play in the Swiss league.  Unfortunately, the team we played against wasn’t the strongest team so the thrill and excitement of a close game wasn’t there but I do think he got to see a preview of the strength and skill that is a part of my team.  Following the game (which we won) I took my dad to the local pub where we sat and enjoyed some Swiss beer.  That night, Angela Taylor joined us, so we had the chance to reflect on the past a bit and re-live the success we had as college-teammates! Our match on Sunday was actually against Reinach (Ang’s team) and this was night and day from the game we had played on Saturday.  The competition was great and the intensity was high, it kind of gave me an idea of what playoff hockey might be like.  Our two teams skated to a tie in regulation but my team was successful in scoring in overtime to a produce a win for us.  We came back to my place after the game and had a nice, relaxing day trying to find an English channel on the television! On Monday, my dad and I traveled to Luzern, Switzerland where again the weather was great!  The city was beautiful and we even made it into the Casino where I ended loosing more than I started with! We toured the city and spent some time on the Chapel Bridge, which the city is famous for.  That night I was to work with the Bambini’s and participate in my own practice so we had a similar night to Friday.  However, we did manage to squeeze in fondue for dinner…FYI to myself, fondue before training is not a good idea!  On Tuesday, we traveled down to Vevey, Switzerland where the headquarters of Nestle are located.  As I’m sure you all know, my dad works for Nestle so his excitement to visit this office was quite high.  We ended meeting with three of his former colleagues and one of them actually took us for a drive up the mountain to a spectacular view!  That night, we traveled to Geneva, Switzerland with the purpose of being in the city where our flight left from the next day! The train ride along Lake Geneva was beautiful, pictures really don’t do justice so some of the scenery that is in Switzerland.  The next morning we flew from Geneva to Rome – this was the start to our Italian vacation! We visited the coliseum, the Vatican, the fountain de Trevi, the Spanish steps….etc….we pretty much saw everything in one day as I took my dad on a grueling 8-9 hour walk! Unfortunately, the weather in Rome wasn’t great as rain was in the forecast for the next few days.  We got dinner at a cute, little restaurant and this is where I got to experience the true pleasure of Italian food! The next day, we decided to take an earlier than planned train to Venice due to the weather conditions in the hope that rain would not follow us to Venice. We arrived in Venice mid-afternoon to find ourselves surrounded by water. I feel like everywhere I looked could be a picture, there were canals and gondola rides EVERYWHERE! The entire city is dependent on water transportation, which is very unique and really quite relaxing.  Although, navigating through this city was not easy, I actually impressed myself sometimes with the fact we ended up where we were suppose to! We toured the city for the afternoon and went to dinner that night.  I ordered spaghetti and my dad had lasagna and both were delicious! I’m sure you are all curious to know how the wine tasted however that is a question I cannot answer personally but my dad seemed to be impressed with the quality of Italian wine.  On Friday afternoon, we traveled back to Switzerland and were exhausted by the time we finally returned! Saturday, we decided to tour Zurich and my dad was baffled with the amount of people in the city.  The weather was beautiful and I toured him around the old town and down bahnhofstrasse (the shopping avenue of Zurich).  That night I decided to be chef Kelly, and cooked my Dad and I an excellent trip ending meal.  On Sunday, he returned back to Canada and I was back to my old routine!

So needless to say, the last month has been very exciting with travel, visitors, and hockey.  I visited Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and parts of Switzerland all in four weeks! I’m trying to keep busy and really make the most of my time here! Actually, last night Terhi and I visited the Wine Expo in Zurich to see if I could train my taste buds to liking wine.  I will say that I’m more open to actually drinking wine than I was before but beer is still my drink of choice! I find myself speaking more and more about the holidays and before I know it I’ll be home for Christmas and my time in Switzerland will be half over! Hope you enjoyed the entry…I’m going skiing in the near future so that will be an adventure in itself!



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