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Life in Vienna, Austria!

Hello Again. So now I’ve been in Vienna for a couple of weeks and am starting to get the feel of things. When I got off the plane I went straight to the rink to start our team’s week long training camp. Only one problem, my gear didn’t make it. Out of the suitcase, sticks, and hockey bag the sticks were the only piece of luggage to make it. I knew something would probably not go right after having 3 good flights in which I was the only person in my row, which meant lots of “stretch out to sleep space.” However, as far as being off to a start in Vienna it was going to be interesting…or rather more interesting.

I was not sure what to expect hockey wise. I had been told that the hockey was not going to be as good as what I’ve been playing but that it should competitive. I was excited to meet the team and see the girls skate. Luckily Chelsea had and extra pair of skates, helmet, and gloves I could use. The other girls also got gear to together for me so I was able to get on the ice right away.

The hockey level was a bit lower than expected. A split from one women’s hockey team into two in Vienna, The Flyers and the Sabers, left a couple gaps, which were filled by some of the younger national team players. However, there is potential.

The camp overall was enjoyable. It was nice to spend days at the rink like that again. That may sound weird and sick to some, but sometimes you just can’t a day at the rink. The coach of the camp, a Czech man named Jiri, was rather enjoyable. It’s good to know that hockey language is universal. I didn’t need a translation for most of his speeches. I’d seen them all before, I knew what he was saying by the way he moved. It was almost comical sometimes how similar he moved to hockey coaches I’ve had in the past. You could tell when he talked about strategy, body placement, ways to move your stick.

The girls are great! Some of our teammates are still warming up to us but for the most part the girls are very welcoming. They also have a great sense of humor so time at the rink and hanging around town with them is always fun. The board of the organization has been good about trying to get everything set for that we want and need. A big bonus to that is they realize we need more consistent ice time and competition. Thus we will be skating with the boys as well.

Vienna itself is a very neat city. There is always something to do which is nice and the architecture here is unreal. A walk down the block can be a great adventure. The Viennese take pride in maintaining and restoring the architecture, which is a great quality. First the first week I thought that it was nice for people to still take time to create such architecture, however, the newer building are modern and still fall into wanting to be more efficient and economical than works of art. That’s not to say they look bad or anything, just that they are not like the buildings of old. Yet, they are so lucky to be in a place that has this much history and a part of that history being a dedication to the aesthetic pleasure or decadence of a building and it surroundings and they do well to maintain it. The city is also very clean, you don’t get a feeling of grunge or unkempt walking around in any area.

It is interesting getting into daily life and experiencing some of the different mentalities between cultures. Things are very quiet here. For example, being on the subway, not that many people talk or play loud music. If they do happen to have a conversation, they keep their voices low. Further, no one looks around much. Everyone keeps to themselves and seem uninterested in others people’s business. It is also not common to look at others when walking down the street, which can make walking a contact sport sometimes.

The food here is ridiculous. Their equivalent to a Dunkin Doughnuts is Anker, a pretty decent bakery with pastries that smell way too good to pass up. It is amusing, though, that the food that is the typical Viennese dish is a fried food dish, schnitzel. I went to a street festival with the family I am living with. It was really interesting to see everyone dressed up in their authentic old time clothes and celebrating the festival probably the way they had celebrated it for hundreds of years. There were roasts over open fire, country musicians, and fun street vendors. We meet up with some friends. They like suggesting new food to try. One couple suggested the bread with smear they were eating, which didn’t look bad, but to hungry hockey players, merely looked like and appetizer. I fear I made a face, which may have seemed like it looked bad or something…they quickly suggested something with meat.

We’ve just started league play and had our first two games with the Flyers. The first game was not so hot. It was a 2-0 loss to a team called Martin. The bench, the systems, and the playing were all in a bit of chaos. So, it was not a preferable way to start the season. However the game we played this week was surprising. We were working with a slightly short bench but and were not sure how the game was going to go. We were playing Salzburg, which was 2nd in the Austrian league last year and placed well in the IWHL.  In the first period everyone was on their game and we came out with a 2-0 lead after the first. The second period was not as good, and the final part of the third was a step back resulting in us losing 4-2. But the girls really showed they had the potential and discipline early on. And 3 of the 4 goals were power play goals. So for a 5 on 5 match-up it was pretty decent. I don’t think the girls were expecting to do this well and now you start to see the change in desire in how they want to compete and really succeed.


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