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To London, England I go!

Hello again!

It’s been about a month since I last wrote and it’s been a fairly eventful month. It started with two games against Team Netherlands.  The first game ended in an overtime loss.  The last play by us was not pretty to say the least. The second game resulted in a shootout loss.  I think we went into the games too relaxed, underestimating Team Netherlands expecting an easy couple of wins since this is their first year in the league.  It wasn’t a bad weekend for the team; there were some really good points to take away from the games. Once the girls stop expecting to win and got gritty they didn’t stop working; however, some simple mistakes and poor penalties cost us crucial goals.

The next weekend we had off and Chelsea and I planned a trip to London! We left Thursday night and got backMonday morning. We landed in an airport in the suburbs of London. We took a train into town that got us near the hostel we decided to stay at. I say “near” relatively speaking as the hostel wasn’t truly out of walking distance from the train but, it certainly wasn’t a comfortable walking distance (especially with our duffels in the raining wee hours of the morning).  We stopped to ask one of the large red double decker busses about directions to make sure we were headed the right way.  The driver ended up giving us a ride halfway to our hostel and another very nice drive drove us directly to our destination. Definitely was some good luck. The first day we worked our way into the center of the city.  It was raining and we decided to head into a store with fun looking shoe displays to dry a bit. Little did we know it was one of the best shopping places to see in London. It had lots of interesting things, not to mention shiny and expensive as well, but a highlight were the smoothies we got there. We ended up walking through the Westend, visiting the national Art Museum, and finding our way to Big Ben, Parliaments, the Aquarium, and the London Eye to name a few. On Saturday we did more sightseeing in the morning, which took us too St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Bank of London, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater (the theater geek in me was very pleased), and the Millennium Bridge. There were lots of cool little things tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the city and the people were all incredibly nice.  In the afternoon we headed to a professional soccer game, Westham vs. Fullham. It was definitely something Chelsea really wanted to see, and let’s be honest; can you really pass up a pro soccer game in Europe? I think not. It was awesome. We had seats mere feet from the field right behind one of the goals. There is nothing like 34,000 rowdy English soccer fans! After the game we headed back into the city indulging the MJ fan in us to see “Michael Jackson’s Thriller,” a tribute show running on the Westend.  The next day we tackled the Royal Albert Hall, a couple more of the museums and monuments, the Queen’s Buckingham Palace, the Calvary, Westminster Abbey, and of course some Harry Potter sights! Surprisingly, the Harry Potter sights were a bit harder to find and most people had no clue where they were. In the evening, I headed to the O2 for the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert! This may not mean much to some; however, Les Miserables is my favorite musical and this was a huge celebration of it. Needless to say it was definitely something I crossed off the bucket list. Some of my favorite singers were there including the woman who was the singing voice for Disney’s Mulan.  For all you pop fans, even a Jonas brother sang. It was a great evening of music. Chelsea, an avid Beatles fan, made it to Abbey Road in the afternoon followed by Wimbeldon.  It was a great trip.

Other off time has been really fun. Chelsea, one of our teammates, and I had a great baking afternoon in which some very awesome pastries were created. I’ve really been able to experience some great food lately. I’ve had some food form the best café’s in France and Italy due to some food connections. Also, I have been able to have homemade Polish dishes, which are very good.  It is quite nice to be getting to know the girls and really start to get to know life in Vienna on a much more personal level and not be a tourist. Our German class is coming along well and we are now able to understand much more of the advertisements and engage in small conversations or at least be in stores or shops and converse a little.

We just had two more games this past weekend.  First we played the team from Croatia. It was a back and forth game. I finally managed to put the puck in the net in the 3rd period after being about an inch off on my shot the whole night. Croatia wanted it just a little more and managed to pull out a win.  We played Salzburg the following day. It was not our best. We lost. Most of our losses are close, this one we lost 6-2. Thinking about the game, we really need to capitalize on our chances. We also got out worked in our D-zone. However, I was surprised at the grit on some long shifts of my teammates and the way they maintained good positioning. So, we’ll see how the girls bounce back at practice this week and how our first away game goes playing Martin this weekend.


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