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Munich, Vienna, Budapest & Prague, 2011


Tuesday September 27, 2011


    16 of us met at JFK airport and boarded our Delta flight at 4:20 p.m. to Amsterdam. We arrived in Amsterdam at 6:00 a.m. about 1 hour late. We were very short on time to make our connection and a long delay at customs left us running to make our next plane. When we got to our gate Hans Verhoog was waiting for us with his great big smile. Everyone was introduced, but I got the feeling the jet lag was catching up to everyone. The next plane was also late and we took off at 8:20 a.m and arrived in Munich at 10:00 a.m. 3 hours behind schedule.  When we got off the plane we learned that we were missing 5 hockey bags and all our sticks. It took another 2 hours to sort out all the problems with our bags and did not get out to the bus until 12:30 p.m. There we met the Irish, Richard, Steve and Chris, and we were off to play our 2:00 p.m. game with out any sticks.  Stefan Horend who had come to the airport to meet us , and Adlolf the driver, were still smiling and I figured it would probably all work out.

    When we arrived at the rink in Kaufbern we were met by Big Mac, Kenny and Gundi from Hof as well as Tilly and his family from Duisburg.
    Game did not start out so well with us going down 0-2, but we came back and won 10-7.  We got back on the bus and headed for our hotel which was a lot nicer than any of us expected. The team from Kaufbern had rented out a room for a party that evening at 7:00 p.m. I did not know how many of us would be awake that late but hoped everyone would make it.


    7:00 p.m. everyone was downstairs ready to go and what a great party it was. They had hired these dancers and singers who had everyone up on their feet and clapping. It was a great night that went on for a long time, but I called it quits about 10:00 pm.



Thursday September 29, 2011


    It was goodbye to Mac, Kenny & Gundi and off to our 10:00 a.m. game in Schoungau. We stopped along the way to pick up our Italian friends Max, Ivan and Simone. The hockey equipment still had not shown up, so it was another game with a borrowed goalie and sticks. We had never beaten Kaufbern before and wasn’t  thinking today would be the day. However, how wrong I was we were up 1-0 in the first, down 1-4 in the 2nd and tied it 5-5 for a final.


After the game we had lunch in the Restaurant and then took the bus to Munich. Stefan, Adolf, Lynn and Tom took the bus to Munich airport to try and get our equipment and the rest of us were off to Oktoberfest.


    8:00 p.m. was the pick up time if you were taking the bus back to the hotel, but only 2 people made it. The good news is that they had gotten all our equipment back and we would all be able to play tomorrow. That is if they made it home from Oktoberfest?

    Reggie had taken a separate group to see a professional game in Munich, so I was pretty sure they would make it home.


Friday September 30, 2011


    We were playing in Fussen today at 10 a.m.  We departed the hotel at 8:30 a.m. Stefan had arranged for us to stop at a Warrior Hockey Warehouse for us to buy equipment and buy we did, especially Richard who carried on like a woman in a shoe store. The rink facility in Fussen was beautiful a huge complex that was home to the German National team. We had 18 skaters today, so 3 of us, Hans, Mike and Chris played for the Fussen team. We won 10-6.


    After the game they had lunch for us on a beautiful outside patio. Half the team missed there lunch because they were across the street at the Pro shop, but it all worked out.


    On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the train station and dropped off a contingent to go to Munich. When we got back to the hotel it was good bye to Tilly and family who were heading home and work.

    We all hung out on the patio at the hotel drinking beer for a while and then headed into town to the Irish Pub with Stefan and his Wife.

    We called a cab to go back to the hotel and when I got inside I realized I did not have a card for our hotel and I did not know the name. Mr. please take me home was not going to work since no one knew where that was. Luckily I had written it in my iphone and we made it back. So much for practicing what I preach to everyone else.


Saturday October 1st, 2011


    We were departing Kaufbern for Lenggries today at 10:00 a.m. and it all went smoothly.  We were at the hotel by 12:30 and out on their patio to have a nice lunch. Then in a cab to the station and then into Munich.



Sunday October 2nd, 2011


        10:30 a.m. and Franz pulled up with the bus for our transfer to Vienna. Bruce Weston was among the missing; we had packed up his stuff to take along with us, but at the last moment he appeared, a little dirty ,but alive. Somewhere along the way someone had met a English guy name Craig who was biking across Europe and had slept in someones room last night. Anyway we had to drop him off at the train station along the way.  On our way to Vienna we stopped at Bad Tolz, a beautiful town where they have filmed many movies, everyone seemed to enjoy it.  Our 2nd stop was at a rest stop on the motorway that had a view that looked like the alps, it was not a typical rest stop.

    We arrived in Wien at 6 p.m. Everyone unpacked and we took the subway to the city center. It is only 5 stops on the red line to Stephens Platz the huge cathedral in the City Center. John Duffy led a group of his disciples to the Ferris Wheel where he promised to tell them more secrets about life.

    Wien really is the most beautiful city in all of Europe and is worth seeing on any trip. After dinner we got a cab home to the hotel for only 12 euros.


Monday October 3rd, 2011


    We had arranged for a tour of the City with a guide, but only 3 people made it. This tour guide was a little different than our last one in that she spoke more about the politics of Austria and the history of the country than our last guide. It was a neat tour that ended with this guy who built buildings that looked a lot like, Gaudi’s from Barcelona, it was all very neat.



    Back to the hotel and picked up the rest of the team for our trip to Kapfenberg 1130 a.m. It was about a one hour ride up into the mountains and was incredibly beautiful. Our game was set for 2:00 p.m. and it was another beautiful professional rink that held about 6,000 people.  End of the first we were down 2-3, the 2nd was 4-8 and the final of 7-12 was a bit of a gift. We had the assistant to the governor come down and give us a few gifts before the game which didn’t help ease the pain of the ass kicking.

After the game they took us to this Castle that was really, really incredible. We had dinner there and then returned to the hotel by 9 p.m.


Tuesday October 4th , 2011


    We had a tour to Budapest for today. Scheduled departure was 7:00 a.m. we were on the road by 7:20 a.m. which was pretty good for this trip. By 8:30 a.m. we were at the Hungarian boarder and changed money  For Hungarian money, the Forint, which was 204 to 1. for a dollar.

    We arrived in Budapest at 10:30 am. It really is a nice city. Almost as nice as Vienna, but not as big. The bus pulled back out to return to Wien at 3 p.m. and we were home by 6 p.m. even with traffic.


Wednesday October 5th, 2011


    Free day in Wien and we decided to go bike riding. You can rent bikes from City Bikes for 1 euro for the day. You can return the bikes in over 60 different places in Wien alone. This company offers this service all over the world, even in NYC. It is a great way to see a lot of the city in a short time as long as you don’t get lost and understand the bike path rules.


    Game tonight at 8:00 p.m. vs the Wein PD. At 6:00 p.m. 5 paddy wagons pulled up in front of our hotel and we piled in. It was quite a trip, even for the cops. Lights and Sirens up and down one way streets, what a way to live...We arrived at the stadium by 7 and had a long hour to prepare for what I mistakenly thought would be an easy game. At the end of the First we were up 3-2 end of the Second we were down 3-8 and the game ended in a loss 3-9. After the game they gave us a case a beer to ease our pain and took us for a team dinner at the Bermuda Brau which we were all familiar with by now.

Dinner did not end till nearly 1:00 a.m.  Unfortunately some of our players walked off without paying for everything. Luckily Dave Shelled out 100 euros to cover it which we eventually worked out the next day.


Thursday October 6th 2011


    Departing for Prague at 10:00 a.m. However, Rich, Snookie, was no where to be found. We packed up his bags and expected to leave him behind .but at 9:50 a.m. across the street barley avoiding getting hit by a Trolley, snookie appeared, cigarette in hand and a bag of princess books we cannot explain, but he was here. I do not know who was happier me or Matt, but Matt rushed out and scooped him up and got him on the bus. Everything would have gone fine if we could just find the Rink. We had quite a tour that day and eventually arrived 1 hour late. We were playing a team of over 50s today who had kicked our butts the last 3 times we had played hear and to my surprise it looked like age may have caught up with them. We won 6-5.

We stayed after at the rink bar to have a beer with them, but they did not speak much english and we spoke no czech, so there was not a lot to talk about. Except for Duf, who likes everyone.
We arrived at our hotel by 8:45 p.m. It was a very nice, new place attached to a professional stadium.

Vladimir, Peter and Tomas were there to meet us, even though we were late. They helped us to check in and than showed us how to drink Czech beer in the hotel bar.


Friday October 7th , 2011


    We were up early for our 11 a.m. game against the Prague Panthers. Tomas was out front with his meat wagon to transport our bags and there were 5 other cars to transport us. We were playing in in Letnany today a big double rink facility with a nice restaurant and pro shop.  Rich was crazy again for equipment, but even Mike D bought stuff as well.


    Game started out ok with the first period ending 1-1, 2nd was 4-4 and we lost 5-8. We had tied it up with two minutes to go at 5-5, but our hosts turned it on and blew us away. After the game we went upstairs to the Rink Restaurant and had a great lunch.

Vlad arranged for us to get tickets to the professional game that night and we headed home for some rest.

    Tomas showed up with his meat wagon and offered to drive everyone to the stadium so that they would not have to pay for the subway. The ride in the dark closed cabin will be one many people will not forget. It was a great game and we all had fun.

    After the game Peter met us outside and took us on the subway to get to Charles Bridge and see the castle at night. We were met there by Anka who was priceless in her assistance to us.The Charles bridge and Prague Castle are very beautiful, but at night they look surreal. It was worth the trip.



Saturday October 8th , 2011


    We had a 2 p.m. game today, but by 10 a.m. we had 5 healthy scratches who said they were going sightseeing and not playing. Vladimir and his gang picked us up at 1:00 p.m. and we arrived at the rink that appeared to be in the middle of Bedford Sty.

However, it was beautiful inside with a huge skylight that ran right down the middle of the entire rink.

    Snookie was late getting to the ice today because Matt had drank his red bull and caused a bit of a tiff between them, so we started out with 9 skaters. We played well , but they had added Mark the doctor to their team and they rolled over us 5-9. However, Lynn did score a goal.


    After the game we went back to the hotel and across the street to the mall for some Italian food with Anka, Peter and his son, and Mark the doctor. Back to the hotel by 8:00 p.m. and that was enough for me, but the young bucks were out for one last evening. Thank God Anka was there looking out for them..




Sunday October 9th, 2011


    8:30 a.m. was our scheduled departure. I had told everyone be there or I was leaving them behind. This group was not going to win any awards for promptness, we had been late to pretty much everything for the past 2 weeks. However, They were all there ready to go , even the drunkards, dragging their suitcases like balls and chains behind them. I was very proud of all of them , but it did make me chuckle a little.

    Vladimir was there to say goodbye to us. We boarded the bus , unloaded at the airport and were on our way home , back to our lives. Two weeks sure had gone by fast. I did not know a lot of your names when this trip started, but I will never forget you.


John Coyle



   

 

Bluelines’ 9 iron men and one woman.

Anka who kept at least 3 blueliners out of Jail