9 hour bus trips are always better when you win. Trust me. We had a match against Schwerin this weekend. They were top of the league last year and play champion’s league, so we were excited for a good match. The only downside is Schwerin is one of the 2 cities farthest away from us. They’re up north past Berlin. I was a bit spoiled last year because we flew to quite a few away matches. This year, it’s all about the bus. Good news is we drive out the day before a match. Bad (and not so bad) news is we drive back directly from after a match. When you really really look at it, it’s good because we’re getting back to our city (and our own beds) as soon as possible, and nobody wants to waste daytime on a bus if its possible.
So I pack lots of ‘things’ to spend my time. I’m not a big napper so I have to keep myself busy. I’ve got 2 hardcover books, my nook, my iphone, my journal, and my ken ken book (a sudoku variant) I’ve also got my German lesson book and worksheets from class. Oh AND a few hundred player cards that need to be signed. This legit took me the first 2 hours if the ride (with a few rounds of candy crush mixed in. I am addicted to that darn game. Unfortunately my computer is broken otherwise I would have that loaded up with some movies and tv shows to keep me busy but alas, not for this drive. I’m seriously contemplating buying some yarn and knitting needles and just going for it next road trip, we shall see! The major key is being able to fall asleep post match. We’re looking at an arrival time in vilsbiburg around 6:30 am O___O good thing I don’t have a lot of heavy duty activity (or anything) planned for Sunday!
Player cards. Starting point.
Done! Wrist cramp #firstworldproblems
We don’t get a ton of free time but I am trying extra hard to take advantage of it when it presents itself. So when we had a Sunday off, Tama and I decided to take a day trip down to Innsbruck, Austria to see a couple of our friends from the Men’s National Team who are playing there.
It takes between 2.5-3 hours to get there, so we started the drive off early. That was a great choice because we started it right with a FULL rainbow. The German countryside is something I I fell in love with at first site. We took backroads (don’t ask why) for the first half of the trip, and although it was a bit sketchy not knowing exactly where we were, it was BEAUTIFUL. The rising sun reflecting on dewy fields and rolling hills; there’s nothing like it.
Sidenote: driving on the autobahn is exciting! I like driving fast- don’t worry mom, not THAT fast- so driving without a limit and at my desired pace is great. I think I’m driving pretty quickly and then all of a sudden a car whips by you.
We ended up having such a nice time in Innsbruck. We met up with Erik Shojo and Andy Hein along with Erik’s visiting friend from college Jake and Andy’s wife Kate (I can’t leave out Andy and Kate’s lil’ dog Harry). We filled up on an all you can eat late brunch at Cafe Moustache, strolled around the city, then went to the ski jump area in the city to get a nice view and have a coffee. I was actually in Innsbruck 2 years prior visiting Ellie Regan (Blankenship at the time). It was fun seeing a city for a second time. It was as beautiful as I remember and this time it was warm being a nice fall day.
That evening, we all went over to Andy and Kate’s apartment to make a family dinner and watch some NFL football on their Slingbox.It turned out to be such a great time. Having an evening to relax, eat, drink, and feel so very American on a Sunday evening felt right.Unfortunately, the evening came too soon and Tama and I got back on the road to head back to Vilsbiburg. The trip was absolutely worth the drive and I’m looking forward to doing it more in the future!
On the road!
Lame shadow, cool group.
From behind the ski jump
We don’t mess around! 5 days in to being in Germany and with my team and I’ve already hit one of the big bucket list trips: Oktoberfest!
Oktoberfest is celebrated all over the world, but the big kahuna of them all is in Munich. My team and I got all dressed up in traditional drindls and leiderhosen (dresses and leather pants) and hopped on the train for an hour and some change to do as the German’s do!
I came to learn that it’s not exactly what German’s do. It sounds like many German’s prefer to enjoy Oktoberfest in their local bierhaus and avoid all the tourism and overpriced beer in Munich. Regardless, it was an incredible experience! There were TONS of people there. Basically, it feels like a huge county fair or amusement park. There’s stands left and right with food, drinks, games, and souvenir shops. And almost everyone is dressed to the 9s in their traditional German garb. (I really wanted to get my hands on a pair of the wool calf warmers!)
But the main attraction are the tents. Which aren’t really tents in the common sense of the word. They’re more like big event halls. Each is named after a brand of beer and sell liters of only it’s respective brand. Inside there are big long tables with people jam packed in the seats. Those are a free for all, so people tend to get their early in the mornings to snag their spots and drink their day away. There are also sections of tables on the outer edges that are reserved far in advance for meals and drinks. Somewhere in the tent is a raised stage where a band is playing crowd favorites to keep the party going. They played quite a few German songs and some classic American tunes as well- Sweet Caroline for sure.
We walked through 5 or 6 tents and hovered on the outer rim to look for seats and get a feel for the tents. We sat and got some food and beers at a tent that was meant more for meals than the crazy party tents. Before we left though I somehow spotted people leaving a table so our group extended their stay for a little longer so we could really get in the mix. My one goal: stand on the table with my stein! Check!
The pretzels in Germany mean BUSINESS.
Tama and I in our get ups
My first hot dog in Germany, woo.
Liana ordered a pig elbow. Couldn’t figure out how to say that, so we pointed to our own elbow and ‘oinked’. Totally worked!
amusement park style
Tama looking tough in the u-bahn crowds
Welcome to Vilsbiburg, the German city I’ll be spending my next 7 months living and playing in!
Vilsbiburg is a town of about 11,000 people. I heard that number earlier but it’s hard for me to grasp what it really meant. All of the girls, when they asked how I liked the city, their own first comment was always about how small it is. But it seems a-okay to me. We’re not in the outskirts of some random place. We have a cute little town (I am purposefully not writing city). Once I finally got some time off to stroll around it took me all of an hour and a half to get almost everywhere I should ever want to or need to go. From what I could tell we have the following: 4 Italian restaurants, 5 bakery/cafes, 1 Greek restaurant, 1 Chinese restaurant, 4 hairstyling salons, 5 markets, 2 office supply shops, 2 gardening/florists, 2 Ice cream/gelaterias, movie theatre and 1 bar. Along with some normal shopping and other stuff sprinkled in. What I love about it is this: everything I could want or need is close. It’s s small town, yes, so it has what’s important in close range. I lived in Vienna, a huge city, but on the out skirts. I wouldn’t call it convenient to go to s big grocery store or to get to certain shops. I got lucky with my apartment location too because I live directly across the street from a grocery store and Italian restaurant and I’m actually on the third floor above a pharmacy. My building is full of doctors and has kindergarten! I see lots of pregnant ladies coming up in the mornings. Major props to them for generally taking the 2 flights of stairs instead of the elevator. You go girls! I’m also 2 minute from a cafe, 1 from the volleyball offices, and 5 to everything thing else. That’s all walking mind you. If anything, Vilsbiburg (for now) brings truth to the phrase “bigger isn’t always better.”
This is the view from my apartment window. Grocery store on the left, Italian restaurant on the right. Score!
Stores & Cafes
We’ve got water!
Lots of action in the City Center
Entering the Center