The last six weeks have been amazing! I've been able to travel more of Europe, play a lot more hockey and overall I feel more comfortable here on Salzburg.
On the hockey side my team has seen a definite improvement. We are in a race for 2nd in our division with Minsk, a position which we hope to secure when we face off against them in February. We've won a few key games on the road and I think we will be able to keep this record up for the second half of the season. Personally, I'm still adapting to a different style of hockey here, but I feel pretty good with my play so far. I could probably take less penalties but that's just the Canadian hockey coming out I think. The girls on my team have been great and my German is based completely on hockey terms used on the ice and in the dressing room.
On a more personal note, I've enjoyed visits from my sisters Carla and Maria as well as my boyfriend Josh. It's been so nice seeing people from home. I love it here in Austria but I find my myself missing the familiarity of home at the same time.
Maria arrived mid December and we toured around Salzburg for a few days. We went to a spa in Germany which was amazing, pool-sized hot tubs overlooking a mountain. We also visited a traditional Austrian brewery where they serve beer by the litre. That weekend we had an away game in Bozen, Italy and Maria traveled with the team to the game. This was one of our more exciting games and we came away with the win after two rounds of shootouts. It was a great way to go into the holiday.
We then headed to Leicester, England where we met Josh for Christmas and New Years. The three of us visited London and did some touring. We tried going to an EPL soccer game and learned a tough lesson at the hands of a scalper when we were sold fake tickets. But we all bought really cool Tottenham jerseys so at least we looked good. We saw the Thriller musical in London and hit up some of the main tourist sites. Back in Leicester we actually were able to catch a Leicester FC game which was a lot of fun. The crowds at soccer games are half the fun, they could teach hockey fans a thing or two about cheering. After a few weeks of relaxing and holiday partying I had to leave the UK and head back to Austria.
Maria headed back to Canada and Josh and I took off for Austria. We spent a few days here, one in Vienna where Josh got to watch us play against Vienna, the team to beat this year. The best part was when we got to see the castle in Salzburg. It was breathtaking. The castle itself is astonishing and overlooks all of Salzburg. It was built 900 years ago, so far I haven't seen anything in Austria that tops it.
A few of my Austrian friends had been telling the imports about this holiday 'Krampus' that we attended in December. It is worth looking up. I'm glad we got to take part in this part of Austrian culture but it was without a doubt one of the weirdest things I've ever been to. Basically Saint Nicholas'
evil twin beats the bad out of you before Xmas. People dressed in pretty scary outfits roamed the streets and hit us with whips, they weren't messing around. I also was one of the lucky ones to get some sort of black dirt smudged all over my face. It was fun though, something I've never seen before. We also tried gluwein, which was delicious!
Next we are back to Bozen where we hope to come away with a win as they are right behind us in the standings.
Thanks to my Canadian visitors! I'm all the more homesick now that you're gone but it was an amazing time!
Team website: www.dameneishockey-salzburg.at
League website: ewhl.com