Tuesday, 30 August 2011

WCBU and Milano

We are now coming to the end of our first month of travel and
transitioning from Euro tourists to Australian visitors. We have
visited Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Greece and Italy. Today we fly
to London and from thee onto Australia.

Our week in Italy was for the purpose of playing the World
Championships in Beach Ultimate. Lee and I were both playing for the
Australian mixed team, the Breakers. Beach games are 45 minutes long
and we had up to 3 games a day. Temperatures were around 36 degrees
and not much cooler overnight in our dorms with no fan or
air-conditioner. Many people slept outside on the balcony with eye
masks and ear plugs in place. we were quite glad of our week of 'heat
conditioning' on the boat in Greece, although that didn't help the

The tournament started Sunday with the opening ceremony and a fair
accumulation of nerves for me as it's the first time I had donned the
green and gold as a player.

Our first game was on Monday afternoon (2pm) verses the Poles. They
were a strong opposition which made it hard for us to get into the
game, but we ground out the win. The sun was hot and the sand
iron-hot. We were quite glad of our purchase of Sand Socks 'just in
case' as they had their first wear.
The second game that day was 6pm against Brazil. Not as strong as Pol
pol pol pol pol pol pol-ska (Poland), I actually touched a disc in the
game and felt that I was able to contribute to the team. We won that
game with good spirit.

Tuesday we had a single game against Estonia. They were a strong team
made up of athletes. They were from Tallinn and played together all
the time, but told us that there were also players in Tartu. (Both
places we had visited with Lee's family.) Estonia gave us a great
wakeup call by beating us in universe point 9-8. This was a turning
point for structuring our team from offense and defense line into one
offense line and two defense lines. Another positive outcome was that
many on the team reevaluated their underestimation of European teams
and the effectiveness of their blades.

Wednesday morning (9am) we met a strong Irish team. Our experience the
day before helped in a universe point to win 9-8. Our second game,
that afternoon, was against the local Italians which we finished early
by taking to points cap (13-3/4?). The third and final game was
against a strong Swiss team. Lee joked with a few of them that he had
played with at Paganello which helped keep the competitive atmosphere
friendly. A really spirited game that we were disappointed to lose.

Thursday we had another big day with 3 games. 10am (Currier Island),
3pm (Netherlands) and the 9pm showcase game against Germany. We beat
currier islands and netherlands, hitting our stride, but the German
team seemed another level again. The cooler temperatures were lovely
making us feel fast, but the poor lighting made the disc hard to see.
I spent much of the time striding up and down the sideline wishing I
could play, but our offense line had trouble scoring.

Friday we were nearly at the end of the tournament and had only just
finished pool play. Our quarter final was against GB. The first point
was long and I called two contested fouls, which seemed to set the
tone for multiple calls through the game. Not the finest game, but
still a solid win of 7-5

The semi-final was another game against Germany. We had learned from
our match the night before, marking the unders and forcing backhand. A
good start with a break on defense was quickly eroded and they won the
game 13-5. I got one of our Ds, but our offense line struggled to
connect with multiple long shots thrown as cutters turned under.
Another well-spirited match, after which their captain and coach
gifted us Roo's Wind Arrow - a concept for maintaining possession on

The final day, Saturday, we played Portugal for bronze. Unlike every
previous day, it dawned windy with incoming storm clouds. Luckily for
us Portugal struggled to connect in the strong wind and a series of
breaks saw us take the game 11-4.

It is two days later and it has still not sunk in that our team
finished third in the world. I hadn't played with many of the people
on my team and I am looking forward to an opportunity to play with
them again.

Somehow with more luggage than we started with, we made our way to
Milan on buses and train. I was not very impressed with Milan the last
time I visited, but this time I felt I understood it a little better.

The first impression of Milan is of its train station which is big,
clean and impressively decked out with marble statues and motifs. We
stayed, fairly cheaply, in a nice hotel on one of the main shopping
drags of Milan, just 1km from the station in one direction and 2km
from Duomo in the other. After a week of late nights and waking with
the sun, we crashed for a couple of hours before a fancy dinner and a
photography excursion to Duomo. Lee proceeded to give me a lesson in
photos using the 50mm lens and the statement, "a good photo captures
what the eye does not see".

My impression of Milan this time around was impressive and
fashionable. The wide streets counteracted the dodginess of graffiti,
a mix which Athens could not duplicate. Exploring the city on a Sunday
night was really quiet, so I was able to take in and accept, if not
appreciate, the ludicrously priced fashions in the windows. Big square
buildings left no doubt as to the size and importance of this fashion

The next step in our 2 months of travel is Australia for a couple of
weddings. Luckily, Lee is able to work from the Melbourne office for
the next month, where he can get to know the new CEO a little better.
We fly out tomorrow.

Sent while mobile

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