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Stay tuned with Dave Hammond #20 - Post #1

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

Sparta Cup trip #1

Planes, Cows and Coin

The beginning....

Dave, Pablo, Cello, Luke and Sean were greeted by fellow teammates at DTS on Friday 18th June as they embarked on their journey to Europe. As a group they already

endeared there fair share of setbacks with visa's being denied, passports being expired and a virus spinning out of control. Sean being the youngest on the trip is

not only the teams strongest dolphin but a trend setter at the same time. Sean showed up ready to fly with his usual energetic, charismatic attitude but this time he

brought the accessories with. From his standard slow motion hair flip to his checkered pants in which he customed tailered on purpose in order to show a little ankle to his rose gold

fanny pack strapped to his chest 🧐, this dolphin was cleary a trend setter.

After a few laughs 🤣, stares and some confusion before I knew it Pablo and Cello also had a

fanny pack around there bodies as well, while Luke remained with his man purse. "I thought to myself, this is going to be an epic trip as i smiled at the boys inside

the terminal.👜

You see check in didnt go as smooth as we wanted. Pablo and Dave took advantage of there situation and checked in using the preferred flyers rewards program while

the SA variant (Luke), Swiss dolphin (Sean) and Namibian Chef (Cello) stood in line like cattle waiting there turn to plea there case for a boarding pass. Zero issues for Sean, other than

having to cue in an additional line to pay 💲 the team stick bag but his baording pass was in hand so we celebrated. As seconds turned to minutes minutes and smiles turned

to anxiety Cello and Luke were both removed from the line and asked to cue in a different line, to speak to the "office" as there seemed to be an issue with the visa.

We assumed it was the SA variant that raised alarms but it turns out immigration had changed the rules yet again over night and the local boys would not be allowed to

enter Switzerland without going to Spain first. As the stress began to build, Sean still waiting in line to pay for the sticks Pablo and Dave went for refreshments outside

and told the boys to call them if there was anything we could do. As we sat there discussing all the early hiccups while enjoying an ice cold Tafel Lager, Cello came to join.

Pablo asked, did you get denied, Cello responded we havent moved one spot in line after 30 minutes I need some liquid courage before pleading my case. Sure enough 2 minutes go by

and he gets a phone call from the variant saying line change. Cello goes back inside to cue again and Luke joins us for the same plan. (I thought to myself, at least the boys are

working together.

The clock continues to tick and we are forced to go through immigration leaving leaving Sean, Cello and Luke all still waiting in line. By this time we had come to the

conclusion that all 3 would now have to fly straight to Barcelona to avoid any further complications and the Swiss trip would be only possible for Dave and Pablo. An

inconvenience for sure but it could be worse. Pablo and I smooth talk our way through customs like the seasoned vets we are and have so little issues they forget to stamp

Pablos passport and wish us a great trip. You see we had on our PGKA clothing 🤵 and all the staff was concernced about was getting one for themselves. Luckily Pablo was paying

attention and went back to the guy for his stamp. As we made our final phone calls to our wives, sure enough here comes the Namibian Chef with a big smile on his face. Its all

sorted he yells, im going to Switzerland. 1 down and 3 to go. Sure enough, our fashion guru is not far behind stating " you owe me big time" sticks were dinged at 250 usd (ouch)

but we were 2/3 of the way there and "boom" there he came, the whole team together once again everything sorted. Rule #3 I feel wonderful today. High fives were dished out, refreshments

were cheersed and photos were taken. The boys were back. I forgot to mention, before baording the plane they did an additional secruity check. Men in one line and Women a different

line. I hear nothing but laughter from our group and the female secruity guard. I am quickly brought up to speed. Our Dolphin was asked to go in the girls line👰. When he explained

in his high pitch voice ( hey im a boy) she looked him up and down and said checkered pants that were cut off to show your ankles, a pink fanny pack on your hip and your long lushy

featherly blondish hair. "MMM hmm, you may call yourself whatver you want hunny but you aint fooling me" hahaa gender equality our doplhin was given the option of choosing his line.

(Amazing how much our physical appearaces tell a story) haha ‍✈️

A short 11 hour flight and a farily hastle free customs check to get our stamps from the European Union, we are off to our baording gate in Frankfurt. Ae we all logged out to the

complimentary free wifi, our Sparta group was blowing up. Annoucnments had been made that Germany will be closing on June 20th to Namibia. The Biker aka Bald Eagle (Quintin)

writes my flight has just been cancelled. Everyone had a layover in frankfurt including the group going to Switerland for 3 days to run a PGKA Free Hockey Camp. The stress piled on

and Dave, Pablo, Luke and Cello started doing reasearch and putting all options on the table. After many phone calls and google searches it appeared we needed to get to Barcelona

before its too late. So we booked new flights and decided we would fly to Switerland run 2 hockey camps and then turn around and fly straight to Barcelona. A lot of wear and tear

on the body and mind but we couldnt risk the chance that Spain also decides to close its doors to people travelling from Namibia in the last 10 days. We agree on the plan

and decide to fly first then we land we rebook flights as the PGKA camps had to take place. Our best flight, everyone had 3 seats to themselves and all tried to get a few winks in

as we knew it would be a long day. Baggage Claim here we come, all holding thumbs for eveything to arrive. We wait a total of 5 minutes and all 4 hockey bags are there, on to the

sitcks. The bags were all loaded on to our travel carts and we began to head over to oversized before we would be greeted by Micheal Friedli (Swiss Mens National Coach). Pablito,

one can only assume was so excited to greet Michael and cleary not wathcing wear he was driving. Litteraly runs me over. I get hit so hard from behind that my sandel flys across the

airport and i stumble 6 paces nearly out the door while yelling "%^*$" My foot swells up instanly and its all black. The guys have a laugh and then quickly come to my attention making

sure Im ok. Pablo now feeling terrible, checks my foot and says sorry about 10 times. I said ill be ok but im taking "shotgun" for the drive. Foot is recovering but still sore, lukcily

I was abale to get into my skates.

Sightseeing on fast forward mode, we began our way to the rink while taking photos of everything we could, after all we were going to hop on a plane directly after our camps and fly to

Sparta Cup. During a wonderful meal at Michael's home ( Best Swiss meal we have ever had) we took in the fresh air, sat in awe at the remarkable sceneray, with the Zurich Lake over to the

right, a green oasis of hills and cozy homes and the amazing moutains filled with snow. It was truly breath taking. We were in a town of 3000 people only but they had

a year round inline hockey facility which happens to be hosting the European Cup in 2 weeks.

To accompany the astonihing scenery cows were everywhere. A young lad came out during lunch time and rang the bell, and I kid you not about 300 cows came down from the hill from

grazing to go back home. They ran like a younger version of myself, so graceful, so elegant, not without a few laughs. As they entered closer to the house, all single filed and not

one "Moo" these were well trained cows. Lunch was amazing, Roastbeef and Chips ( Hammond Diet stayed on course).

At the rink we were welcomed with open arms and took care of business. Cello Baas tunred out to be a huge assest as English was non existant, but we made a great impact

and left them wanting more. I was able to catch up with one my idols Martin Vozdecky (in my opinion the best inline hockey player to ever play) former Czech National player, now

retired and happened to be the head coach at the very rink we ran our clinics. Although the time was short it was still great to see him and he is considering bringing a team

to Namibia for a special event we are planning in the near future. The team did a great job supporting during the clinic and it was good to move our legs a tad with all the recent

travel. Pablo wore is brand new skates and was very happy and I heard a rumor Mr. Cello Baas is ordering a pair.

Clinics end, we shower and start repacking as we had just picked up all our PGKA uniforms, bearings, and new skates from Power Slide. We are clearly overweight but no time to complain

as we rush to the airport to take a flight at 20h45 to commence our trip in Swizterland. On our way to the aiport, we relfect on our short time we had in this amazing country. We can

assess is they are extrmely nice people, a lot of cows and sport cars, they are extremly wealthy and live an amazing outdoor lifestyle.

We say good bye to Micheal but not before he forgets his backpack with us and needs to drive back to the airport as we can not take to Spain. We rush to our checkin counter

to our dis liking we push our over packed carts all over the airport to eventually get to an abandon counter. Pablo quickly has a gut feeling that something is wrong. We all

attempt to log onto the wifi, which fun fact in the Zurich Airport you can not unless you have a baording pass. So with the clock ticking, Pablo rushes off to buy a sim card

so we can attempt to figure out what is going on. To make a long stressful sitatuion somewhat short, our flight was cancelled. We are are stuck in Zurich Airport with the clock

ticking on our Covid results expiring. We need to land in Spain before 3pm tomorrow. We spend 90 minutes collecting data, Renting a car ( road trip with the boys would be epic) but

turns out that will cost over 2000 swiss francs plus petrol and we need to drive 1200 km's, NEXT. Pablo looks at flights, turns out there are no flights heading to Barcelona,

or even Spain that night. We find a flight the following day that should get us there 40 mins before our test results expire but it will be another 250 usd plus we need

to pay all the extra baggage. Cello and Dave go to the trains. While in line, Cello meets an attractive young lady from Spain. He says something funny she smiles and says

" No Sorry" while she giggles she puts her fingers together imitating something very small. I break down in laughter and Cello waves the white flag. He is still claiming

she was trying to say she speaks very little english, but we all know what she really thought.

Trains will take 14 hours and we need to change 3 times and our covid test will expire, not to mention it will cost 300 swiss francs. Before going back to meet Pablo and

Luke we find out the rates at Radison Blu. Over 200 usd for 1 night per room, but its in the aiport. The teams decides to take the hotel and book flights for the next

day as the options and time have run out. We all sleep in one room and eat 100 usd worth of breakfast in order to make our selves feel better, but not before a

trip to Mcdonalds where the 4 Muskateers combined spend more than 100usd (News flash, everything is super expensive in Switzerland)

We are now on our way to Spain, lets hope things start going are way. We hope to see the guys back in Namibia as we have been updated they have all had to rebook flights

and things have not been easy on them.

Till the next time. Rule # 5 The Best Is Yet To Come

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