Well I have survived my first full day here in Romania despite the adventure it was to get here. I took a red eye into London and landed at around 9:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. US time). I met up with my coach from England, Leanne, at around 11:30 p.m. Our flight to Romania was not only delayed an hour, but once we were boarded, we sat on the runway for two hours before taking off! So it wasn’t until after 5 p.m. that we were in the air.
This did not surprise me because the Loyola staff has had no luck travelling this July. Coach Logan and Coach Mosley have both been stuck in airports at some point during this July recruiting period. So with the time change, we did not land in Romania until 10:30 p.m. (3:30pm US time). We then took a 45-minute bus ride that was completely packed and had NO air conditioning! Once we got off at the stop closest to our hotel, we had a solid 15-minute walk until we reached our final destination around midnight (5 p.m. US time). Talk about a long day! (21 hours of travel to be exact!)
Leanne and I were able to watch four competitive games yesterday. I was very impressed with the overall level of play. The European Championships are U18, so the players I am watching would be 2013/2014 recruits. The international game has really grown and I believe it will only continue to get better. During one game in particular the fans were extra intense, chanting the entire time. I tried to get a quick video of some of the fans to give you an idea of what they were like for the whole 40 minutes.
And I forgot to mention that the gym must have been at least 100 degrees. They calculate temperature in Celsius over here, which fools you. If you look up the temperature, it says it is going to be 37 degrees today. Well that is about 97 degrees Fahrenheit! So you can imagine how hot a gymnasium can get in the afternoon if it is 97 degrees outside! I packed an extra Loyola t-shirt with me today just in case.
I am about to go down and have breakfast before another day of basketball. I snapped a photo yesterday of my absolute FAVORITE European treat. It is called “pan au chocolate,” which is pretty much just chocolate inside of a croissant. This was the main reason for my weight gain my first year of playing overseas! Speaking of weight gain, I also snapped a picture of a McDonald’s billboard. It still amazes me that McDonald’s are literally EVERYWHERE.
I am hoping to get a chance to walk around the city center of Bucharest today. Don’t worry, I will be sure to take plenty of pictures!