Well our Hungarian adventure is almost over. We had our last training session last night, and this morning we scrimmaged the Eger boys 16/17 team. Retrospectively this has been a surreal experience so far.
Firstly from a traveller’s perspective, Eger has surpassed expectations. Although I’ve been here before, I definitely did not fully take into account all that Eger has to offer. The last time I was here, circa July 2000 I was still a teenager (19) and very much a young coach and inexperienced traveller. The only thing that stuck in my mind was how awful the food was that trip. This trip has been completely different. The food has been world class (but admittedly these days there are now a RANGE of vegetables that I actually eat, and chew whereas back then the only gullet acceptable vegetable was the potato).
The other travelling aspects that I never appreciated last time was the opportunity to swim in the old eger pool. Theres just something special about a pool lined with rocks at the bottom and filled with natural spring water. I have no idea why I never tried it back in 2000… young and stupid as always! I also got to swim in the new indoor eger pool which is also spectacular.
From a water polo perspective, this trip has been equally ground breaking for me. Taking over my first official senior international team has been awesome! There are always things that need improvement when you are a coach, but I couldn’t ask for a sweeter or more hard working group. Being a foreigner coaching in foreign language has seriously not been as bad as I thought. I honestly believe that if I had to leave now, the team is light years more organized than when I got them first!
The worst part of this trip is now I have to decide which 2 players wont be coming with us to Shanghai. Picking the 13th man always sucks! Back with my Western Province days in Cape Town I used to hate selections. There was always so little to separate the players. And the same here. All the girls have worked hard, and improved. But alas team selection is why they pay me the big kazakhstani bucks (called Tenge).
Tomorrow we have the day off to explore Eger. I am going to do some shopping and maybe some wine tasting. Thereafter we leave Eger at 4 bloody AM on Tuesday to catch an 830 AM flight from Budapest to Kiev. In Kiev we have an 11 hour layover, then a red eye flight from Kiev to Almaty.
until my next port of call