September 2014 took me to Chemnitz, Germany for the league opening weekend, to Vienna, Austria, thru Czech Republic and on to Budapest! It was an amazing trip and a great opportunity to visit my girls and catch some games...as well as amazing sites! The kick-off in Chemnitz included a wonderful banquet celebration where I had the chance to hang with my players, Jazmine Redmon(Gonzaga), Adrienne Godbold (Illinois) & Mekia Valentine (UCSB), as well as the coaches that I always work with! I was able to take in some great basketball, amazing sites and even had time for some weinerschnitzel! I was fortunate enought to spend a little time in Dresden...what a beautiful city! Great recommendation from Jen Kerns (Halle head coach)!
After the weekend we drove to Vienna, Austria, but not without the help of Rene Spandauw (Saarlouis) setting up my car's navigation in English...I was struggling a bit to find my way as it was talking to me in German!! Thanks again Rene!!
The drive to Vienna took me thru the Czech Republic so of course I stopped at the Prague square and picked up my favorite chocolate / salted caramel fudge at the Choco Story chocolate shop...they have a bit of everything...trust me everything, chocolate there! We continued on thru Czech where I was able to meet with a few more GM's along the way. Once we crossed the border into Austria, in the dark, it was a bit nerve-wrecking as the entire country seemed shut down! Luckily there was an open gas station where we were able to gas up as well as get the sticker on the car...must have a sticker to travel on the highways, apparently!! Vienna is an amazingly beautiful city and I was so excited to meet up with my girls Hallie Christofferson (Iowa State) and Jaterra Bonds (Florida) as well as finally meet Dr. Norbert and Helga Steger with Flying Foxes!
The Steger's treated us to a phenomenal Austrian dinner where we met several business associates of theirs:-) We met for lunch that went into dinner and I was taught that this is how they do business:-) It was a wonderful afternoon / evening that commenced with yet another meal with Jaterra & Hallie! I definitely ate well on this trip! The next morning was spent on a horse drawn carriage with new friends, touring the beautiful city of Vienna.
I didn't get to the beautiful scenery in Salzburg that we have all seen in the Sound of Music nor did I get to the famous Vienna Boy's Choir, but I have to save some things for the next trip! I did have dinner with a famous member of the Boys Choir however, as I learned the Dr. Steger was one of the leads back in the day:-)
Next stop, Budpaest! Possibly my favorite city ever! The beauty and the history is amazing and the food is beyond words. Love that goulash soup, as well as everything else I tried! We hiked up to the Buda Castle and watched the changing of the guard. Lucky for us there was a festival going on so we checked that out...it was a tasting of their palinka, which I had no idea what palinka was, but always game to try new things! Trust me on this one...you obviously have to develop a taste for their traditional Eastern European fruit Brandy!! Talk about burn!!! I think I will stick to the goulash!
We capped off the night with a gorgeous river Danube cruise.
One highlight of my trip was a reunion with my favorite Croatian Marta Penzar and her family who traveled down from Zagreb to meet up with us! I coached Marta in Port Townsend where she was an exchange student for a year! It was so nice to meet her family and spend some time with my favorite girl!
Another highlight was the amazing Cave Church...a church completely underground with amazing structures and history! I even got there just in time for mass! http://www.aviewoncities.com/budapest/cavechurch.htm