The story starts here. This is my first post about the HTU Federation and for sure will not be the last. That’s why we will embark in a journey in Europe to visit our federation friends that are scattered around the continent and beyond it.
But like all major journeys, they start home. Home is where your heart is, they say, and that should be a general rule. But where is home? Although currently I am thousand of miles away from home, I will start the journey with a visit to Iaşi, Romania. Iaşi is located in the north-western part of the country near both the borders with Republic of Moldova.
It is considered the cultural capital of Romania and it is the fourth most populous Romanian city.
Many attractions can be found here, like the Pallace of Culture (left image), Copou Park and Golia Monastery, among others. This is the home town of FC X-Team, managed by xuturo (a.k.a Alex). His team is full of expectations for the incoming season, hopping not just to obtain an excellent position at the end of the season, but also to gain formidable experience. His star player, Tijmen Luikinga, declared that he has confidence in his team-mates and together they will promote in the 6th division the next two seasons. Although they were knocked out early from the Cup, this young team may be the surprise of this division this season. Coach Vladimiro Grilli is expecting wins in the next two games and hopes someday he’ll be coaching his team in the country’s first league, Liga I.
Next, we shall go towards Krakow, the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland, being dated from 1257. A journey of 1000 km lies ahead of us and we need to dress up thick and buy supplies for the road.
Krakow or Stołeczne Królewskie Miasto Kraków, gets its name from the legendary Krakus, founder of the city and ruler of the Lechitians tribe. Its main attractions are the Wawel Castle (the legend says that an evil dragon existed in the hills nearby), The Market Square (built in the 13th century) and St Mary’s Church (built on the remains on a former Romanesque church, it is one of the most important churches in Poland).
St. Mary’s Church is situated at the north eastern edge of the Market Square and it is home of the largest wooden altar in Europe.
Krakow is splendid, fascinating and the study place of the young manager hubeq (a.k.a. Hubert). His team, Krosnianka Karpaty Krosno, is strong, full of youngsters who tasted victory last season but they were denied the “fully deserved” promotion in the country’s 5th league. Coach Andre Bras is confident that his team will stay focused for the incoming season and hopes to repeat last season’s performance. Gerhard Kolbl, one the team’s superstars, hopes to fulfill one of his biggest dreams: to play in the Hattrick Masters. Will he manage that? Let’s follow this team and we will see.
Not far away, we find another Polish manager, leebebbs (a.k.a Lee). He is the manager of Renaissance FC and one of the main poles of British chivalry in Poland. He greets me with a bottle of Zubrowka vodka, which is too much for my Romanian throat. His young team is fighting for honor and glory in the forthcoming season and Michele Fuca and co. are sure that this will be their season. I’ve seen his youngsters on the pitch and I’m telling you for sure, these kids will be future superstars!! Lee introduces me to one of their cuisine delicacies, Bigos. It’s a soupy meat stew and it’s delicious.
I say goodbye to Lee and head to my next destination in my Euro trip, Prague, Czech Republic.
It’s only a 500 km journey and I have time to admire the landscape. Absolutely magnificent. Prague is Czech Republic’s capital and the largest city. Located on the Vltava, the longest river in the country, is the home of my next host, Horus70, manager of Horus Falcons.
They recently promoted in the 5th division and are aware of the fact that they need confidence and spirit of sacrifice to prove that last season was no coincidence. Mikhail Llosa, the team’s superstar, is confident that he will be the division’s top scorer, as he hops in his new Lamborghini, after practice. The fans are cheering for him, and he stops to sign autographs. On my way back from the stadium, I take a detour to visit Prague Castle (left image), the biggest ancient castle in the world. I am astonished by its beauty and I am being told that this is also the former residence of Bohemia kings, holy Roman emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia. Prague is beautiful, historical, artistically subtle, in a way science can’t capture.
Nearby, I meet ballinho (a.k.a Tomas), manager of FC Prague Slivers. His team won the championship in the 5th division but lost the qualifier. Therefore, next season he’ll be playing again in 5. Coach Freddy Torvik speaks softly and promises that he will do his up most to outclass last season’s performance. Somehow, Vaclav Louzensky, one of the team’s stars, agrees with his coach, being close to injure one of his team-mates in practice. I think this team has all what it takes to qualify in the 4th division. I wish them best of luck and I’m on my way.
As I leave Prague, I couldn’t help noticing the friendliness and charisma of the Czech people. They’re smiling even in this rainy day. I wave my hand towards the city while I configure my GPS towards Rünenberg, Switzerland.
Rünenberg is a municipality in the canton of Basel. It is a relatively small town, located near Basel. I quickly find out that the wettest month is June during which time Rünenberg receives large amounts of rain or snow. This information does not makes me happy, although I dressed thick for this journey. But my main goal here is to meet Schluurggi (a.k.a Roger), the manager of FC Rünenberg.
I meet Roger, who offers to introduce me to his team. Their stadium is enormous, too big for a town that small. I am being told that 70% of FC Basel supporters have membership for FC Rünenberg as well. FC Basel is no longer number 1 in the area. Dario Pfyl, one of the team’s veterans, hopes that this will be his last season of glory, after which he’ll retire and start coaching. Coach Loic Genhart scolds young Serge Noftziger because he’s not training right. I could see in the coach’s eyes that there’s no room for errors. Their first match will be a tough one, and he wants everything to be done right.
Roger invites me to stay a few more days as a guest in his house to refresh and enjoy the unpolluted air of the area, an invitation which I gladly accept.
But my journey doesn’t end here … There are still lots of places and people to see …
Whom will I see next? Stay close … the story continues …