Because I couldn’t take my DSLR camera along, this post is not so much about the quality of the pictures, but more to keep folks from back home updated on what we have been up to.
We spent two weeks in Slovakia during the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championships and supported Canada with a passion (my husband and our friend being Canadian). As team Canada was posted in Kosice, located in the East of the country, that was our first stop. Hockey-driven tourists aside, upon our arrival it became very clear that the locals were fully on board with celebrating this event and the atmosphere was contagious.
The opening game in Kosice - Canada vs. Finland was a great game. Despite the pouring rain at the outdoor fan zone and a first loss for Canada, there were a few brave souls like us that stood our ground and watched the game intently on the large screen in the fan zone. Canada lost 1:3 in that opening game which slightly dampened our spirits. The situation worsened, or improved depending on your perspective, after I had gone home to get some sleep and my husband and friend just wanted to get that famous “last drink”. The Finns and Slovaks had such compassion for those few Canadians having made it out this far for the tournament, that they kept insisting on buying them rounds of drinks and green coloured shots. Needless to say, the two of them arrived back at our AirBnb around 5:30 am the next morning, feeling even less appreciative that Canada had lost. Naturally, after some strong coffee and a good breakfast they had recovered sufficiently to venture into town, once again ready for another day of hockey.
Overall our time in Kosice and Bratislava, the country’s capital, was fantastic. All the fans from so many countries were in such cheerful and positive spirits (no aggression could be felt whatsoever in the crowds). The main disappointment during those two weeks was that the IIHF did not do a very good job in restricting ticket sales. This meant that most games were sold out, with the scalpers holding the majority of the tickets, charging horrendous amounts over face value. More often than not, we had to watch the games in the fan zone or a bar, while on TV you could clearly see that the stadium was half empty, where a lot of hockey fans would have happily filled those seats for the original ticket price.
We watched the final of the tournament in Krakow, Poland, when it was once again a face off between Canada and Finland, with Finland deservedly taking the gold medal. What a fabulous tournament indeed!
As mentioned, there are not too many high resolution pictures in this post as I was not permitted to take my DSLR camera - neither into the stadium nor the fan zone. Since low resolution pictures generally fair less bad in BW, that’s what you’re mostly getting below, apart from the snapshots where colour seemed essential.