After a few weeks of putting off our travels to Thessaloniki Greece, Brett and I spent the entire morning and afternoon packing and running around Hermosa Beach getting stuff for the next 9 months. Throughout the day we had visitors to the house to say good bye and wish us good luck on our new adventure. Around 5 o'clock Brett and I also ordered some salads and pizza from Paisanos thinking that it would be the easiest way to have friends come over to relax and hangout. Have I mentioned that our flight leaving from LAX was at 8 am which meant leaving the house at 6? Anyhow, friend brought over beer and wine which turned into a guzzle fest and a full out party. We probably had 20 people over and figured it was best to head up the street to a dive bar called The Saloon thinking we could get in on their specials of free hotdogs and cheap pitches...only problem was the free hotdogs ended at 5pm. After a few rounds of golden tee some terrible games of darts and 25 pitches later we needed to call it a night and finish up our packing. Not so much fun but wouldn't trade the night for anything. Nice to go out with a bang and hang with all the homey's.
Our flight route was from LAX to NY to Rome to Thessaloniki. We didn't make our flight reservations. On the flight to NY I was sat next to a man who did not understand the rule of invasion of space. He was an Arabic man that was not fat but wide with dark hair and dandruff on his shoulders. Before we took off he pulled out his Quran and started reading out load. I'm not racist in anyway but to be honest it was kind of the last thing I wanted to see or hear before taking off into the skies. We didn't say anything and just figured he was praying or what not. He did this for the majority of the flight and as he was reading he started moving back in forth jabbing me with his elbows and leaning over the book with his right elbow pushing my food trey into my legs. It was pretty interesting to say the least...Brett and I put on our headphones and I leaned into her as much as possible. This guy turned out to be really nice as he spoke to us as we landed about the weather in NY and what not but he came off as just a little bit odd. The rest of the flights went as well as can be expected with small delays but nothing that would make us miss our connections.
Landing in Thessaloniki we weren't sure if we had someone to pick us up or not. At first thought we were just happy that all of our bags had arrived and it was easy as 1, 2, 3 to get through security and what not. As we walked out the gates my assistant coach and computer technician were there to greet us and it was really refreshing that their English was fairly good. We threw our bags in their car and headed to the area of Kalamaria where our new home would be. Didn't have a chance to see much from the car as Brett and I were both a little loopy from the travel but as we pulled up to the curbside our new apartment building was very pleasant. Its probably a 5 story building with red awnings on each of the balcony's. There were lots of trees in the street and plenty of plants. I forgot to mention that the weather is about 95 degree's outside. We got our luggage up stairs and as soon as we opened the door I could feel that it was probably 10 degrees hotter inside.
The apartment is old and has little character. The walls are made of cement with wood framing around the doors. One bathroom with a shower as wide as my shoulders and a roof about 6 feet 2 inches tall. Brett is 6 feet 1 inch and barely fits standing straight up but I have to put my head down and spin in circles to get wet. There are two bedrooms...the "guest" room is made up of baby furniture and a tiny bed for a small child. The "master" room had a queen size bed with terrible sheets and two pillows. The kitchen is pretty small but is more than enough for the two of us. Then the living room has a love seat and a bigger couch with the one air conditioner in the house and a tv that was probably made in the 80's with a 12" screen and one channel in English...MTv. A longer story shorter is that we had to move our mattress onto our living room floor under the air conditioner just so that we could feel the cooler air.
Today was our first day here and Brett and I woke up early to cruise around the surrounding area to see if we could get some food. We came across a super market where we could stock up on the basics. It is really nice how almost everyone speaks English and went out of their way to help us find what we needed. Its hard read the alphabet here as everything is written in Greek...like at a fraternity. I'm sure we'll get the hang of it sooner or later.
Had a meeting with the team, coaching staff and officials of the club today just to go over some of the schedule. Seems like we will have beach workouts 3 times a week in the mornings along with weight training and each evening we will have actually volleyball training in the evening. Tonight when I got home from our meeting we checked out a new apartment that seems to be a little more updated and has a view of the sea but won't know if we can move into it until tomorrow. Also, when I got home Brett made us dinner and we don't have a wine opener for the wine we bought today so we googled "how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew" and tried the method. For those of you who don't want to watch the youtube clips the strategy is to put the bottom of the bottle in a padded shoe and hammer it agains the wall. On the first few hits I heard stuff falling off the other side of the wall so I tried a different spot to no success. We tried another method of a hard souled shoe...one of Brett's boots. All we did was knock a small hole in the wall! Maybe its a good thing we are working on moving out of here.