Saturday, June 17, 2006

On the 29th of May I took off from London with the aim to get to Greece by bicycle, crossing Holland, the world cup hosts Germany, Switzerland and maybe Italy. Slightly overestimating my cycling capabilities and grossly underestimating the mountains on the way, I got as far as Stuttgart, kind of South Germany, from where I decided to take a flight back to Greece to give my sore legs a rest.

Fate was kind enough, however, to reward me with a surprise visit to the Czech Republic's world cup retreat at Witten, Nordrhein-Wesfalia. Having realised that there is no chance to get to Greece on time for the self-imposed deadline of the 19th of June, I decided to stick around for the victim's of the EURO 2004 semi-finals. And to make the visit worthwhile, I scribbled "DELLAS 104" on a piece of paper; that's the name of the silver goal scorer and the minute that signified the end of the Czech Republic's successful campaign at EURO 2004. In Greek of course, 'cauz those Czechs were too many and too big and could easily beat the living crap out of me if they knew what I was up to...

DELLAS 104': Just to refresh our memory and smiles...

CZECHS SHOCKED: "It will need a forklift to get them out of the pitch", said the greek radio commentator.

GREEK SHOCKED: Nedved did as told but what I have written on the sheet was not caught by the camera due to the fuckin German sunshine. Now I have to do my best to prove that I was fuckin there, or fuckin Andreas will say I downloaded the photo from Google.

PROOF A: Entrance to the Czech team hotel

PROOF B: The Czech team bus

PROOF C: Holding the infamous A4 sheet against the team bus. Was I using a disappearing-reappearing magic marker or was god helping the Czechs to a tiny revenge?

PROOF D: "I was there!" photo

PROOF E: Another "I was there!" photo. Three Czechs sporting Baros shirts were kind enough to help me by posing for a photo after I told them the Nedved-Magic Marker story (the 3rd is taking the photo). Despite 20 minutes of discomforting discussion with stories about greek celebrations and painful czech recollections from that semifinal, they even try to put on a smile. Great guys, bless them!