Sunday 12th September 1999
Phil: "Okay, I know I shouldn't drink (too much), especially since I've spent most of the night without a drop, but then... Oh my head hurts.... The one thing which is missing at the campsite is breakfast. We don't have much time, since we only got up at 0930 and are expected to meet at the pool for 1000.
The first minibus arrives to take us to the pool. The Brits, although the last of the revellers, are the first up and raring to go. Well, some of us are. Chris looks like death. Colin, Peter and I are first to the pool, and there isn't much point in sitting around for half an hour waiting for the others to arrive, so we head off in search of a small patisserie for some brekkie. This is the life. Relaxing in the morning sunshine, outside a small cafe with a bit of pizza and fresh orange juice .... This weekend is turning out to be a real taster for what I hope to expect out of life in a few weeks time. My aim is to really chill out....hee hee. I could sit here for ages, but then it'd be nice to cool off in the pool, so we head back. There seems to be a completely lack of enthusiasm. I am bouncing around like a kangaroo on speed. Let's get going....oh will I feel differently in half an hour.
There's no real game plan for today, so it looks like we'll mix and match. Eventually we organise a liquorice allsorts of people from various squads and get a session going.......oops, I think I was a bit prematurely enthusiastic....oh, I'm such a slacker, just can't seem to get the stamina bit right. A 2m all over pool seems like a deep ocean now. It's taking all my strength to swim to the bottom, let alone push a puck around the pool. It's not a great help having a sub who's a complete beginner, but I manage to survive the game. Oh to be back on dry land...
The girls have their squad sorted for the French game, but with Marion out (who by the way, played an absolute stormer yesterday!) and a lot of novices from other countries, it doesn't look too good for a win. Demolition Derby! The French romp away with a win. And so the morning continues. Chris has been out cold all morning, and it takes some effort to get him going when the session starts to wind up about 1400. All the players that came along to this session are busy buying up T-shirts from the other sides. The Hungary version is a nice grey one, but looks better without the arms after a quick vandalism job. Okay so it seems a bit 70s, but I have so many T-shirts, and I want to get a tan. Okay improving on my bronzed adonis physique is a little difficult, but hey, you gotta keep trying.
So farewells done, and so we split into two groups. A few folk are completely blitzed and have no desire to anything more than sleep. I can't sit down (hey, the energy's back!!) and want to do the sightseeing bit. Bologna is so very Roman. You can walk all around the centre of town under beautiful arched walkways. Which is so handy with the sun beating down on the old flat top. A quick detour for some ice-cream, awesome ice-cream to be exact. But what would you expect in Italy? Time's ticking on and after coming across the amazingly massive town square (which is sadly semi covered in tarpaulin while it goes through renovations for the millennium), we start to look for some lunch. Unfortunately at 1600, most places have shut up shop for the day. Eventually we find one, and grab a quick bowl of pasta.
We've got plans to head out to a local restaurant for the evening, so we decide to catch a bus back to the campsite. We seem to have gathered quite a few leaders, but none quite as bad as the old bloke who wants to help us get bus tickets. (You can't get on a bus without having bought your ticket from a machine or shop). This guy just doesn't realise he is hindering us more than helping .... No sooner have we got tickets, then the bus arrives. Now where's Doug? He's off getting more ice cream. Oh bugger. especially since 5 of us are already on the bus. And so we wave goodbye to Eryl, Helen and Marion. Apparently Doug got back only 30 seconds late!!!
Now here's a slight problem. We're on the bus and have a good sense we're heading in the right direction, but we'll have to keep a good look out. Unfortunately some of the younger Italian ladies sharing the bus are distracting our attention (well, mine at least). The bus hasn't followed the main road, and is winding in and out of various housing estates. And then another.....hey, this looks familiar....it's the estate with the wasteland on that we ventured onto on Friday night....but no one believes me, or at least enough to get off. We continue past and keep heading further out of town. This doesn't seem right.
Now being the organised little boy scout that I am, I printed off the tour booklet from the web, and in among all the other stuff, there is mention of a bus top. Now we'd all assumed it was AT the campsite, but in fact it could be that it's close by. So on the way back from the terminus we jump off at the right spot. But of course, half the party were not on the bus, and they definitely won't have a clue where to get off. Liz, Mark, Rob and I do the honourable thing and wait by a bus stop. And not too long after, it comes. So I stick my hand out, and zip .... it drives straight past. Ignorant Italian, but the others spot us jumping up and down like headless chickens. And so it pulls up 20 yards further on.....on the 'correct' side of the road...ohhhh, stupid.
A few hours later and we're back with all our glad rags on for our final night out. The restaurant's okay, the waiter's a nazi, the pizza...well, it'll do, the wine and beer seems to go down well, and everyone's in good humour. More beers back at the bar afterwards and a very heated debate about hockey sessions. And then about 3, it's home to bed.
In the end, it's been a superb weekend, and I want more.....I am really hooked on the octo-thang. And the people are great! I'm grateful to anyone and everyone for making this trip soo good."