Thursday, September 8, 2011

Burg Oberkapfenberg (Castle Oberkapfenberg)

I met with Christoph Heigl of "Kleine Zeitung"  today to discuss our project for the newspaper.  I will be writing "insider articles" for the newspaper after each game, or "match" as Austrians call it.  Heigl picked me up at my apartment in Mürzzuschlag and we drove 20 minutes to a castle, where we would be having our discussion.  The castle is called Burg Oberkapfenberg and it is located on a mountain near the Neuberg Highlanders' home ice hockey arena in Kapfenberg.   The castle was old, rustic, and gorgeous.  The view from the terrace of the castle could take your breath away.  This experience marked the first time I had ever seen a castle in person.  Heigl and I proceeded to tour the castle, but we noticed a certain section had been blocked off.  A rope separated us and a spiral staircase, which led to the cellar downstairs.  We found it easy to step over the rope and walk down the stairs.  As we tiptoed down each step making sure no one could hear us, the sun's light began to vanish and it seemed to be getting darker, and darker.  We arrived at the bottom of the staircase to find nothing but a pitch-black cloud of darkness.  The only light we had seemed to be the flash from my camera, so I began snapping photographs throughout the room in order to actually see what was down there.

Eishalle (Ice Hall) and Sport Hotel
After sneaking down to the cellar, Heigl and I decided that we were not done snooping around.  We walked back up to the main floor but thought it would be a spontaneous idea to hop over another rope, which blocked people from going up the spiral staircase.  For a second time, we tiptoed our way up the stairs and approached a room.  As we entered the room, we found a doorway leading to a large banquet hall.  This hall has been used for wedding receptions, according to Heigl.  After observing the Medieval Times-themed banquet hall, we walked down to the main floor to take a seat in the castle's restaurant. 

With great sadness, Heigl and I discovered that the restaurant had closed at 2 p.m. and would reopen at 6 p.m.  I had practice at 6 p.m. so we could not wait to eat until then.  We drank Wasser (water) and "Cola" to start.  The restaurant's staff was kind enough to make a meat and cheese platter with fresh bread for Heigl and I.  Hiegl introduced me to Kren, which is horseradish grated from the root.  It was served with our meat and cheese platter.  It resembled a grated mozzarella cheese but spicier.  We enjoyed a bier (beer) with our meal.  Heigl also informed of a special drink here in Austria called "Diesel."  Diesel is a mixture of beer and Coke, or "Cola."  It apparently is also known as "Shady" in the United States, our waiter said.  We finished our meal and drinks, and when we looked at the clock, it was 10 minutes until practice time.  We rushed down the mountain in a gray mini van.  It seemed quite dangerous at the time as the mountain had only thin, winding roads.  I eventually made it to the ice hockey arena and got dressed in my gear in no time at all.

Our head coach was absent from practice today due to his heavy workload, so our trainer, Axel Riegler, controlled the practice.  We did mostly 1-on-1 drills, 2-on-1 drills, and 2-on-2 drills.  At the end of practice, we made a miniature ice hockey rink at one end of the ice.  With one net on each side of the boards facing inwards, we all stood on the blue line looking into to our minuscule ice surface.  We played a 3-on-3 small-scale ice hockey game to end the practice.
Left to Right: Me, Courtney

Gute nacht! 
"Schlaf gut," as our manager, Margret, taught me tonight.  It means "sleep well" for those of you who don't know German, myself included.


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