Olympic Journey: Torino 2006, Day 2

Up at the crack of… 9:30am to head off to Milano Centrale to catch a train around 11. This should be a piece of cake since we had no troubles finding the station the day before. We’ll park in the same crazy tiny-ass spot and blamo, be on our way to torino for about 1pm with plenty of time to spare.

Our trip was going so well until this point.

Fraser decided to take us “an easier way” to the station. There’s some deity out there somewhere who knows exactly what parts of Milano we actually were in, but we certainly didn’t make it to the station for 11. After getting extremely frustrated and giving up his navigational post to Conor, we managed to make our way to the station some time around 11:40. Time to spare so we loaded up with some travel buddies (that’s beer and wine, you know.) and made our way to the Graffiti express.

If there’s one thing very disappointing about Milano, it’s the amount of graffiti everywhere. The engine of this train was absolutely coated. It was a rickety ass old piece of crap, it shook, it rattled, and it was full. So we ended up hanging out in our own little private area drinking our travel buddies.

After a bottle of wine, I started smiling at all the cute girls as they exited or entered the train via our private box. Yeah, I got a few back too. I’m so smooth.

We made it to Torino, finally, around 2 with plenty of time to get to the hockey game. Since we actually knew where we were going via the tram and weren’t going to have any navigational issues here.

First destination: cafe. We walked a couple of blocks in a different direction this time and found a stray cafe on the corner. Of course, there’s a cafe on almost every corner so finding one is never very hard. What made us decide on this one, I’ll never know, but it turned out to be an amusing experience. After a small bout of chaos nobody really knew what was being ordered, but the quirky server (and I do mean quirky) was having way too much fun. I think she was also impressed that I ordered a bottle of wine for just me. Well, that wasn’t really my intent, it worked out fine. I drank it. At some point she asked me my name, what initiated that I can’t say. Perhaps she wanted to go run home and write something on the Internet about a crazy Canadian who drank a whole bottle of red by himself. Where did she end up anyways? Before we could find out anything, she was long gone.

Next stop, hockey night in Italy. Well, afternoon anyways. We got on the Tram, which was crammed with a few Czechs, a few Slovaks, and a couple dozen Canadians.

Bring out the song sheets. Conor, in all his glory wanted but one thing: people singing the hockey song. You know, the good old hockey game? it’s the best game you can name? That song. Sure enough, after a few initial verses a good portion of the tram was singing along. At least those Canadians who knew the chorus. It was definitely a sight to behold. People were recording it too, so if you manage to find video let me know.

We had our signs and made it into the lineup to get in the gates. This time, it was packed and busy. Likely because it was only 30 minutes til game time and not over an hour like the previous night. We found a contingency of CBC people, or so we thought, and started yelling “CBC!” holding up our signs, a four part masterpiece, which coincidentally had CBC on them (“Ciao Brantford Canada!”) with a malfunctioning leaf on the end. I liked the leaf, and I didn’t really know why.

Security was impressive, and quick. Again, knowing where we going this time getting there was a breeze. As we walked towards our gate, I overheard one girl say to her friend, “I’m gonna have a load of pictures by yourself” — me having the wits of a bottle of wine in me said “I’ll fix that!” so I took the crazy leaf, and got her to take a picture of us. So, there’s one picture of me, the leaf, and a cute girl out there somewhere.

To the game.

The game was great. The crowd was packed in, some 9100+ fans. A nice mix, although heavily Canadian it appeared. Lots of Czech Republic fans surrounding us, so it was of our utmost importance to be louder than them. That was pretty difficult, but I think we succeeded.

Some point during the came one of the CR fans decided to swap hats with Conor. Of course, the language barrier was strong so it was a matter of pointing and saying the word “hat” a few times. It was a cool thing to do, and the hat Conor got was cool too.

Canada managed to win it, with an edge of your seat, nail biter at the end. The whole game was fast and crazy. Unfortunately, they kind of fell off the face of the ice in the 3rd period, but luckily, they won for us. Since they didn’t plan on winning any more games, it was good to see one they did win.

After the game, the crowd poured out. Canadian chants all over the place. When Canadians collide, you could tell by a general “Woo!”

We made our way back to the bus stop to go somewhere. We didn’t really have a destination. We just thought we’d move away to someplace where it’s not as busy as it would be in the immediate surrounding area of the arena. We wanted some eats, and more wine.

We picked a random stop in who knows where, and jumped off. We were followed by two other people who apparently thought we had a clue where we were going. Well, they were quite wrong. Although, they were somewhat friendly and gave us a good idea of something to do. After sorting out some more bus issues we were off towards the medals plaza and anything around it.

We found the sponsors village, and as we stood outside chatting with this lady some Norwegians came up and asked to get their picture taken with us. Us? We’re just Canadians. Oh, that’s right. We are. So I held up the leaf and we had a couple pictures taken with these people, whose names we don’t know. They were smiling and happy, and apparently we had some sort of fame about us.

The group of us proceeded into the Sponsors Village, where upon immediate entrance we were approached by, from what I can remember, a ridiculously cute Italian girl who liked the leaf. She apparently wanted the leaf, but I didn’t want to give it up. I’m greedy like that, as I said, I liked it for some unknown reason. I also had pictures to be taken with the leaf. Of course none of this was planned. She did however sign my leaf, of which I don’t understand, so maybe someone out there can tell me.

As we meandered in further, more people asked for pictures with us. I really, really, don’t understand this. Was this leaf drawing that much attention to us? Apparently; so we got our pictures with them and kept on going, and going, and going.

Finally, after browsing around and checking out the medals plaza, we found a nice little restaurant. We walked in, and if you ever wanted to feel out of place – this is how you do it. Wear a bunch of gear, flags, scarves, jerseys etc and walk into a nice classy Italian restaurant. That’s what we did, and we had fun doing it. Strangely enough, nobody there asked for a picture to be taken with us though.

Ah well. The food was good, fantastic even. Jamie ate horse. And strangely enough, we made it back to the graffiti express just as the whistle was blowing… again.

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a mindless soul flushed down the toilet
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