Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Belarus day three - rental car and hockey games!

Friday morning we were up early to rent a car in order to drive to the city of Mir to see a castle. The company we rented from is called Auto Sale and if you ever find yourself in Minsk I highly recommend them! The service was excellent and the price for rental with full insurance and unlimited millage was extremely reasonable. An overall win! On the way to the castle we ate at a cute little roadside cafe that most certainly sees little to no foreigners and were greeted with exceptionally friendly service (well at least for Belarus standards) and darn close to a homecooked meal.

First up was Borshch, of course!
The castle itself was nice, but not a destination one needs a ton of time for. Just fine for us though because we had hockey games to get to back in Minsk!


Small church in the castle complex

Just having some fun in the old castle prison :)

Minsk sign

School bus near the castle

As we entered the stadium, me proudly wearing my American flag T-shirt, it was pretty clear that the majority of the crowd was cheering for Kazakhstan. That, however, did stop me from cheering wholeheartedly for team USA. The group of (probably drunk) Belarusians next to us were obviously cheering for Kazakhstan, yelling things such as "USA go home!", "F***ing Americans!"(was that really necessary??), and "USA get out of Kazakhstan!" (what does that even mean???). I think that they were kind of trying to pick a fight, but we just ignored them. As the end of the game drew near, tied at 3-3, I was bursting with excitement! So as the overtime clock ticked down and team USA took a shot that landed that puck right in the goal, you better believe I was out of my seat cheering, clapping, and chanting "USA! USA!".  It was such a high and so incredibly exciting.  As the American flag was raised and the national another played, Mario and I weren't shy to sing along.  In that moment it sure felt good to be an American!
Thumbs up for team USA!

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Start of the game

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Players on the ice - our seats were kind of high, but the view was great!
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Final score! YAY!!!!

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The next game was to be played a couple hours after the first, but we had tickets to that as well, so we spent the time in between taking in the atmosphere of the fan zone outside of the stadium.  

Photo bombing the Fins

Swiss fans
The next game was Finland vs Switzerland and we were team Finland all the way.  Of course, it turned out again that most of the stadium was for Switzerland.  Probably because there were so many Belarusians in the crowd and Finland had beaten Belarus the day before. Well, the game certainly didn't disappoint and it took a double overtime shoot-out to finally bring victory to Finland.  We were 2 for 2 on hockey victories!!!

That night we hung out some more in the hospitality area by the river and ate blini before calling it a night. What a fun day!

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