Yes, it became a reality: Sashka got the chance to play several tournaments again! No idea how long this opportunity stays with us, but for now we have funds to travel to 2-3 events (not remoted too far from Croatia). The first one is ITF Juniors Grade 2 in Senec, Slovakia (25 km away from Bratislava). See below our report on the first day of the travel.
Many things are changing fast around Sashka now. Two months ago our horizons were completely dark with no hope ahead. Now skies are still unclear, but we at least have some sunshines which bring a small light to move further step by step.
So Sashka entered quali in ITF Juniors Grade 2 in Slovakia. That was “a last-minute deal” as a sign-in day for the tournament is today, January 7, and Sashka appeared in quali list only on January 4 (stayed among alternates before).
As we are in a tight budget, I searched for the cheapest options to travel. At the same time we should care that Sashka is not overtired BEFORE the tournament even starts.
Furthermore, the surface of the tournament venue is not typical for clay-loving Sashka, so she needs a couple of hours to get used to it.
We decided to depart on 6 Jan., have a night stay in Bratislava, and then arrive on Jan. 7 morning in Senec, which is 25 km away from Slovak capital. Sashka will have a time to rest after the trip & prepare for the matches.
Our first hop was Porec-Zagreb by bus – and this is where adventures basically started. The main highway was closed because of a stormy wind, so we went through so called “the old road” – just inside Gorski Kotar hills!
It was picturesque & extreme at the same time, as the road was typically “OLD MOUNTAIN ROAD”. One time we found a broken bus ahead of us, and we needed to pass it by. We were so feared as it seemed it was less than a meter between our bus and the edge of the cliff!
Tickets cost around 30 EUR per two, and we spent extra 4 EUR during the trip for coffee, snacks etc.
In Zagreb we spent four hours in transit, had a lunch in Chinese reastaurant (not good at all, but at least it was warm inside) and took Flixbus low-cost bus to Vienna. Oh, almost forgot: we found a “scarf alien” at the bus station – see the video :)):
Zagreb-Vienna was a routine 6-hours trip… so we enjoed Tarantino’s “From Dusk till Dawn” (Sashka has never seen it!).
…But Vienna unexpectedly supplied us with a piece of “travel horror” itself. First, a bus terminal Erdberg is really a shocking place: dark, unserviced, dirty, full of strange people (NOT travellers). Moreover, there are a lot of “BEWARE PICKPOCKETS” signs around, so you definitely feel yourself uncomfortable.
Then something happened in the terminal (I honestly do not know what exactly), and police arrived. They surrounded one man and started to conflict with him. That time I tried to make a picture of Sashka. A guy from police (right one) started to shout at me so I do not film them! I did not really want to do this, but well, if he shouts on me, now I have a right to do what I have been shouted for :):
Sashka was really afraid, me too, and we hastily left the bus terminal out. Luckily our bus to Bratislava arrived, so we hided in it… from police!!!
…Bratislava at night is amazingly nice. A great architecture, nice lighting… and the main thing is understanding that SASHKA GOES TO THE TOURNAMENT!!!
We found the hostel easily, it was cheap & OK (and we had a separate room with a private shower). A friendly guy from reception ordered a pizza for us – BTW it was really good, much better than most of pizzas we tasted in Croatia. Fast messages to Sashka’s mother friends, checking mail & Twitter… And go to bed!!!
Tickets Zagreb->Vienna->Bratislava: 60 EUR (for two)
Lunch & coffee in Zagreb: 15 EUR (for two, unsatisfied)
Hiding from police in Vienna: free 🙂
Hostel in Bratislava: 12 EUR (for two)
Pizza & drinks in Bratislava: 10 EUR (very good!)
Please stay tuned with us – Day 2 review will follow very soon!
You can support Sashka’s tennis travels. A small contribution to her PayPal account firstname.lastname@example.org or Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign will be greatly appreciated. See more options to support Sashka here.
P.S. Sashka sends all #TeamSashka warmest words! See you!