It’s the two week mark, which means there are only five days left of what has been an incredible experience,and the greatest time of my life.
Today was another Hockey free day, If the last day off was anything to go by then this one should also be a cracker. It was breezy morning. Scattered clouds with the sun creeping through, perfect weather for a nice walk round the City. Having decided that Friday would be the day we ventured to the magnificent Niagara Falls, and after weighing up all the options of how to get there, it turns out we’ll be hiring out a car, and driving there ourselves. So it was time to go book a car, and where better to do so than back inside the PATH. The underground walkway houses any shop imaginable and it just so happened to have an Enterprise Car desk.
Necessary information filled out, car reserved, it was now time to put our walking boots on and get going. First of all we trekked back to the Distillery District that played host to the impressive Fan Village through the first week of the World Cup. Now every shop, stall and entertainment tent had packed up and left the site leaving a big hole in my heart. Maybe not that tragic, but still, it was quite enjoyable venture back every now and again, a historical site playing home to the collection of International Hockey fans.
A walk back into the City meant deciding on what to do next. With bellies becoming empty it was time to find some dinner. I opted for a snack bought the other day, whilst a Tim Hortons donought cured the cravings of my Dad. ‘Shortbread Doughnut’ it was called, different, but nice it was. Washing dinner down with an Iced Cappucino was a pleasant way to go, thus leading to our return to the hotel. The time was shortly before four o’clock, and after some time contemplating what to do we both fancied a relaxing swim before heading off to BMO Field to watch Tornto FC. A good time spent soaking in the pool, a brief dip in the spa, and it was time to head back upstairs. A chock-a-block fixture list from tlhe Champions League meant it was time to catch up on football. Celtic verse Man City was SportsNet’s selection, so the three all draw gave us some light entertainment.
Time had soon caught up, with kick off fast approaching, the walk to Exhibition Place began. A good fourty-five minute walk to the ground was taken via the harbour front. Taking in the breathtaking views over the shores of Toronto and it’s neighbouring island, made by the stunning sunset on the horizon. With the seafront walk ending, a collection of baseball pitches commanding a local park made for the next step a long the way. A local softball league were setting up to play, with the odd ‘soccer’ supporter streaming through the grounds. There didn’t appear to be too many fans around, with kick-off at quater to eight and the time at gone half six, I was beginning to wonder where everyone was. All be it until a huge wave of supporters flooded off the train platform and surged towards the entrance gates.
So time ticked by, the player made their way out and the game began. Don’t worry I wont go into the nitty gritty detail but to be truthful there wasn’t that much to talk about. Perhaps the Hawk that parched above my head eyeing up the pidgeons before the game began was the most extraordinary moment, or maybe the red card in the second half to the Toronto striker?
The visitors Orlando, boasted one of footballs modern legends, Kaka. A Brazilian dynamite in his prime Kaka showed just how much class he oozes and boy was he a joy to watch. Michael Bradley, the American holding midfielder, was also impressive and is certainly a player i’d wish to see crack the English football market. After hearing so much about the product of the MLS I was left disappointed after watching a poor game, despite what was on offer for the home side. A win would have guaranteed a home leg playoff fixture but they failed to create any real opportunities whilst missing their star forward Sebastian Giovinco.
Sitting near what appeared to be the Syrian national football team was also a bizarre experience, with chants and instruments well worthy of making it into a carnival parade. Sat at the top of one of only three stands certainly told when the wind picked up. Now I can see why the Americans play their football fixtures throughout the summer, because being sat their on a Tuesday night in December would not be very pleasant at all.
As the full time whistle blew, we made our way to the exits and headed back to the hotel. Passing the outpouring BlueJays fans who had just seen their side lose a crunch game to the Baltimore Orioles, it turned into a quiet walk back. A quick check of social media before bed, and with the live music playing away in the background, Twitter was silent, probably due to most of my followers being asleep, five hours in front of us.
Game two of the final tomorrow will follow a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame, so stay tuned for what should be a great day.