Monday, April 23, 2018

Travel Days South African Youth Squad

Gathering together at the airport, we arrived all excited and looking forward to the tour ahead.

Once checking in our luggage and having the paparazzi (aka. Parents) taking our team photos and some individual photos, we headed across to security... where the long lines awaited us, which also included a old (we think British) lady fighting with us as she was trying to push in-front the masses of the youth squad.A quick snack and a short browse at the book shop, we were ready to leave.

As we all embarked on the First adventure (8 hours) to Dubai. During this journey 20 000 leagues above the sea we dined like economy class passengers. The flight consisted of many movies of newly released films which both touched us and scared us.

The flight then landed in Dubai to be greeted by 20 degrees in the middle of the night. We then headed into the airport where we found the nearest gadget shop and 'window' shopped to our hearts' content. Ryno managed to buy himself a new watch for the trip. We then went and found our gate which was on the far end of the airport. After finding seats, we went and bought coffee and other hot drinks to tide the weary travellers through the night.

The next flight was a shorter one, but many of us did not realise. I slept for most of the flight and I even almost missed lunch. Thankfully Carl grabbed me a sandwich. We landed and felt ready to leave the airport... until Tinus forgot his wallet on the plane and had to go back for it. We then moved to customs where the lucky people who had EU passports got to go in the fast queue. The rest of us peasants had to wait in a longer line and then be asked questions about our trip before we were allowed in the country. After a quick bathroom trip, we were heading for the doors. We could smell the Swedish air... until we had to stop to buy bus passes and data cards. Carl bought milk for the meal that night. Due to problems with data cards, we left the airport 40 minutes later.

We caught the first bus to Marsta Station where we had to run to catch the next train. We had a 30 minute train ride to Stockholm City. At the Stockholm City Station, we had to climb a huge escalator and go up two more all while dodging people with our suitcases and stopping every two seconds to do a head count. Eventually we reached the correct platform where we took a train to Slussen. We then went to the bus stop for our new favourite bus, the 401. We took this bus to Hellasgarden where our long journey finally finished. Everybody then got their first look, for some people first in two years, at the clubhouse for OK Ravinen, the place we would call home.

The next few minutes was a bustle of people moving to get a place to put their bags and mattresses. Nick Barrable, our host, then came to the clubhouse. We then all had to get ready for the first training event in Sweden. We left our front door and ran around 150 meters where we reached the start. Nick ran with us as a group and explained some of his orienteering process for the first few controls after which we set of by ourselves. My run did not go very well. I started by heading to the wrong control and had to turn around. I then got confused and lost the way to the actual control. When I eventually found my first control I exited the wrong way and ended up missing two of the controls. I'm blaming it all on a lack of sleep!The rest of the course went relatively smoothly.

Once everyone was back, we discovered that Carl he had bought sour milk, so Sarah and I had to go with the Nick to the shop. After navigating automatic doors and the terror of almost having to do a self check out, we left with the milk and brought it back to the chefs. That night it was Dylan and Cameron to cook. After around 40 minutes of bickering we got the Tuna Mate we were promised... almost. Instead of Tuna Mate it looked more like soup with the occasional piece of tuna and pasta. The dinner continued with Cameron and Dylan arguing who did what, leaving the rest of us laughing.

The weary orienteers then got ready to go to sleep, some people for the first time in 2 days. We had arrived in Sweden!
Written by Heather Wimberley

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