Aug. 28, 2006
Big game day today! Germany! Breakfast was at 9:00 again...then at 9:30 we had an optional tour of a palace that was about an hour away but still in St. Petersburg. Just on the outskirts. So of course I decided to go...might as well right, you only are in St. Petersburg once. Only about 8 girls went and then some staff. The bus ride wasn't too bad, I just wrote postcards and letters and read.
When we first pulled up there was just a tiny amusement park type thing...I was like `great I just wasted all this time from some weird dumpy palace'...little did I know. I looked out the other side of the bus and there it was.....a yellow and white palace that stretched for a quarter of a mile. So we go out walked past all the vendors with the same exact stuff. We bought our tickets and went in. Inside the gates that were dark green and gold was the huge main house and down a hill was three sets of stairs, but all you could really see was some little fountains and then lots of people on a dirt path. So Jordan and I decided to check it out. Walking down the main stair case to our right was a massive outdoor stage that had a checkerboard floor and gold statues everywhere! Literally I bet there were 30. Then a huge fountain, a spa house, then gardens everywhere. Then down a long walk about 1 mile was the sea. I think it was the Baltic Sea. But you could ride yachts there...there were painters all along the path, and my favorite part of the whole thing was these guys playing the xylophones (a band of three) they were amazing. But the property was probably 10 miles length wise and 5 miles from front to back....with all kinds of amazing buildings everywhere. Of course all with gold roofs.
So Jordan and I walked to the main building and went inside to look around. Well little did we know that you had to buy another ticket to get inside the palace...what a rip off! So we just walked around outside. Behind the main house was more and more gardens and fountains lined with trees all in perfect rows...everything was so perfectly maintained. We thought it would be nice to get a picture of us two in front of the main house...so I tried asking some Chinese man...he shook his finger at me and said no really meanly, two Russians were nice enough to take the picture, but just of us, not with the building and then finally some American got the picture we wanted! Goes to show you...America rules!
The bus ride back I slept.
We had lunch and then snack after that right before the game.
Right from the time we got there I knew we were going to win....but I always think that. This time I knew we weren't going to lose. Warm up was good, I did some passing, crossing, shooting and juggling...then the kick off. North Korea played before us and won, we watched a little of that game and it was so strange they had a large cheering section, all dressed in all red, and all had little clappers and flags. There was one leader lady who kept chanting the weirdest things...the flags were swinging perfectly synchronized and the claps and chants too...it was like the epitome of communism at work.
So during our national anthem most of the people in the stadium stood up-we actually had our own little American cheering section with all the parents in their daughter's shirts with a big USA sign! It was awesome! So anyways most people stood, but the North Koreans who stayed all turned and stayed sitting. Yeah big mistake!
Then during the German national anthem, they all stood and clapped. They are just asking for it. But the way the Koreans played soccer was so rigid, so mapped out, no fun. So back to our game. It was such and exciting game. It never really settled down. Val had some unbelievable saves....some awesome chances to score. Finally when we scored I was like `let the flood gates open'. Slowly they did, but when they scored it was scary because they got some serious momentum. Thankfully we held strong and put them away!!! SO much fun!!! The pictures on ussoccer.com and fifa.com are cool.
After that we came back to the hotel and packed up...I got to talk to my mom and dad which was AWESOME! We were leaving on a train (eeek again) for Moscow at 5am.
I made it...the train ride was awesome. We were on a bullet train so it only took four hours. But it was mega annoying-every train station there was a loud beep/hum to let the people know they were going through the station. But I fell asleep right away. The bathrooms on trains-not good...but the seats reclined a lot, were big and had tons of leg room, not like that really matters for me...but still. We all felt like we were going home after a mini vacation when we got back to our hotel in Moscow. We are on the same floor again! Oh and I traded with France, I got some shorts. I gave up my blue zip up hoodie that I didn't really like to begin with. So I made out well on the deal. But I will email with the rest of today.
FSU RULES!!! Pilots....boo!!!