here & there (pt 2)

I’m just back from an ice hockey road trip. Birmingham and Sheffield, to see my son play there for Edinburgh University.

I took the easy way – flights to and from Birmingham and train between Birmingham and Sheffield. That might sound a bit flash, but my flight was only £72 return.

Great airport - BHX

Great airport – BHX

The team had a 7 hour minibus journey to Birmingham on the Saturday for the game at 22:45. After the game at Sheffield on Sunday night, they’d have set off back to Edinburgh about midnight. 6 hours, I reckon.

Worth the trip for them. An overwhelming win at Birmingham – 27-2. They would have been confident after the home game (a 14-0 win) but expecting a tougher test on Birmingham’s home ice.

Sunday’s game was a classic. 3-3 after 2 periods. Sheffield took a 5-3 lead with 10 minutes left. With 5 minutes to go, Edinburgh got a penalty shot and scored. Then they scored an equalizer 10 seconds later. A nailbiting last few minutes! They got the winner with 20 seconds remaining. The kind of game which neither team deserved to lose, but Sheffield can look for revenge when they travel to Edinburgh for the return.

great facility - Ice Sheffield

great facility – Ice Sheffield

Some surprises for me on my travels. My train ticket (not booked in advance) was £82 (return). It’s only 90 miles. Bizarre.

The beer was remarkably cheap – at least in the 2 ice rinks. £2.80 per pint. Chemical stuff, but still.

Sheffield restaurants don’t suit me. Sunday lunchtime I was ripped off in Brown’s. £10.50 for a microscopic Caesar salad. It would have been tiny as a side salad, but as a main course it was a bad joke. You’ve been warned…

better than the salad

better than the salad

Pizza Express for dinner, as my first choice place closed at 6pm. I don’t know any other restaurants which close at 6pm… The Pizza was tiny and £8.50. Quality was mediocre, and certainly not worth that much. I get a bigger one which is much better too at the “local” in Ingolstadt. €5.50. Please can someone explain the disparity…

I had dessert in Pizza Express too. I found a piece of cork in it. They were apologetic and I didn’t have to pay for dessert, but again you’ve been warned.

Both cities were more pleasant in the city centre than I expected – but I didn’t venture out into suburbs (apart from going to the two ice rinks).

Downtown Birmingham

Downtown Birmingham

I may end up back in Sheffield for the national tournament in April. Edinburgh made it to the semi-finals last year, but I couldn’t be there. Followed it on Twitter.

Downtown Sheffield

Downtown Sheffield

If I do go, I’ll bring sandwiches.

© iain taylor 2014

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