By Sab Ekeh, who was in Bad Tatzmanndsdorf, Austria:
My journey to Avita Resort in Bad Tatzmanndsdorf, Austria began in Cologne, a city in Germany in sharp contrast to the wilderness of Avita. It was a journey of over 12 hours. Travelling is not always pretty, but the trip was made easy by the comfort of the speedy German ICE trains, with all imaginable comfort provided.
However, there were hitches like delays and missing the next train connection but the excitement was there, building up inside of me, the thought of discoverying a new place, meeting the new set of Super Eagles players, most of whom I had never met one on one.
It’s a new generation of young lads clocking up playing time for their beloved country. I have been to Austria a number of times but never to Avita Resort. I have also covered the Super Eagles in camp in the past but not this generation coached by Gernot Rohr.
My journey started at 7am from Germany and brought me to Vienna, the cosmopolitan city of Austria, about 5pm. Vienna was not the final destination of my trip but a stop before the journey to Avita, the unknown resort I had set out to visit.
From Germany, I had been given a print out of my trip to Tatzmannsdorf, a small village where the Avita Resort is located. From Vienna’s main train station to Tatzmannsdorf, it is over two hours by train and bus. I followed the train plan print out, got into the train, made two train changes and finally took the bus to the Avita Resort wilderness.
Now, wait for it, from this point inside the bus, the journey got very interesting. The bus driver was a young lady who told me that she is an immigrant from Hungary. The big luxury bus she drove came empty at Edlitz-Grimmenstein Bahnhof and three passengers plus me boarded. The other three were to disembark on the way, leaving just me and the driver.
The road is narrow and crooked, so narrow that only a clear eyed, focused driver can ply. Occasionally, it was as if we were driving into the centre of someone’s house only to see another narrow angle as the road. In a snake-like movement, the bus moved on.
Then we would drive into thick fog, making visibility difficult. I watched as the lady negotiated the different bends on the road. “Chai,” I said to myself, “thick fog in June, this must be a different world.” As we drove past the fog, I left my seat to sit closer to the lady driver. I asked her about the fog. She explained that it was because the place is on hills and mountains.
Ahaa. For someone who seeks solace away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the right place to do so is beyond the wilderness. No wonder the choice of Avita Resort as camp for the Super Eagles, it was far away from distraction. Here it is closer to nature and one can see far from different heights. Avita Resort, as we say in Nigeria, “I don waka come “.
* In the second part of this diary, you will read about my personal experience while visiting the Super Eagles camp, and interaction with the local people there.