Travel · Travel Diaries: Work Edition

Tournament travel: Croatia 2018

In January, I travelled to Croatia as editor for the official Men’s EHF EURO 2018 website, working with an amazing, fun team that made this tournament a very special one. First, we were in Split for a little less than a week, before spending almost two in Zagreb. It was my third visit to Croatia, and once again I found myself dreaming of what it would be like to live there — I even began to look at visa options, so the seed is well and truly planted for this to be my possible future home. Let’s see.

In Split, with my post-Australia jetlag waking me up before daylight, I was often making my way along the coast for my morning run just as the sun rose, when the city was coming to life. In Zagreb, the buildings and parks never fail to impress me. I love the cafe culture in Croatia, and ducking out for a quick coffee to escape what we were being served in the press centre was a small but very important pleasure during the long tournament.

Photo Galleries · Travel

Postcards from Australia: Home for Christmas

Last year, when mum asked me if there was any chance I would be home for Christmas, I realised I hadn’t celebrated the holidays in Australia for five years. So, I made the long trek home for my first summer at home since 2012, and it was glorious. I went to the beach almost every day, got a healthy dose of sea salt and sunshine, won a game or two of Finska, caught up with family and friends, held new babies, and somehow managed to board the plane back to wintry Europe without an excessively teary airport goodbye.

20171221_11185620171227_184447_optimized20171229_11434420171230_15124920180101_19164620180101_19145420171231_162602_optimized20171231_15473520171231_13525920180101_20021920180102_21204720171231_110600IMG_20180104_063705_166IMG_20180106_153449_67820180105_131900

Photo Galleries · Random

Life in Amsterdam: fresh tulips every weekend

Living in Amsterdam, one of life’s little pleasures is a weekly trip to the markets for fresh flowers. After discovering how much they brighten my apartment, buying flowers has become a regular part of my Saturday routine. I usually opt for tulips, which come in more colours than you can imagine, but am sometimes swayed to something different.

28081186_653994364958_1656859173_o20170326_163620IMG_20180204_133857_61028169913_653994340008_824473409_o20170618_12085920170324_160230IMG_20170209_143634_90120171028_172108IMG_20170430_015257_42320170429_15314820170506_094529

I usually buy my tulips from one particular market stall, where they have them year-round, though tulip season itself is very short — but coming soon! When the tulips start to bloom at the end of March, they bring a promise of the warmer weather ahead and hint that spring is really in the air. By the time the season ends in May, summer is in full swing.

20170408_15185320170411_190906.jpgIMG_20170605_233640_372

Travel · Travel Diaries: Work Edition

Tournament travel: Germany 2017

On January 29, I returned to Amsterdam as the busy winter tournament period came to an end. Beginning at the end of November last year, I had been on the road for two months solid, first with the Women’s Handball World Championship, then a visit to Australia for Christmas, and finally, the Men’s EHF EURO 2018.

The Women’s World Championship took place in Germany, where I was based in Leipzig, then Hamburg for the final weekend. As it was December, Leipzig’s Christmas Markets were in full swing, and they added a lot to the cosy atmosphere in the city centre where we stayed.

 

Random

Visa extended! The Amsterdam adventure continues

Last Friday, after months of waiting to do so, I collected my residence permit from the Dutch immigration office in Amsterdam. My first permit to work in the Netherlands as a freelancer expires today, and the new one, with five years’ validity, begins. I have no plan as to whether I will stay for the full five years or not, but the feeling of freedom that comes with an expiry date that feels so far away is amazing.

The process to apply is a long and sometimes complicated one. Just as I did when I first applied in 2015, I encountered some unexpected obstacles this time around. But navigating successfully through it is part of what makes living abroad so great — knowing you had to put in significant effort just to be able to do it.

Here’s to another amazing five years!

IMG_20180209_161322_565 (2)

 

Portfolio

2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship, Algeria

A collection of all the articles written by me during the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U20) World Championship in Algiers, Algeria. From July 18 to 30 I was based in Algiers, Algeria covering Groups A and B, and the finals.

Features:
“We can be a very dangerous predator”
Slovenia goalkeeper Urh Kastelic has played a key part in their 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship campaign and ranks first in his position at Algeria 2017. At 21, the keeper already has an impressive collection of medals, including gold at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) and 2014 Youth Olympic Games, silver at the 2015 IHF Men’s Youth World Championship, and bronze with the senior Slovenia side at the 25th IHF Men’s World Championship in France this January.

Developing through valuable international experience
ihf.info spoke with coach Erik Wudtke following their victory against the Faroe Islands – which was secured only in the final 10 minutes after a close fight – about their campaign so far, the challenges of developing Junior age category teams, and the upcoming clash with Norway.

Richardson: “All the teams are very strong”
ihf.info spoke with centre back Melvyn Richardson following the win against Asian champions Qatar. Richardson was named both the Most Valuable Player and as part of the All-star team at Russia 2015, and is a key part of France’s campaign in Algeria 2017.

One game at a time on historic debut
Faroe Islands entered the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship as debutants at a major international tournament, and had a dream start when they recorded two victories to open their campaign.

“Maybe after 60 years I’ll still be learning”
Egypt coach Wael Aly was at the helm of the Junior national team when they claimed the African nation’s first ever IHF World Championship title in 1993. He was also the man in charge when Egypt finished fourth at the 2015 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship in Brazil, and now leads the team at Algeria 2017 – where the African side are in a position they never have been before, and will miss out on the top 16.

Match previews/reviews:
Spain win maiden Junior world title
Spain claimed their first ever IHF Junior World Championship title after an incredible 70-minute battle, which ended with goalkeeper Xoan Ledo saving every shot in the last three minutes of extra time and Daniel Dujshebaev scoring the game-winning goal.

France claim bronze in final seconds
The 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship bronze medal was decided in a thrilling game, with France claiming the place on the podium thanks to a one-goal win secured with a save from Julien Meyer in the dying seconds.

Spain aim for first ever Junior title
The 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship final sees three-time champions Denmark taking on Spain in the battle for the title, with Spain hoping to continue their exceptional undefeated run through the tournament all the way to the podium.

Denmark eliminate defending champions France
Denmark claimed the first ticket to the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship final after a tough 60 minutes against France, thanks to the use of a tactical seven-on-six attacking game and a strong performance from goalkeeper Simon Gade.

Spain repeat EHF EURO victory
The second 2017 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship semi-final ended with a clear win for Spain, who beat their Men’s 20 EHF EURO 2016 final opponents by five goals to claim a place in the trophy match.

European championship finalists contest penultimate match
Two years ago, it was France and Denmark that contested the IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship title in Brazil – and now those same nations meet in the penultimate match at Algeria 2017 to decide one ticket to the final. After France and Denmark play their Algeria 2017 Group B rematch, Men’s 20 EHF EURO 2016 finalists Germany and Spain take the court for the second.

Unstoppable Germany and Spain book semi-final spots
Germany played a perfect quarter-final match against Tunisia to claim a place in the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship semi-final. The Men’s 20 EHF EURO 2016 silver medallists beat the African team by a six-goal margin, before their semi-final opponent was decided in a match that went into extra time.

EHF EURO 2016 finalists ready for quarter-finals
The gold and silver medallists at the last European championship for the 1996-born generation take the court for the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship quarter-finals in La Coupole D’Alger Arena, with Germany meeting African champions Tunisia and Spain taking on Hungary.

France, Germany, Hungary and Denmark book quarter-final spots
France beat debutants Faroe Islands in the first eighth-final in La Coupole, before Germany and Hungary record wins in extra time, and Denmark beat Norway.

Defending champions open eighth-finals in La Coupole
The 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship eighth-finals in La Coupole D’Alger Arena feature the 2015 Junior and Youth World Championship finalists, the Men’s 20 EHF EURO 2016 silver medallists and debutants Faroe Islands.

20 EHF EURO 2016 runners-up win Group A
Round 5 for 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship saw wins for Germany, Hungary and Republic of Korea.

Slovenia and France unbeaten through group phase
Slovenia opened the final day of 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship group phase matches at La Coupole D’Alger Arena with a three-goal win against Sweden, which moved them up to nine points on the table after an undefeated preliminary round. France joined Slovenia on nine points after their victory against Denmark, and secured first place in the group based on goal difference.

Top-of-the-table clashes headline Round 5
Round 4 for Groups A and B at the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship is all about placement on the preliminary round tables. 2015 Youth World Championship finalists France and Slovenia race to top Group B, while Germany and Norway meet for a head-to-head clash to determine first place in Group A.

Faroe Islands and Hungary claim eighth-final spots
Norway opened Group A at the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship with a decisive win against Chile, before Germany defeated Faroe Islands after a tough 60 minutes.

France and Slovenia play thrilling draw
2015 Youth World Championship finalist squads France and Slovenia opened Round 3 for Group B at the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship with a thrilling draw after Slovenia equalised in the last three minutes. The teams also drew when they met in the group stage at Russia 2015, with a final score of 32:32 in that encounter before France won the trophy match.

Three in a row for Germany and Norway
Germany opened Round 3 for Group A at the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship with a clear win against Republic of Korea. The second match saw World Championship debutants Faroe Islands’ first defeat at the hands of Norway, who in turn recorded their third win from three matches and moved up to six points.

Denmark clinch eighth-final berth
Denmark secured their eighth-finals place as they opened Round 4 for Group B at the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship with a comfortable victory over Sweden, which brought their points tally to six on the Group B table. In the final game of the day, Slovenia faced a tough challenge against Egypt, but ultimately overcame the African team and joined France on seven points.

Qatar and Egypt under pressure
With two tickets to the eighth-finals still to be decided in Group B ahead of Round 4, day five at the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship sees some crucial encounters as Denmark meet Sweden, Qatar take on France and Slovenia play Egypt.

Crunch time in Group A
With Norway and Germany safely through to the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship eighth-finals, and Faroe Islands in a good position to make it to the knock-out stage on their debut at a major international tournament, Republic of Korea, Hungary and Chile enter Round 4 under pressure.

2015 Youth finalists open day four at La Coupole
Day four at the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship in La Coupole D’Alger Arena opens with a bang as 2015 Youth World Championship finalists France and Slovenia take the court for the first match. Following the meeting of these undefeated sides, Denmark look for their second victory against Qatar, before Sweden do the same versus Egypt in Group B.

Two from two for Norway, Germany and Faroe Islands
Norway opened Round 2 for Group A at the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship with a clear victory versus Hungary, before Germany followed suit with an even more significant win against Chile. Both teams thereby earned their second set of two points, and moved up to four points on the table.

Debutants Faroe Islands look for second victory
The 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship continues in La Coupole D’Alger Arena with Group A matches, where Hungary, Chile and Republic of Korea aim for their first victories against Norway, Germany and Faroe Islands respectively.

France and Slovenia unbeaten in Group B
Day two in competitive Group B at the 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship opened with a clear win for Denmark, who beat a motivated Egypt side by six to claim their first two points at Algeria 2017. The second match of the day saw a close contest between France and Sweden, with France recording their second victory at Algeria 2017.

Defending champions begin with victory
Defending champions France opened their 2017 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship campaign with a clear win over Egypt that put their first two points on the Group B table. Following the victory of France’s 1996-born squad, their 2015 Youth World Championship final opponents, Slovenia defeated Denmark after a close contest that ended with a three-goal margin.

Faroe Islands win debut World Championship match
The 2017 IHF Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship opened in La Coupole D’Alger Arena with a thrilling Group A clash between Germany and Hungary, which ended with a four-goal difference in favour of Germany. Norway followed Germany’s victory with a narrow win after a nail-biting 60 minutes versus Republic of Korea. Faroe Islands wrapped up Round One for Group A with a win against Chile, making their debut at a major international tournament all but perfect.

Photo Galleries · Travel

Postcards from autumnal Ljubljana

The flight into Ljubljana was perhaps one of the most picturesque approaches I have enjoyed in a plane. Autumn sunlight shone over the small city and the surrounding hills, mountains and plains, all of which were covered in well-watered greenery or bright orange and yellow leaves that showed it was early November. With those views, I was introduced to a beautiful city that did not disappoint once I was exploring it by foot. Though I would love to experience the city and Slovenia during summer, the timing of my visit on this occasion showed a stunning side to the city as it prepared for winter.

IMG_1389IMG_1431IMG_1443IMG_1452IMG_1461IMG_1466IMG_1469IMG_1474IMG_1476IMG_1478IMG_1518IMG_1533IMG_1535IMG_1547IMG_1552IMG_1569IMG_1584IMG_1592IMG_1597IMG_1605IMG_1611IMG_1625