Last December, I reached the end of a full cycle of major international handball competitions. My very first, now more than two and a half years ago, was the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary, where I was based in Györ, Debrecen then Budapest as journalist for the official website.
When I landed in Budapest, from where I would travel on to Györ by car, I had little idea of what to expect. And I have since learned that feeling does not go away no matter how many competitions I cover — while also learning I can always expect challenging, rewarding weeks that teach me so much I am a different person at the end. The other thing I found in Hungary, which has never disappointed me at any tournament, is that I will be surrounded by inspiring, smart, driven, fun people throughout all of it. Working in such an environment is a huge part of what makes those weeks from the first match to the trophy presentation so wonderful.
As it was December when the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 took place, Christmas markets lay in the centre of all three cities, making them even more appealing than they might be ordinarily. In general, Hungarian cities are beautiful, and the places I had not visited prior to this trip — Györ and Debrecen — did not disappoint. But this visit — my second of three so far to the capital — convinced me there is possibly no city that can compare with Budapest.
We had little time to explore in Budapest as we were only there for the final few days, but I did manage a scenic run one morning when I woke up before the sun, when I was able to run along the river up to the castle as the sunrise took place.
From the EHF EURO 2014, I went on to cover every IHF World Championship and senior EHF EURO since, though I stepped up to editor of the official website for EHF EURO at the last two events (Poland, January 2016; Sweden, December 2016) and hope to reprise that role in the future.