I spy a basketball player
Thursday, 3 November 2022
How a chance meeting at a supermarket led to a great night out.
In September, I went to Prague with one of my best friends. It was my first time in the city (let alone the country of Czechia) and I was excited for a new European adventure.
After a pretty easy flight and a few stops on the metro, we sat at a café soaking up the last of the summer sunshine while we waited for our host to arrive to check us in to our apartment.
A fresh orange juice and a cappuccino later, she gave us the key to a wonderfully located place in the centre of Prague’s historic Old Town. It was cosy (smaller than expected – no wonder the price was so good) and complete with a little kitchenette, bathroom and living area.
Budget tip: Apartments are often cheaper than a hotel room, especially if you’re splitting the cost with friends or family. The added bonus of being able to cook for yourself and, in most cases, use a washing machine will save you time and money.
After dropping off our bags, our first port of call was the supermarket to stock up for the next few days. Milk… so simple, right? Wrong. We had three attempts over three days and bought three completely different things. Lesson learned - yoghurt does not taste good in tea.
But our time in the dairy aisle paid off. As we left, we literally bumped into some of the tallest men we’d ever seen. I’m talking over 6’5”, 6’6” and all in matching workout gear. A very British “sorry, sorry” and off we went.
I absolutely love watching live sport and so, that evening, I curled up in an armchair and searched the internet for something to see during our stay.
And I hit on Eurobasket, taking place in Prague’s very own O2 arena. Aha… very tall people in sports kit…
Over a sunset Aperol in the main square the next day, we spied a similarly tall man in a red and white Polska top.
We had to get tickets. And the very next day we were on our way to see Czechia vs Finland.
On the way to the arena, we bumped into crowds of Finland supporters in their blue and yellow jerseys, waving their national flag. No wonder they were excited. The venue was incredible and it nearly sold-out.
The match was on a knife-edge, each side taking the lead several times until the very last seconds when Finland took the cake.
The beauty of being a neutral supporter is that you never know in advance who you’re going to cheer for. We found ourselves sitting among the Czech supporters and so became honorary home fans - we shared their disappointment.
While we didn’t see our friends from the supermarket, we had an unforgettable experience – all sparked by a chance encounter buying groceries.