UCC Squash Go To Hamburg
“Tor Zur Welt”, is the nickname given to the city of Hamburg. It means “gateway to the world” and is aptly named as it is a largest port city and the second largest city in Germany.
UCC Squash Club arrive to this beautiful city on a cold Friday morning in Mid-January to play on a professional glass court situated near Hamburg Zoo, at a sports center called Sportwerk. During the weekend we experienced what its like to play on a pro court, competed in exhibition matches with the local squash team, train at the professional sports facility and watch a professional Bundesliga match.
Straight from the airport, we head to Sportwerk to begin our first day of squash. Always eager, we skip the hostel and go straight to play some squash. Sportwerk contains 15 squash courts, a bar/restaurant and a shop to purchase any squash gear you would need, for us it was heaven. On our first day there we played matches against ourselves, trained and took turns using the glass court. We had a delicious lunch at the restaurant in the complex that served all vegan food and in the late afternoon we got to play against some local squash players in friendly matches.
The coaching and facilities in Hamburg were top quality and it was on show with the high level of playing from the young local players. After about 8 hours of squash we got some dinner and found that a local ice hockey derby match was being played on the ice rink next door to Sportwerk, so we all went down and got to watch half of the ice hockey match before we retired to our hostel in the centre.
For day 2 we had another full day of squash on the cards, leaving the hostel at 10am and proceeding back to the Sportwerk complex. The difference with today was that there was a Bundesliga match being held on the glass court in the afternoon. So we had the morning to play on the main court and then we could use the other courts or sit and watch the professionals play. After a full day of squash on Friday it was nice to take it a bit easier and sit and watch how it is meant to be played. We experienced some amazing squash between Hamburg and Bremen with former world number 9, Laurens Jan Anjema and current world number 36, Lucas Serme participating for Hamburg in a 4-0 victory for the home team.
On Saturday evening we finally got to experience some of what Hamburg had to offer with regard to food and nightlife. Hamburg has a great nightlife and has something for everyone. The main area for clubbing and bars is an area called the Reeperbahn which is packed with people on a Saturday night.
Our Sunday morning and early afternoon was our time to go see the sights and Hamburg has a lot of interesting sights to see. We broke up into different groups and did our own thing, some went on the boat ferry tour along the waters and across to the island, others went to museums or just walked around the city taking in the architecture. Come 4pm it was time to go home and to make our way to the airport on the train, then from Dublin to Cork on the bus.
So much fun was had in Hamburg and in the Sportwerk Area, it is a great bonding exercise for any club to go away and experience new places playing the sport we all love. With the Intervarities coming up I think it was very beneficial to our club to have had such an experience as we did in Hamburg.