that one time i went to europe to play bikepolo (2015)

October 2015.

Earlier in the year I made it a mission to attend the European version of Ladies Army, H e l l ‘s B e l l e s,  and alas – the time had come!

I arrived to Dublin from Houston via Aerlingus, since it was significantly cheaper than arriving anywhere else in the EU. Two weeks earlier, I dusted off my profile and requested a host before I arrived. Luckily, a Brazilian student named Vivian, who was studying abroad in Dublin, replied back with positive news of a blow up mattress!

I got off the plane, reunited with my polo horse, and made my way to the bus stop. I met Vivian outside her dorm and she warned me that she had 6 other Brazilian room mates and to not be scared. They were all characters. Their wildly boisterous personalities made me feel like their long lost family member.

After sight-seeing Dublin for a couple of days, I got on a plane again, this time to Toulouse, France, where the all women’s tournament, Hell’s Belles, was going to be held. My host, Felix, was to host 10 players, so I made my way straight to his place as soon as I landed. It was pretty easy to get to his house, even with my elementary-ass French. I may have gotten off a stop early, as I had to carry my bag full of bike for like, 10 blocks. I was going to get so0 ripped this tournament. I could feel it in my back and gunz. I was SO STOKED to be in France to play frkn polo!

My bud Kayla was already at Felix’s polo hostel when I arrived. As soon as I got dibs on a mattress, we went foraging for food. We walked around for like 30 minutes, only to decide to walk back near the house, and get sammich supplies at a supermarket.

After annihilating some carbs, we built our bikes.

I got a flat, naturally.

So, we went in search for some beer, instead. As we roamed the neighborhood, we saw a carnival bumpin with loud noise, rides, and bright, neon lights. We chugged some beers and proceeded in to the fair..

We accidentally bought 10 rides of the same damn kiddie ride. Man, my French wasn’t as good I as I thought, I internally admit to myself.

We can’t get our money back, so we wander around the carnival, observing the locals of Toulouse. I’m glad Kayla is there.

After Hell’s Belles is over, I roadtrip with some bike polo players from the Geneva club. I manage to catch a glimpse of France terrain, as we head to Switzerland. We even stop at a beach, which was ‘très belle’. The gang was so rad, that I cannot even. Especially, Nathalie. I make her my best friend without asking her first.

Geneva is hands down one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Julien, a local bike polo player/carpool bud, served as the city representative. Lots of picturesque views were provided via his polo bike tour of the city. I curse Houston’s flat lands, as I huff and puff after him, but felt lucky to have a true local show me the secret spots of Geneva.

After a super quick visit in GVA, I fly to Bristol to visit Zsofia and reunite with Kayla. The couple of days there, we manage to walk through the whole city, and learn a lot via our guide/host, Zsofs. We even get to play polo with some local chaps 😀

London is next after B-town. Fuchsia, a cool gal we meet during Hell’s Belles, hosts me during my stay. Her hospitality and patience is unreal. I make her take me to Platform 9 & 3/4. A new level of life is unlocked.

My only souvenirs, like most trips, are the pictures.


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