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Game 53: Karlskirche, Karlsplatz, Vienna

Vienna is a city packed with majestic palaces and monuments that all look like giant beige , coffee and cream gateaux. The finest big cake for me is the Karlskirche (St. Charles Church) in Karlsplatz , a baroque church resplendent with a huge water filled oval in front of it.

It was already hot when I headed down there mid-morning . There were queues at the water fountains and kids were dancing in and out the sprinklers.

I put my jumpers down in the paved area between the church and the water, then called to folk sitting in the shade on the church steps to play.

I was soon joined by Can, a cool curly haired chap and statistician from Turkey and Fenerbace fan and Kris, a highly wired economist from Poland and a Salzburg fan. I managed to cajole the reluctant Carsten from Germany to play and we had a 2-2 in front of the church .

By eckers it was hot ! Carsten was on my side and was struggling in the heat, especially after his quick spurt to try and stop the ball going in the water. He kept shaking his head at me and saying “Why?”

Can could play a bit and Kris was running around like a clockwork meerkat, like someone had would him up at the back and let him go. Can scored the opener as my partner in crime Carsten struggled to get back, then his miserable day was complete when he scored an own goal. 2-0 it finished. It really was too hot to continue. Carsten had melted into a puddle by now.

As the game came to end, Young Juan came to join me and we had a game of keepy-ups. Juan was from Bilbao and fiercely proud of being from the Basque region. In the 10 minutes we played , he gave me an articulate and intelligent potted history of his beloved Athletic Bilbao, why Basques don’t see themselves as Spanish and why he hated Real Madrid so much.

Great to connect with these chaps today in such a stunning setting.

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