What. A. Day.
David Pasztor? trivago. That’s what the sign said, sans question mark, that the driver was holding. We’re in the big leagues now! A short ride in a blacked out Suburban later, and following a brief bit of confusion at the front desk of the hotel, I was in my room. Twelve hours, door-to-door, coast to coast. Not bad.
Met the rest of the group at midday, the eight winners of trivago’s “Getaway of Champions” sweepstakes. There was a father and son from Boston, a mother and son from England, a couple friends from Chicago, and a young couple from Germany. And yours truly, evidently selected as an “influencer”, which surely must’ve been a mistake.
Lunch was at the fancy JW Marriott, followed by some sort of “interview” with the organizers. We were all a bit concerned about having to be on camera, though as it turned out, it was all just an elaborate setup for a prank — and by none other than Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Presumably this will make it into trivago’s video diary series for this Chelsea Tour, so we’ll see how awkward it all turns out to be. I’m not sure I really realized it was a prank until it was all over, but it was certainly a fun time as my ear-to-ear smile might attest. (Do note that my actual shirt is on the armless mannequin.)
We were still buzzing from that experience as we pulled up to open training at Osceola Heritage Park, an open-air facility that was absolutely roasting in the Florida sunshine and humidity. But we found some shade and some refreshments, and then the players came out and we soon forgot about the heat. I’ve never stood in line for signatures in my life, but couldn’t pass up this opportunity — even though I now have no clue who most of these signatures are.
The rest of the night was ours to explore; I met up with my friends from the London in Blue Podcast somewhere downtown in this vast place they call Orlando. Always a good time.
Sunday’s program will include the game, and perhaps some other stops beforehand.