Experts' corner

Nico Alabas

EU to NA: Comparing Regionals

Nico compares his Denver regional experience to European Regionals

04/17/2019 by Nico Alabas

Nico Here

What’s up guys, I’m Nico and in this article, I will share my experiences on how European and North American Regionals differ from another. As some people might now, I recently went to the United States to play Pokémon. For the first time it wasn’t to play in the North American International Championships or the World Championships. Instead I finally chose to go to the US to participate in a regional Championship because we don’t have a lot of those over in Europe and Denver was also relatively cheap to get to. In the end it turned out to be a great experience both inside and outside of the tournament, but we’ll get to that later. I decided to split up this article into three parts, the travel, the experience outside of the tournament, and the tournament experience itself.

The Travel

As you might’ve already guessed, I probably had the longest flight to Denver (both distance and flight time wise), but I feel like I should still talk about my travel in a little bit more detail to fill you in on how I travelled from Germany to the US. Normally the travel itself isn’t as exhausting as the path that I took, so keep that in mind as some kind of disclaimer that not every flight to the US is horrible. Initially my flight would’ve just been a straight flight from Frankfurt Airport to Denver International Airport but due to some screw ups with my booking I ended up with no Denver flight the week before the tournament. Since I was still very interested and also excited on going, I kept looking for flights and ended up finding a flight from London Heathrow that was roughly the same price as my initial flight from Frankfurt. Luckily my home city (Cologne) is one of the cities that has an airport with very frequent Ryanair flights. For those who don’t know Ryanair, it’s a European airline that offers a lot of cheap flights to slightly suboptimal locations and basically none existent service, which is absolutely perfect if you just want to get somewhere cheap. After checking Ryanair flights from Cologne to London I found an 8€ flight to London Stansted, which meant that all I had to do now was finding a way to get from London Stansted to London Heathrow. Thankfully getting around in big cities, especially London, is super easy so I didn’t take me too long to figure out a combination of trains and subways to figure out how to get to my final destination in London. Unfortunately, my flight from London Heathrow to Denver was at 6am which in return meant that I would have to go to Stansted the day before, travel to Heathrow and wait there for 12h until my flight would leave. For some people that might’ve been a reason to cancel the travel and forget about Denver, but I figured I’d just hang around at the airport, watch some videos on Youtube and do a bit of university work. After doing way less university work than I had hoped for, I was finally able to board my flight to Denver (and get some sleep, after using the on-board entertainment to finally watch “into the Spider-Verse" and “Crimes of Grindelwald”). Once I arrived in Denver, I had to wait one more hour for a German friend of mine that also went to play in the Regional Championships (he was on the Frankfurt flight that I initially wanted to take) and we went to our hotel to finally get some rest. He decided to go to an ice hockey game and visit a friend that night which meant that I was on my own for the first night in Denver. I really tried to stay up until some of the Americans arrived, but eventually my body just couldn’t stay awake anymore and I feel asleep.

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