Pompey defender lives a dream during summer break during summer break

Oli Hawkins opted for Miami for his summer holiday during the off-season.  Â

Wednesday, 1st August 2018, 4:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st August 2018, 5:03 pm

Nathan Thompson's choice of destinations were Mykonos and Crete.

Jamal Lowe went to Dubai, while Matt Clarke, Ben Close, Brandon Haunstrup and Alex Bass hit the golf courses in the Algarve.

However, Christian Burgess chose to fulfil a lifelong dream.

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Instead of plumping for a fortnight at a holiday resort like most, he instead jetted off to South America.

The centre-back headed to Brazil, Mexico and Peru '“centring his break around hiking Machu Picchu, the 15th century Incan citadel in the Andes mountains.

It's been an ambition of Burgess' for years and he was delighted to have finally been able to experience it.

The centre-back said: '˜It was nice to try to make the most of the time I had off and get away from everything.

'˜I managed to see a few nice places and do some things I've wanted to do for a while.

'˜I went to Brazil and Peru and did a couple of things I've wanted to do '“ Machu Picchu for instance '“ and then worked it around that and loved it.

'˜In Brazil, I went to Rio de Janeiro and an island called Fernando de Noronha.

'˜That's just off the north-east coast and it was to do some diving.

'˜Then I went south to Foz do Iguaçu to see the waterfalls there with some friends.

'˜I just meet people when I'm over there.

'˜Four years ago when I was at Middlesbrough I went to south-east Asia.

'˜It's something I've wanted to do and finally had a bit of time on my own to do it.

'˜I did Machu Picchu on a five-day hike.

'˜You can technically get a train or a bus there and don't have to hike it.

'˜But it was a good experience and you see a few other peaks on the way.

'˜I like to mix it up. Rio had some lovely beaches and I enjoyed that side of things but I do like to keep active.'

However, Burgess ensured he still got his football fix when he was out in Brazil.

The former Peterborough ace attended Flamengo's clash against Emelec in the Copa Libertadores '“ South America's version of the Champions League.

Having been in the crowd for West Ham's clash against Manchester United before going away, Burgess revealed the contrast with his experience in the Maracanã.

He saluted the '˜mad' Brazilian fans who attended the game and it's something he'll never forget.

Burgess added: '˜Flamengo were playing Emelec, from Ecuador, in the South American version of the Champions League.

'˜It was amazing. I saw it in the Maracana which was amazing because it's obviously a massive stadium.

'˜The atmosphere was crazy '“ the Brazilians are mad! 

'˜I went to West Ham against Manchester United just before I went away.

'˜Everyone was outside having a drink. The London Stadium was quite empty before kick-off and then fills up five minutes before the start of the game. 

'˜Out in Brazil, the Maracana was full an hour before kick-off and the fans were just jumping off their seats and singing.

'˜I couldn't believe it, it was mad!

'˜I think Flamengo is the working-class team in Rio.

'˜There are a few teams and that's meant to be the working-class team, so it's a popular club.

'˜You can have a drink in the stand as well. It's a bit like baseball in America.

'˜They have people going up and down the stairs selling beers and you can can call them over.'

Although Burgess enjoyed some well-deserved downtime over the summer, he made sure his fitness levels did not drop. 

The hot climate and the hilly terrain in Brazil made it easy for the popular centre-back to get himself ready for the upcoming campaign.

'˜I obviously stayed active and it was easy to stay fit in Brazil,' said Burgess.

'˜All of the gyms use day passes so I just went and used them.

'˜Towards the end, I started to do more cardio work '“ running on the beach and on a football pitch I found to do the workouts the club had given us. 

'˜It was pretty easy and I went to places that were quite hilly, so I could do quite a lot of hill runs.

'˜As long as you're working hard then you're fine.'