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Fairmont hockey tour to Europe

The Fairmont hockey students were given the opportunity to go on a hockey tour to Europe.

This was a great experience for the Fairmont hockey students who were able to experience new cultures and see how hockey is played at a European level.

The group was certainly prepared for a jam packed tour visiting countries Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

The tour got off to a slow start after a delayed flight from Cape Town however, once the group landed in Europe, they hit the ground running.

Tour highlights

First up was The Hague, a coastal city and home to the International Criminal Court. The group settled into the Stayokay Den Haag hostel before transferring to hockey club Kieviten to play their first set of matches against the club.

Next up the Fairmont hockey group headed to Antwerp a major port city in Belgium and checked into Pulcinella youth hostel for two nights. The students had some free time to explore the city before playing their second round of matches against top Belgian club, Braxgata. The following day the group went on a guided walking tour of the beautiful city of Antwerp exploring all the historical sites.

It was then time to move on and transfer to the German city of Cologne. In Cologne the students went on another guided tour of the city before getting to experience watching a professional hockey match between Mariensburger SC and HC Blau Weib Klon at Mariensburger Sports Club. The group then ended the day arriving in Dusseldorf for a 2 nights stay.

The next morning was spent exploring the town of Dusseldorf before the group went on to play their third round of fixtures against Venlo HC.

The group then travelled to Utrecht, known as the religious centre of the Netherlands for a couple of days and checked into Stayokay Utrecht. In Utrecht the students were given an opportunity to treat themselves to waffles and coffee at Amary’s  and then given time off to shop in the picturesque old city before going on to play their next set of matches against hockey club Hilversum.

The following day the group arrived at HC Swaerweijde for a professional coaching session with top Dutch coach, Pim Wijzenbeek. This was a great experience to learn from such a knowledgeable and insightful coach.

After the pro coaching session, the group went exploring the city of Utrecht on bicycles, the traditional mode of transport in the Netherlands.

The group then went for an early dinner before returning to HC Schaerweijde to play their next set of matches.

Onto the final leg of the tour, the group headed to Amsterdam. On route to Amsterdam the group stopped at Snowworld, an indoor snow centre with a ski slope. At Snowworld the students had great fun learning to ski and snowboard. Once in Amsterdam they settled into Stayokay Oost hostel, the group then spent some time off exploring the city for the rest of the day.

The following day the group transferred to the Clara Maria Cheese and clog farm where the group was given a tour of the operations. Then it was time to play their final round of matches against hockey club Houten.

The following day was the last full day in Amsterdam, to finish off the tour the group was treated to a traditional Pannenkoeken Canal Cruise; on the cruise you are able to see multiple important sites of the city of Amsterdam whilst indulging yourself to as many pancakes as you like. After the cruise the rest of the day was spent exploring the city around Dam Square.

On the day of departure, the group went to the centre of town by tram for an opportunity to do some last minute shopping.

Classic food experiences

Traditional sweet food includes the Netherlands most famous pastry, a Dutch favourite Stroop wafels which originated from the city of Gouda. Stroop wafels is a wafer cookie made from 2 layers with caramel and is dipped in syrup.

Another favourite is Dutch Pannekoeken which is larger and thinner than your average pancake.

Transport

The tour group utilised a private coach throughout their tour from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany which was perfect for a jam packed travel schedule between the 3 countries.

In and around Amsterdam, the group took advantage of using the public transport tram service to reach different areas of the old city centre.

What an unforgettable experience the Fairmont staff and students were able to have while touring and experiencing cultural diversity in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. All the exploring, memories, great times and getting to experience top class hockey and coaching will hopefully be remembered for a many years to come.

We would like to thank the staff and the rest of the traveling group from Fairmont High School who all contributed to creating a fun and memorable trip and we at Team Sports Travel hope to travel with Fairmont Hockey again in the future.

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