The trip was all about soccer, but that didn't mean the touring Green White troup didn't also get to see some of the most magnificent sites in Europe.
It started our first night in Amsterdam. We were treated to a stroll through the downtown along the canals, and a traditional Dutch dinner in a four hundred year old restaurant. The boys were suffering through jet lag that night, and might not have appreciated the splendor all around them. A few even fell asleep during dinner.
While the boys were training at Ajax, the parents got to explore places like the Van Gogh Museum and the Heiniken Brewery. And after our second game in Holland, the entire team went on a boat cruise through the canals. One of the highlights of our time in Amsterdam was the celebration of Bridget Kaempfer's 50th birthday. There's a photo below of the parents who went out to celebrate while Coach Adam watched over the team.
The boys loved Holland, especially our excellent hotel. They got lots of bonding time playing FIFA in the hotel lobby, and eating at the incredible buffet they put out for us every morning and evening. They also learned that "watch out for the bikes" wasn't an idle warning. There are more bikes in Holland than anywhere else in the world, and they always have the right of way.
The trip shifted to Germany on the fifth day, and we settled into our hotel in Frankfurt. Once again everyone was treated to a cruise down the Main River, and a walking/sightseeing afternoon in the city. Another day, while the boys were training at Eintracht Frankfurt, a group of parents went to Ruedesheim and explored the wine country along the Rhein River.
But maybe our favorite day of sightseeing occured in the tiny town of Seligenstadt, just outside of Frankfurt. The town was nearly two thousand years old--there were still remnants of the old Roman fortress. We did a walking tour of this charming old town, before ending up in City Hall. There the Mayor officially welcomed the entire team to the city, and we gave him a Green White banner as a gesture of our appreciation.
After the mayor's speech, he gave every boy on the team a free pass to the town swimming pool, and the boys took advantage of the opportunity. After eight days in the unseasonably warm sun, the dip in the pool was just what the doctor ordered.
That was our last night in Europe as a group. Some came home after that, a few more extended their trip and explored other areas of Europe (Southern Germany, Spain, France, England), but all of us have one thing in common.
We will never, ever forget this once-in-a-lifetime experience.