Report by Hannah Beattie
3am on Saturday the 19th March saw a group of bleary-eyed hockey players and two brave coaches board a bus at Cranmore Park to travel Dublin Airport. This was the start of the VCB Senior Hockey tour to Amsterdam. Even at that early hour we faced a long wait to pass through the security checks and into the departure lounge for our 7am flight.
A pleasant but quiet flight (lack of sleep may have been an influence) followed and on arrival we boarded our bus to take us to the Schipol Hotel. The group’s mood was lifted by the sight of two well known fast food chains opposite the hotel, what athletes we are!
After check in we headed off to the centre of Amsterdam for lunch and on our way saw some ‘interesting sights’. The afternoon saw us mount up and head out on our hired cycles to face the Amsterdam traffic and the challenge of no brake handles and having to peddle backwards to stop the bike. We ended up at the lovely VondelPark and many pictures were taken. After returning the bikes and everyone safely in one piece we hit the shops for a few hours before dinner. Dinner was eagerly awaited and we ate as we cruised along the waters of Amsterdam. We all agreed this was an excellent way to end the day.
The most energetic of our party took to the pool and the saunas on our return to the hotel while others watch from poolside. The end of long day beckoned and we retired to our rooms once some of us had retrieved or replaced the room keys.
Sunday 20th saw a chilled start to the day with breakfast followed by some time before we travelled by coach to Hurley Hockey Club to have lunch and watch ladies and mens professional hockey teams play against Bloemendaal HC. This was great viewing to watch hockey at this level with international players on both sides. We returned to Amsterdam to have dinner before heading back to the hotel for more swimming and chilling.
Monday morning saw an early start, too early for a number of the party who struggled to hear the alarms!! Back on the bus for 9.15am we left for Hockeyvereniging HIC. This was a familiar location for Odilia as this had been her home club a few years ago. We had a morning and afternoon training session with local coaches. Six o’clock saw our two teams face the local opposition. Both local teams proved too strong for VCB but we enjoyed the experience none the less. Thanks to our hosts for their welcome and hospitality it was a great end to the trip.
The penultimate bus trip saw us back at Schipol Airport for a late flight back to Dublin. Thanks to the friendly bus driver who willingly turned up the music to allow a group sing-a-long. A quiet flight and an even quieter bus journey saw us back at school at 2am.
An action packed and eventful three days was over and school beckoned again. Many thanks to all the girls for taking part and making it a great tour. Special thanks to Mrs Loane and Paddy Grimes for all of their efforts in organising the trip and keeping everyone safe. We all had a fantastic trip. It was a great finale to our successful season with both teams making finals and acquiring our new school hockey kit.