Field Hockey Documents European Trip
The Fairfield field hockey team travels around Europe to tour and experience European hockey. Players and coaches on the squad will give us an in-depth look at their experience right here on FairfieldStags.com.
FRANKFURT - Although today was rainy, we made the best of it. Ari took us on a tour through the beautiful city of Frankfurt. In fact, we climbed 312 stairs to see the best view of the city. Even though the trek was challenging, it was well worth the effort. After that we had our leisure time to explore the city and dry off a bit.
Before the game we went to Ari's humble abode. Her mother and siblings prepared an amazing pregame meal consisting of salad, pasta and salami salad, chicken, cheese, bread, and gratin. And of course we can't forget the apple cake and rhubarb pie! It was so special to be able to see the atmosphere that Ari grew up in and to be able to meet her family.
After a good meal, we made our way back to the hotel and then off to the game. The club that we played was Ari's old club team. Their field and the club was beautiful! This game was by far our best one of the whole trip and definitely the most emotional. After a long fought battle we ended up with a draw, with the score being 1-1. Ruth had the one goal, which couldn't have been more perfect considering it was her last game as a Stag. Immediately after the game it was nothing but smiles, tears and hugs. We are all so thankful to have had the opportunity to play with Ruth and are going to miss her more than she ever knows!
After an emotional game, we went into the club and ate our final dinner together. It was delicious! We had bolognese, a chicken pasta dish, and salad. We still can't believe how quickly this trip came and went. It was all we wanted and more! Filled with tears, love, laughter, good food and great people our adventure was definitely one to remember. Everyone has grown to be so close and we can't wait to all be together again in the fall. We want to thank everyone that made this trip possible and all of our teammates and coaches for giving us this opportunity of a lifetime. Prost!
FRANKFURT - Today was our first day in Germany! We arrived in Frankfurt by the night train at about 5:30am and took a bus to the hotel. After a few hours of showering, eating breakfast, and catching up on sleep, we headed out to the TK store in Mannheim. We took about an hour and a half drive to the store, where everyone slept... again. The store had a lot of sticks, grips, and apparel that we were entertained by for a while. Some people played games of field hockey on a small turf field in the center of the store while others tried on clothes or picked out new colorful grips. One of the store managers gave us a tour of the warehouse and the offices. We saw signed uniforms of players hung from the ceiling which was cool. We all made our discounted purchases and as we left, the manager gave us a small gift. We got back on the bus and travelled to Heidelberg to see the Heidelberg castle. As it poured, we walked through the ruins of the castle and saw how amazing it once was through the original parts of it. We learned that the whole castle no longer stands because it was destroyed three times- twice by war and once by lightening. We got to walk around inside and see the old elegant rooms. After the castle tour, we took a trolley car down the mountain into the town of Heidelberg. The town had a market, shops, restaurants, and great views of the surrounding area. A few of us went to a German restaurant and we all ate the traditional foods of schnitzel and homemade potato salad. We followed this meal up with some delicious crepes from the crepe stand and souvenir shopping.
We left for Frankfurt from Heidelberg, where Ari took us to a restaurant of her choice for dinner after a few hours of relaxing. It was great German food. We ate traditional Frankfurt schnitzel and drank Frankfurt cider, which had an interesting taste. After enjoying our meals and each others company, the team went to a nearby restaurant to watch the Frankfurt vs. Nuremberg soccer game. We were with many other fans and it was a cool experience, especially since they won. They secured their spot in the first division, and if Nuremberg had won they would have taken this spot and bumped Frankfurt out. We chanted for hours and pretended that we knew all of the German chants that the locals were yelling. I think people were pretty amused by our attempt to sound out their words. We danced and bonded together during these few hours in our teammate Ari's hometown. She was definitely excited that we were there to see her soccer team win and we were happy to be there. After the game, we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the long day to come.
VIENNA - On our seventh day in Europe ( 3rd day in Austria), we woke up early to take the public bus to Schonbrunn Palace. The palace was massive and bright yellow with acres and acres of gardens and beautiful walkways. We took a tour of the first floor, and learned about its most famous occupants, the last Austrian emperor, Franz Joseph and his wife. After he tour, we had free time to explore the enormous palace grounds, which are so big we couldn't t even see all of them in the time we had ( and we couldn't resist just getting some ice cream and lounging in the grass). After eating some delicious chocolate chip magnum, we headed back to the hotel to grab our field hockey gear.
Despite the heat, we were all very excited to play the Austrian national team. What an honor for us to play against the eleven best players in Austria! Flo warned us that it was going to be a challenging game but even though we lost 2-0, we played well. Structured and strong on the ball, we didn't look ridiculous in front of the national team.
After the game we headed over to the train station. While waiting on the platform for the train, that was to be our hotel for the night, none of us knew what to expect or what was awaiting us. It pulled into the station, looking like a normal train. Still we were oblivious to what our night ahead was going to be. We dragged our bags down a narrow hallway, that barley fit the goalie bags we have been traipsing around with. Traffic was building in hallway as we were trying to stuff our bags in our rooms. To keep everyone moving through the hall we stuffed all our bags on the beds and climbed on top because there was no room to stand and nowhere else for us to go. The coaches and parents were our saviors and managed to fit more of our bags into their rooms so we were able to clear our beds of people and suitcases. We also discovered a small storage area at the top of the ceiling, and decided it was best to assemble an assembly line passing suitcases (weighing way more than the 50 pounds) up past the triple bunks and on into the small storage space. We looked around and suddenly we had uncovered our beds so that they could actually be used for their function.
My (Cassie) room decided to set up our beds straight away for sleeping, whereas other rooms chose the more social route to keep chatting and therefore didn't put all the beds up right away. Setting up the sheets on the beds was also a challenge due to the lack of headroom that was available for each person, but we persevered none the less. Most of us managed to sleep fairly well, and apart from the occasional sharp turn of the train didn't get woken up much. Our stop came around 5:30 so we were all up at 5, reversing the process we had done seveb hours earlier. The night train was definitely an experience I can now cross off my list.
VIENNA - It was really great for me to show my team where I grew up, where I played, and where I studied and took my exams. The game against my old club team was very personal and I am glad that we got our first win in Europe on my home field against players that I coached a few years back.
I was able to take the whole team on a private tour through the main buildings on the Ringstreet in Vienna. We went into the main university building where we looked at the libary. Next stop was city hall, the theater, and the parlament. Then we turned into heroes palace where the empire's palace is and into the inner city of Vienna. St. Stephan's was the last stop of this tour and we let them explore this part of the Austrian capital. This day was awesome!
Today started off with a tour of Flo's hometown of Vienna. We started off with a tour of the University of Vienna. Flo was very excited to show us where he grew up and went to school. We visited city hall and St. Stephan's cathedral. After the tour of the city we were allowed to spend a little free time touring the city shopping and grabbing lunch. Afterwards we headed back towards the hotel to get ready for our game against Flo's old club team. The game went well and we came out with a win. We then enjoyed an Austrian barbecue at the club while watching the Austrian U18 team. After the game we wrapped up the day and walked back to the hotel.
VIENNA - Day 2 in Vienna began early, eight o’clock in the morning to be exact. We got on the bus and began the two-hour long journey to the Mauthausen memorial and concentration camp. After we arrived, we were given tape players to listen to a guide and were free to walk around and explore what used to be a concentration camp in the 1940’s. It was a very eye-opening experience, and definitely something our generation needs to see and learn about. It was an extremely different perspective to be able to visit Mauthausen rather than hearing about it in a classroom as we have all of our lives. It was also intense and sad seeing the exact rooms and places so many innocent people lost their lives. While at the memorial, we also watched a very informative movie of exactly what happened at the camp and throughout Europe at the time. We were able to absorb the personal experiences of these victims as all of their names were listed before entering the gas chambers. Being in a space where so many lost their lives was chilling.
After this visit, we got back on the bus and headed towards Linz, Austria, where we were to attend a waltz lesson. When we arrived we immediately noticed the ratio of boys to girls was off, so some of us had to take one for the team and be a boy for the day. It was a very fun and interesting experience and definitely provided our cardio for the day. It was a great way to experience the Austrian culture, where many people such as our partners have danced for years. After our lessons we returned to the hotel to get ready for dinner at Flo's club team’s restaurant. For dinner, a lot of girls adapted to the culture and ordered schnitzel. Good food to finish a good day.
VIENNA - We said goodbye to Holland today after three full days, concluding our stay with a few brief expeditions. After we checked out of our hotel, our first visit was to the Kröller Müller Museum, a place situated about an hour from Amsterdam in the middle of a large park. The ride was particularly interesting today, because our driver for some reason found much amusement out of making odd sounds over the loud speaker, specifically beeping noises and snoring, to make fun of the people napping. Despite his odd sense of humor, he got us to the museum at a decent time. Along with the larger art pieces outside in the garden, the museum boasts the second largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh pieces in the world at 91 total. After finishing the exhibit, much of the team opted to bike around the park on some of the many communal bikes found just outside.
About two hours later, we were on the road again, this time into Amsterdam for the Heineken Experience. The bus arrived to Amsterdam early, which allowed us just enough time for lunch and a quick stop to see the I Amsterdam letters. Because of a strike planned for 7 at the airport, we only had an hour to complete the Heineken Experience, which turned out to be just enough time to wander through the exhibit and still shop around at the end. As per usual for us, we left Amsterdam later than planned, however the traffic on the way to the airport was forgiving, and we were still on time for our flight, making it through security before the strike started.
We landed in Vienna around 10:30, right on time. Flo excitedly showed us his home town on the drive to the hotel, including where he learned how to waltz. Once we got back the hotel everyone was eager to walk around Vienna and explore the city. We even got to meet Ari's brother who goes to school here.
AMERSFOORT - Some team members took advantage of the scheduled 'leisure time' this morning, sleeping in, while others journeyed into Amersfoort. It was a rather nice morning as the sun was shining and no signs of rain. A rarity for Fairfield field hockey, we were ready and rarin' to go at noon to head to the city of Utrecht and begin our bike tour. However, roles were reversed today. The bus was late due to technical difficulties. Only thirty seven minutes past scheduled time, Antez (our bus driver today) arrived. To put us behind a little more we had to take a detour because unexpected construction was going on. Shortly after we arrived in Utrecht where we met our tour guides Judy and Chris. 25 bikes were waiting for us. Before we took off we were taught how to use the locks on our bike which caused some difficulty. These bike do not have the bike locks us Americans are used too. Since we are such a large group we split into two. Judy took the more ambitious people who wanted to go on the long route while the other group went on a shorter route to the city. We all joked around before getting to the bike shop that we were interested to see how this all was going to play out in terms of who could ride a bike, who would fall/crash and so on. Before even leaving the bike shop we had two men down!!
I (Maddi) decided to go on the bike journey with Judy. We had a rather large group but after sometime we got adjusted to the hustle and bustle of the biking in this city. Judy really emphasized that we would need to be in a single file line and aware of our surroundings. She was not kidding. The speed and look of mission on the fellow biker’s faces were intense and intimidating. Judy took us through the countryside to an authentic Dutch pancake house which she happened to work at for several years. The scenic route we were taken on was breathtaking. Meadows of green grass and white brick houses were present on either sides of the bike path. When we arrived at the pancake house we were all extremely parched. Judy directed us to the back of the restaurant situated right on the bank of the river. We all gathered around a long table and ordered a drink. To our surprise the waiter also brought out authentic candies. They were a big hit. Although the candies were yummy they did not satisfy our hunger but Judy told us instead of getting pancakes here we were going to bike about twenty minutes to the city center. We went through neighborhoods and a university college. Although it was a Tuesday there were so many people out on the road biking around. Instead of parking garages in the cities the Dutch have biking garages, exactly the same premise of our parking garages only with bikes. We found empty spots in the garage and filed our bikes in. From there Judy explained we had an hour and a half to get lunch, walk around and shop in the city. Unlike Amsterdam, this city was a lot smaller and less touristy. Cobblestone streets, cafes and adorable boutiques filled the tiny streets. I've noticed time has gone by so quickly as I'm having such a great time exploring and taking in the new scenery of each place we visit.
I (Ann) went on Chris's bike tour. We had a very small group so it was easier to navigate. We had to say in a single line for the most part. The hardest part was definitely when the traffic light turned red and we had to stop suddenly and the group got separated for a little. We biked around the town and into the city where we stopped at the Cathedral, which was beautiful. We had about two hours to walk around and get food. After exploring the city, we went back on the bikes and stopped at the largest hockey club in Holland. We walked around for a little and watched the young kids play. We got back on the bikes and met up with the other group.
It was time to get on the bus for an hour ride to the next hockey club. It was a fun filled few hours in the city of Utrecht. Obviously biking is a huge part of the Dutch culture so experiencing biking around their town was essential. The skies looked dark but the rain luckily held out to start.
It's never a dull moment with this field hockey team. Traveling to Almere field hockey club took a little longer than expected. We hit traffic then turned down a road which we shouldn't have. The bus did not fit down the little neighborhood road. We made a scene in the neighborhood. Children were peering through their curtain windows seeing what this big tourist bus was doing outside. Our game was to begin at seven o'clock except we arrived at the club with approximately ten minutes to get changed and warmed up. We've had experience, we were efficient and began the game only eighteen minutes late.
The game was very competitive but we were able to come together to play some good hockey despite the down pouring rain. We lost 3-1, but it was fun to get more experience against different European teams. After the game, we had a nice dinner then watched the men's Almere team play an exciting game.
Tonight's our last night in Holland. We're all looking forward to hitting the hay. Another day in the book.
AMSTERDAM - Today we began our day by making the hour long journey from Amserfoort to Amsterdam. Upon our arrival in Amsterdam, our first stop was the Anne Frank house. Despite almost getting hit by multiple bikes, cars and other humans, we arrived unscathed and on time. The Anne Frank house was an unbelievable experience that left my teammates and I nearly speechless. To see, firsthand, the living conditions the Frank family endured was extremely powerful.
On a lighter note, we then went on another canal cruise throughout the city of Amsterdam. To say the canals were picturesque was an understatement. After the tour, we were given about three hours to roam the city freely. Many girls stopped for lunch, visited the "IAMsterdam" letters, and shopped. After the free time, we gathered back on the bus and headed to Soest, where Ruth is from.
Seeing a Dutch family home, especially our own teammates, was really cool. We ate delicious bitterballen, pasta and salad. We then left Ruth's house and drove to her old club where we played against the Amserfoort club team. The opposing team’s quick pace and structured system was difficult to adjust to after a long day of travel and touring but we held our own out there. After the match, we enjoyed a nice "post-game drink" with the European team and then drove back to the hotel, exhausted from a long day of hockey and touring.
It is amazing meeting up with old players. Emilie Hugenholtz played with the Stags in 2000. Now she is a working mom with another on the way living in Amersfoort of all places!
- Head Coach Jackie Kane
AMSTERDAM - On day one in Amsterdam, we arrived at 6:00 am. Everyone was exhausted from the jet lag but the excitement kept us going. After checking into the hotel we started off our trip with a training session with our European coaches!
Despite the language barrier we could feel the judgmental vibes coming off them. We knew that meant we needed to step up our game and it made us perform to the best of our ability despite our minimal hours of sleep. This session was especially different from the ones back at Fairfield. The pace, with and without ball, and the focus was on different aspects of our game.
Finally after our session, which consisted of typical weather ranging from clear skies to pouring rain, it was time to head back to the hotel and shower. In typical Fairfield field hockey style, we arrived fashionably late at our next adventure; a canal cruise through city of Amserfoort.
Truly the only word to describe the city after being on the cruise was quaint. The old churches, restaurants embedded right on the river’s edge and friendly residents of Amserfoort were revealed. We lucked out with glorious clear blue skies as the weather is not always promising. After this, it was us 18 girls' chance to explore a European city on our own.
Today is a holiday, Pentecost, so much of the stores were not open. Lucky for us, all the restaurants were. And I am ending this day sitting in the hotel dining room reminiscing on the day. There are now only three of us at the dining table as my other fellow freshmen, excluding Maddi and Ari, have rushed off to their rooms to get some shuteye to prepare for a full day of activity tomorrow. Meanwhile the three of us are taking in the beautiful Amersfoort atmosphere.
If it wasn't for Ari and Maddi’s creative and witty way of describing this day, my blog post would not be the way it is. So thank you, best teammates ever.
-Caitlin Gilligan ‘19
It was a great first day in Holland. So much thanks to everyone who supported our team to get us here. It was wonderful meeting new friends and seeing old ones. Shout out to'12 for seeing us in Amersfoort.
- Head Coach Jackie Kane