Our day started at about 7, with a shower and headed down to breakfast. People were still celebrating from the previous night. Breakfast was a self serve buffet breakfast, with cereal and toast and different types of sandwich fillings and juice on a tap. I had as much as I could because we knew that the more we had the better value for money it was. I probably had 4 or 5 bowls of cereal in the end.
We went back upstairs and packed up. Nana packed up her stuff as well. We put all of our washing into a bag to give to Nana because she was going to Andijk before us so she could do the washing before we get there. We had one last look at the canals before heading to the train station. We found out ticket information. Nana had a single trip to get her to Enkhuizen, and we had a two person day trip. We walked through to the locker and placed the big backpack in there because we didn't need any of it just yet. Nana took the little backpack with her and we walked up onto the platform where her train was
waiting. We waved goodbye and let her board.
Our train was not too far away either. It wasn't a super fast train and it didn't take the direct route to Rotterdam, but it was the cheapest. It wasn't as busy as we thought, because the Tour de France was going to attract half a million people, but it slowly filled up as we stopped at numerous stations on the way to Rotterdam. The train wasn't going too fast, but we did reach Rotterdam without any complications.
We left the train, and Dad tried to get information about the way home, with little success. So we walked throught a big shopping mall towards the route of the Tour. Everyone was walking in the same direction, so we followed them. A number of people were wearing white bucket hats with Skoda written on them, and we knew they were going to the Tour because Skoda was a main sponsor. On the way, we were given a list which had the riding order, because it was a time trial stage. I had to explain to Dad how the order is sorted.
We arrived to find a massive crowd of people
standing by the road. There were barriers stopping them from them walking onto the track, but the rows of people were at least 3 people thick already. We walked along the track a bit to find somewhere where we could stand by the fence, and we did, next to a VIP area, but not in it. There were two guys there already, set up in their deck chairs, so we left our stuff, at our camp for the next 5 hours, and Dad went off to find some lunch.
It was one o'clock in the afternoon. We got out our Aussie flag, and it started to rain, so Dad went and bought a Tour de France umbrella. When the rain stopped, we turned the umbrella into a flagpole, but were told we weren't allowed to so we hung it on the fence infront of us. The guys sitting next to us were very enthusiastic about the race, and held the flag with us, even though it was an Aussie flag and they were Dutch. At quarter past 2, the advertising cars came past. We had experienced this before in the Tour Down Under, but that barely lasted 10 minutes,
and they often doubled back on themselves. This was one long line that lasted at least 40 minutes with new advertising vehicles coming all the time throwing free stuff out. We caught alot of them, sharing them out with the people next to us, who did the same when they caught stuff.
There was a tube of some fruit juice thing that had landed in the middle of the road. Then a car rode over it and it exploded and we were splattered with the sticky juice all over our legs and we had nowhere to clean it up. It got us, and at least two people on both sides of us.
We had to wait another hour before it started. At 10 past 4, a long parade of Police motorcyclists came through, followed by the first rider from Team Footon, who no-one had ever heard of before. There were 22 teams, each with 9 riders. I checked off the riders that had been past, and the first couple kept setting better times until Germany's Tony Martin from Team Saxobank set a time of 10 mins 10 for an 8 kilometre circuit. For 3 hours, the riders kept
coming, 198 of them in total. We knew which ones were the Aussies and gave them an extra loud cheer. We took photos of as many of the riders as we could. There were a number of the Aussies towards the start, such as Stuart O'Grady, one of mums favourites. They seemed to come in groups, with Robbie McEwen, Simon Gerrans and Matthew Lloyd all coming very close together. It was easy to work out which were the Dutch riders because they got a really loud cheer.
Most of the best or most well known riders came in the last 50. I had circled their names and picked them out on the rider list. Cadel Evans came around as the last rider for BMC. We had seen him before in the Tour Down Under, but this was different to the Tour de France. We noticed he gave a look at our Aussie flag as he came around. Then came another Aussie straight afterwards who had done well in the Tour of Califonia: Micheal Rogers. It wasn't quite the same as Cadel, but it was pretty good. Then came the favourites: Lance Amstrong, Andy Schlek, Alberto Contador, all of the
famous names in world cycling. The last rider was Contador, and he recieved a massive cheer from the crowd because he was last year's winner.
After Contador was a massive parade of motorcycles and cars, before we all crossed the road and headed home. Before we did though, we checked the big screen. To my surprise, Tony Martin was still leading from earlier in the day. Fabian Cancellara checked in ahead of him, and Contador came 6th and Armstrong, 3rd. That was all we knew.
We knew that the trains back to Amsterdam were going to be packed, so we ran ahead of the crowd to the train station. We didn't have time to fold up the flag, so I just ran with it wearing it as a cape. I must have looked preety funny, because I had a massive smile on my face while I was doing it. It was fun though, and unusual running with your flag through a different country. We ran into the station, and made our way onto the platform, just to see the doors of the train to Amsterdam close just as we got there. We had to wait 10 minutes for
the next one to arrive, and when it did, the train was very packed already, and as soon as people realised, because alot of people had arrived in the last 10 minutes, there was a massive groan all along the platform. We squeezed on, and sat on the steps that go to the upper level of the train. It was tight, and as people got on and off, we slowly migrated up and towards the seats. I can't remember much more of it because I fell asleep.
We arrived in Amsterdam and noticed alot of people walking around wearing white. We walked towards the lockers to pick up the bag, and asked someone why everyone was wearing white. He told us that there was a massive dance party in the stadium, with 45 000 people going, all wearing white. We realised that after the football win and the Tour de France and now this, that Holland was in party mode. We had dinner, a sausage roll, from a shop inside the train station.
We were just about to enter the locker room to pick up our bags when Dad decided to ring his cousin Ben, who was who
we were staying with that night. After playing around with the public phones for probably 15 minutes, we finally worked out how to work them and gave him a ring. His phone was engaged, so Dad left a message on his mobile. We caught a train to Sloterdijk, where connecting trains would take us to Enkhuizen. However, when we got there, we found out that there was track works, so we had to take a bus one station to the north and then catch a train from there. We arrived in Enkhuizen just before midnight, then we borrowed someones phone, rang them to tell them where we were, then Ben came to pick us up. Ben is my fathers, fathers, brothers, son, or Dad's second cousin. We had a short drive to Andijk, where they lived. We got there and had something to drink and were shown our beds and went to sleep very quickly. It had been one of the longest days of the trip.
Tot: 2.801s; Tpl: 0.023s; cc: 6; qc: 44; dbt: 0.0243s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb