Danny and Tanny doing the pre-match warm up.
I'm not even gonna start at the point where one of my silly friends left his passport at home and so delayed us all getting there! Oh... I just have! anyway... forget that part... we were here and so we all kissed and made up again. Sooo... it was time to drop off our bags at the hotel and venture into the town. My mate Nick and me were staying right next to the very beautiful Vondel Park, and although it was a good 15 minute walk from the main area's of town, honestly... it was beautiful and peaceful and as we soon realised, a welcome rest from the madness in store. In fact most of our other friends were staying on the Damrack, the main party street of Amsterdam where all the action happens, but by the end of the trip they would have all swapped for our hotel.
I know it looks like a big pavement, but they managed to hit the window at least 5 times in 10 minutes!
How can I explain the difference? Well... if we are talking in London style terms, I would say the area around Vondel Park is like Mayfair, and the area around the Damrak is like Soho. Both fantastic in their own right, but you get the picture right?
So, we decided to meet everyone at 10.30 am, at a place called Barney's, a bar/cafe, which was pretty much in the centre of the city. It's quite a large and spacious bar actually, which was good coz there were 18 of us who had travelled, and it has a good menu. Ok... I had better get this out of the way too. Barney's is also one of those bars/cafes where there is a little bit more on the menu as well. I'm not gonna go into the rights and wrongs of smoking "Jamaican Woodbines", but all I'm saying is that I had a BLT with extra mayo, which I decided to wipe on Roland after he mimicked my accent, and it was great! OMG! It was such a lovely day too, and so after meeting the promotors for the Saturday nights entertainment, the real reason we were there, we all decided to split up and do our own things before meeting later on.
Tanny trying a trick or two.
This meant that there was only one place for us young ones to go (ahem... I am still young according to most of my friends coz I ACT like a child thank you!), Vondel Park... and it was handy for Nick and me too for getting changed later for the evening. Nick BTW is worse than a girl when he gets ready! Oh... I want to tell you Nick's surname... just for fun. It's Blinkhorn! Isn't that a funny name? So off trapped Nick, Tanny (the passport forgetter), Danny and me with huge smiles on our faces, and of course looking cool with our sun glasses on. It was like a scene from Resevoir Dogs man!
On the way to Vondel Park, my friend Tanny (the passport forgetter) decided to buy us a football, I think as a way of an apology for being a silly dick earlier on.
Tanny failing with his trick or two!
Great call though... coz as soon as we hit the park, we were challenging the Dutch to a kick about and loving every second of it. At first we weren't doing our country proud at all as we were getting thrashed, but there were only 4 of us v God knows how many of them and we didn't want to suggest mixing the sides. There is something silly about being English, a man and proud I'm afraid. But I was delighted when someone did suggest mixing it up a little, and then the real game started. Now I'm not one to brag.. but... you should have seen our first goal! Tanny wins the ball like a tiger in the midfield and feeds the ever hungry Danny, who tears down the flank, and then caresses the ball with perfection, and delivers a peach on to the bonce of our star player.
A beautiful view of the park.
... Mattiodonna... who beats the creaky Dutch defence by rising like a salmon, to nod the ball home in at the back post! The fans went wild!!! Well, this was Nick who cheered whilst he was having a quick fag... and it didn't quite happen like that... but I did score... and I was extremely happy. All in all we ended up playing for about 3 hours (and I felt it the day after... and the day after that!) and I think the score was something like 54 - 52! A great spectacle for the neutral... if only the Sky camera's were there! After the game we chilled out with a few of the guys and listened to some music, had a few beers and some guy even played his guitar for us. Perfect before we decided to head off to our hotels and get ready for the night.
Nick, Tanny, Casper and Danny... note Casper's necklace! Maybe he is the Mayor too?
One thing I will remember from that day is a guy called Casper who said to me that he was dissapointed that England hadn't qualified for the Euro's (this still pains me now BTW). I thanked him for his concern, but when I dug a little deeper, it was his reasons why which made me giggle... until I relised he was serious... in his words "well... we could have teamed together to beat up the Germans"! He does have a point.... only joking as we are jealous really!
After getting ready, all the guys from the DJ Skool met up in the Damrack for food and a few drinks. I won't talk too much about the night coz I will highlight Saturdays party night on the next part of the blog and leave you with the happy memories of our day time experience. However, it was pretty eventful to say the least, as we met up with those Dutch promotor guys and they wanted to show us what they wanted to show us.
Ohhh... it's the Holland Casino by Vondel Park innit! I love casinos.
The area around the Damrack is very different when the lights go out, but it's all good as they say, even though I honestly found it more expensive than I imagined.