Day 17 - Paris

Today we set off early on a tour of Paris. We visited Notre Dame, Les Invalides, Luxembourg Gardens, Madeleine Church, The Arc de Triomph and the Eiffel Tower. 

We had a fantastic tour guide who was full of interesting information about the city both in the past and today.

We went back to our hotel to pack before heading into Paris to see the city by night and have dinner on the Champs Elysee.  

Seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle was amazing and a great way to finish the tour.  

Tomorrow morning we have an early start before beginning our travels home to Australia.  

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Day 16 - Paris

This morning we said good bye to our hosts frromnSt. Germain and went to visit the Palace of Versailles. Within the Palace is a room which contains 357 mirrors and is appropriately named 'The Hall of Mirrors'.

After exploring The Palace we walked into the town for some lunch. Some of us were brave enough to try snails! But most of us had French crepes. 

We then drove into the centre of Paris to  climb the Eiffel Tower. We were so lucky with the weather, it was cold and windy but the rain held off so we got some amazing views of Paris. 

We then checked into our hotel and got ready for our end of tour Awards. This was an opportunity to thank all of the players and staff for being involved in a fantastic tour. Congratulations to everyone who will go home with an award, they were all so well deserved.  

Tomorrow we spend our last day in Paris taking in all of the sights.  

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Coaches Award Winners  

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All of our amazing Umpires.  

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The Players Player Award Recipients  

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Wanderers of the Tour  

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Most Imporved

Day 15 - Our Last Game

Today we went into Paris!

On our way to the Louvre we drove the coach around the Arc de Triomphe. From there we drive down the Champs Elysee before making our first stop at the Louvre. 

The Louvre is a huge building made up of many different galleries. First we went to look at the Mona Lisa before spending some free time exploring salaries of our choice.  

We then went to the Galeries Lafayette for lunch. From the terrace of the Galeries Lafayette there is an incredible view of Paris, and although it was cloudy was still spectacular. 

After lunch we then went on a cold and wet walking tour. We walked past The Palais Garner, an Opera House built in the 1870s. We then walked to La Madeleine, a church designed as a temple to the glory of Napoleon's Army. From there we walked to the Place de la Concorde which was the sight of many executions during the French Revolution. 

We then caught the train back to St. Germain to spend some time in the town before playing our last game of hockey for the tour. 

There were mixed emotions for tonight's games, everyone was excited to play, but sad that it was our last game as a group. 

Tonight we are spending our last night with our hosts before climbing The Eiffel Tower tomorrow. 

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Day 14 - The Somme Region

This morning we said goodbye to our hosts and to Belgium. We made our way to Nothern France, to the Somme Region where we picked up our guide for the day. 

We visited many of the significant places for the Australian soldiers including the Australian War Memorial where hundreds of Australian soldiers lie. 

We also walked through some old trenches which have been preserved, and were able to see what it was like to move in such a small space with no sight ahead.  

We finished the day learning about 'The Unknown Soldier' and importance he has on the many families who's loved ones were never found. 

The experience was a really valuable one which we are all greatful for.

After we said farewell to our guide we made our way to St. Germain to meet our final hosts.

Tomorrow we are going to Paris before playing our last game of the tour.  

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Day 13 - Game 8

Today we left Holland and made our way to Belgium. Our first stop was the final hockey shop of the tour. 

After a little bit of shopping we went into Antwerp to explore the old centre of town.

We all browsed the many chocolate shops and many of us came back on the bus with tasty treats.

From Antwerp we made our way to Royal Victory hockey club to play hockey.

Our junior girls team played their match against Hrakles Hockey Club. Herakles were very excited to play us, and it was a very chatty, friendly game. 

The senior girls game was much the same, they really enjoyed playing against the girls from Antwerp, the game was filled with lots of laughs. 

The boys played against our hosts, Royal Victory. It was an excellent opportunity for The Wanderers boys to improve their structural discipline.  

Tonight everyone went home for dinner with their hosts, who were so excited to have us.

Tomorrow we make our way to France, three countries in three days! 

 

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Day 12 - Game 7

This morning we checked out of our hotel and made our way towards Arnhem. Our first stop was the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery.  To learn how young many of the soldiers were when they died was an eye opening experience for everyone. 

We then went to the Airbourne Museum where we learnt about the battle of Arnhem. We saw some of the weaponry, uniforms and equipment which was used during the battle. There are many stories of the time from the perspective of the allied soldiers, civilians and German soldiers. 

After the museum we visited the town of Arnhem for lunch before heading to Leusen for our final game of hockey in Holland.  

All of the games we the closest they have been all trip! The boys had another exciting game, executing some great short corners they were able to take the win. 

The junior girls game was one of the fastest paced games the girls had played, and everyone did really well to play the full 70min.  

The senior girls game was very skilful, the opposition put the Wanderers under a lot of pressure and didn't give our girls much time to think. The Wanderers worked really well together. 

After our games we had dinner with our hosts before going back to their houses for the night.  

Tomorrow morning we are heading to Belgium! 

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Day 11 - Utrecht

This morning we had a well deserved sleep in before spending the day in Utrecht. 

Our first stop was Hockey Republic, a huge hockey shop with its own practice pitch inside the store.  

We then walked through the town centre, guided by Frans, who's daughter plays hockey For the Netherlands. We visited the church and gardens, which were the old centre of town, before walking along the canals to get some lunch.  

After lunch we had some free time exploring Utrecht before making our way back to our hotel for and early night before our last game in Holland tomorrow. 

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Day 10 - Game 6

This morning we said goodbye to our first Dutch hosts and headed to our first hockey shop of the tour. Inter Sport is a shop in a town called Amersfoort, which has some well preserved medieval structures, which we explored before checking our the hockey shop.

After some shopping we travelled to Amsterdam. We had lunch in Dam Square before walking along the canals to Anne Frank's house. The museum is a sombre experience and one that is hard to explain. 

From Amsterdam we headed to SCHC for our second game in Holland. 

The junior girls had an exciting Game and were well matched against SCHC.  They are working really well as a teams and are starting to try lots of new skills and structures.  

The senior girls played an experienced side who demonstrated amazing skill in the first. The Wanderers showed excellent maturity as a team and concentrated on a few things at half time and really stepped up in the second half. The way the team is working together is so impressive for a group who have only played 6 games together!

The boys played against a fast and skilled team, and it was another exciting game. The Wanderers were able to match the SCHC boys and scored an equaliser right on the final buzzer!! 

After our games SCHC hosted us for dinner before we checked into our hotel for the night.  

Everyone is excited for a rest day tomorrow before our next, and final, game in Holland. 

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Day 9 - Game 5, Holland

This morning we arrived in Holland! The ferry docked and we were off to visit a clog and cheese shop where they make their own clogs and cheeses. First we learnt about how they make their cheese. To make 1kg of cheese the use 10L of milk! And once the cheese has been sealed it can keep for up to 2 years outside of the fridge. 

After learning about the cheese we saw a 100 year old clog machine try to make a clog, it was having an off day, but we were able to see how the clogs were made before the machine was used.  

On our way to lunch we stopped off at a windmill to get a quick pic and to experience just how windy Holland can be. 

We had lunch in Volendam, a small town beside the sea, before travelling to meet out hosts for tonight.  

Everyone was really excited to play their first match in Holland. All of the games were tough, but all three of our team stepped up and played some amazing hockey. 

Tonight everyone went home with their new friends after having dinner together at the impressive club house.  

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Day 8 - London

This morning we said goodbye to our hosts from Derham hockey club and headed back to London. Here we visited Tower Bridge before exploring the Tower of London. Some of the highlights included seeing the crown jewels and trying on the armour the soldiers of the time had to wear. 

We then walked to Borough Markets for lunch. Borough Markets has food from all over the world and many tasty baked goodies.  

Our last stop in London was the London Museum.  The museum takes you on a journey on London through the ages, detailing all of the events which shaped it into the city it is today. The museum houses the Olympic couldrn used in the 2012 Olympics, it is huge. 

On our way to Harwich to catch the ferry to Holland we had one last stop at the Stratford Centre to grab something to eat before making our way to Europe.  

Everyone is excited to play our first game in Holland tomorrow and to meet our Dutch hosts.  

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Day 7 - Game 4

This morning everyone spent some time with their host family before our games this afternoon. 

The junior girls played up first and had an outstanding first half, scoring some excellent team goals. Our defence was really solid throughout the entire game and are really starting to come together as a strong unit.  

The boys were up Next, and although half the pitch was starting to ice over, the boys played a fast paced and exciting game, with one shot on goal cracking the ball in two! 

The senior girls were the final Game, and it was really cold. This was the closest game of the evening with goals being scored both ends but the Wanderers finished on top. 

Every year when the Junior Hockey group visit Derham we play for a perpetual trophy. Today we won the trophy for the first time in 17 years! A massive achievement. 

We then all had tea at the club before heading back to our hosts for our last night in England. 

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Day 6 - Cambridge

It was a cold start to the day, -4 at 9am! This morning we were lucky enough to have a later check out so we could spend some time exploring Heythrop Park.

We then made our way towards Derham stopping at Cambridge for lunch. Here we all had some free time before hopping back on the bus to meet our hosts for the next 2 nights. 

Everyone made the most of the relaxed day today, and we are all feeling rested and ready for our games against Derham tomorrow afternoon.  

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Day 5 - The Cotswolds

This morning we said goodbye to our hosts, but not before they put on a delicious breakfast for us all at their club house.

After breakfast we made our way to the Cotswolds, picking up our guide Mike who lives in Guiting Power. 

Our first stop was in a village called Stow on the Wold, a small village with lots of quaint shops and cafes.  

We then stopped at Guiting Power for lunch at Hollow Bottom Pub, which was delicious. After lunch Mike took us for a walk through the village where we visited the church and the local shop and bakery which is run by a lady who is 98!  

Our last stop on our tour was in a village called Bourton on the Water, which was the biggest of the three villages we visited. 

From there we travelled to Heythrop House where we are spending the night. Heythrop House is an old grand manor house with amazing grounds which we will explore in the morning.   

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Day 4 - Game 3

This morning we said farewell to our first hosts of the tour. The bus was full of amazing stories and many new friends were made last night.

We made our way to Manchester where we went on a tour of Manchester City Football club's stadium. The stadium is an incredible venue and has amazing facilities, the group favourite being the heated seats!

After the tour we went to lunch at the Trafford Centre, a massive shopping centre.  

We then made our way back to the Midlands to play our third game of the tour against Lichfield.  

The junior girls were up first again and had a fantastic game. The girls were able to create and make the most of several quality attacking opportunities. 

The senior girls were next up. They had a tough game, but the defensive work from the entire team was impressive, and all the team should be very proud of themselves and the way they worked together on the field.  

The boys had amother tough and exciting game, with several opportunities down both ends. It is hard to believe that this team has only been playing together for 3 games as their teamwork is like that of a team who has been together for much longer.  

After the games everyone went home with their second host of the tour, very excited to create more memories and make new friends. 

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Day 3 - Game 2

This morning we made our way to the historic town of Warwick to visit Warwick Castle.  Warwick Castle was originally built in 1068 by the Normans. The Castle today is home to lots of interactive displays, amazing grounds and some impressive birds of prey. After exploring the grounds of the Castle we all watched a 'birds of prey demonstration where we saw a red tailed kite fly above the castle grounds.

After lunch we made our way towards Sutton Coldfield via a local hockey shop. 

Tonight's opposition, Sutton Coldfield, are also our first homestay hosts of the tour. Everyone was very excited to meet their hosts and play their second game of hockey.  

The junior girls team played a really close match, both team having several scoring opportunities. The Wanderers group really came together tonight and put on an impressive display of teamwork.  

The snior girls learnt a new structure tonight and were able to demonstrate their adaptability to new and challenging situations. The game was great to watch and all the girls were really proud of what they achieved as a group. 

The boys were really excited to play tonight  after a close game last night and right from the start put the opposition under pressure. This was an exciting Game, with some high level skills and team play from both sides. 

After three fantastic games we made our way to Sutton Coldfield's clubhouse for tea and to meet our hosts, a fantastic end to a great day.

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Day 2 - Game 1

Today was our first game of the tour, against Surbiton, one of the strongest clubs in England.

First up were both girls teams.

The older girls played against an exceptional Surbiton side, a handful of who are part of the junior national squad. Even with the rain the girls had a ball, and are excited to play together again tomorrow.

The younger girls had an exciting and close game. It was fantastic to see all of the girls coming together as a team so quickly.

Next up was the boys game. After watching the girls play, the boys were all very keen to get on the pitch. The boys continued as the girls had started, it was an exciting, and entertaining game of hockey with goals being scored at each end.

After the games we had lunch with Surbiton before heading to back to our hotel to get ready to watch Reading play Birmingham City. Birmingham City won the game 2-0. It was a cold and wet night, but it was great to spend some time with the Wanderers Netball tour group. 

Tomorrow we are visiting Warwick Castle before playing our second game of the Tour, and our first night of being hosted! 

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The junior girls team

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The boys team

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The senior girls team

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Some action from the soccer game

Day 1- London

Welcome to London.

After a few delays the junior hockey teams landed at Heathrow London. To help us all fight our jetlag we set off on a sightseeing tour of the city which included Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Westmister Abbey.

We then stopped at Marble Arch and walked down Oxford Street to Sulfridges for lunch before checking into our hotel.

Dinner tonight was at an English pub opposite Windsor Castle, which was delicious!

Everyone had a well deserved early night to get ready for our first game tomorrow morning.

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