Tuesday 15th January

Welcome to the Wanderers European Winter Wonderland...
This morning the group awoke to find that another 5 - 6 centimetres of snow cover had been added to the blanket laid the previous night, which necessitated snowball fights galore whilst the boys and girls team awaited the arrival of the bus.

The first leg of today's journey was between Amersfoort in the Netherlands to Antwerp in Belgium. On most normal days this journey would take approximately 90 minutes, however with the addition of snow and to their own admission many inexperienced Dutch drivers in snow this lead to some very interesting driving manoeuvres being observed on the 150 minutes that it did take.

Upon arrival into Antwerp the group explored all of the sights, sounds and attractions on offer, ranging from the obvious (ie Chocolate, Hot Chips with Samurai Sauce, Waffles, Shopping) to the less known (ie The Cathedral, Architecture and Central Station). With bags laden predominantly with chocolate souvenirs the group them headed our to our next hosts at Royal Victory in Antwerp.

Unfortunately due to he snow, safety and well being issues the scheduled games of hockey were unable to occur as originally planned, however our hosts had other plans in place.....

Introduction of a sport for potential inclusion in the next Winter Olympics, that of "snow hockey" :-).
What are the rules of "snow hockey" you ask? There are relative few. The game is played on a hockey ground that has been covered to a depth of at least 10 of snow and the ball is fluorescent and about half the size of a soccer ball and there are unlimited numbers of players on each team. From the beginning whistle organised slipping and sliding mayhem occurs on a regular basis occasionally punctuated by a sublime exhibition of skill given the conditions.
When the final whistle blew and the snow settled there was a strong resemblance to "frosty the snowman" exhibited by players on all teams with immense fun being had by all.

For the record the final score was Wanderers 3 Royal Victory 2.
Goals; Luke, Max & Zach.

Special mention to Julian Minto-Crask who today celebrated his 16th birthday with 31 other of his newest hockey mates and was able to start the celebration in one country and finish it in another with birthday kisses from two lovely Belgium girls.

Please note that due to travel and billeting arrangements over the next two to three days access to the Internet is likely to be limited until the group reach Paris, therefore impacting upon this daily blog.