• European Team Championships 2013  • 01-04 May • Amsterdam •  

  European Team Championships 2013
   30 Apr, Day ZERO
Arriving on Queen's Day

It was a good day to arrive in a very orange Amsterdam, with all the celebrations over the royal handover taking place on Queen's Day, a national holiday of course. Apparently the traffic was bad, but the Airport - Hotel - Venue route is 95% motorway, so wasn't noticeably affected.

More teams than ever before all arrived in Amsterdam today, and after tonight's opening skirmishes of the referees' meeting, the opening dinner and the managers' meeting, battle will be joined tomorrow at the always impressive Frans Otten Stadion's multitudinous courts.

Fram in Amsterdam

Squash is really a fantastic world. Really.

I arrived a bit after Cubs – who by the time I got to the hotel, had sorted out our press room set up, took pics of the airport, the venue, the hotel, and was thinking about rewiring the Hotel IT reception bless him - around 5.30.

Went straight to the bus stop A9 he told me to go to, and less than 5m later, a big blue bus with VanDerValt Hotel parked right in front of me. On I went, joined minutes later by the Welsh and Irish teams. I knew I was on the right bus then…

The hotel check-in process was as smooth as it comes. I didn’t wait for more than 2 minutes – unusual when you have about 40 people coming all at once to reception – was handed a room, went to the other reception to give my credit card for extras, and met Cubs in the reception area.

Why the “other” reception you may ask? Hotel is lovely, the loveliest we’ve had in Amsterdam to be honest.

You have the “Old” section, with warm dark wood and comfy sofas all around, when I have my room – I prefer bathtubs to showers, sue me – and the “New” side, where most of the others are, totally modern look, black style rooms with nice walk-in showers.

Everybody their own!

A quick cupper with Cubs, and off we went to the Official Dinner. Stunning really. Superb huge room, food was excellent, really diverse, plenty for everybody, queue moving fast. Good size tables for the teams, 10 out of 10 for that one as well.

But what struck me the most is how happy I was to see those players/officials. So many now I know rather well, or very well, and care for a heck of a lot.

OK, in the whole room, there were maybe two or three people I wouldn’t spend my Easter Holiday with, you can’t like everybody, I’m not Mary Poppins. But I just kept smiling, happy to see this one or or that one, joking with him, laughing with her, really delighted to see that crowd.

But let’s face it. There was one that I particularly was over the moon to see.

Our Thierry Lincou, back from the States and his semi retirement to come and support the French team. I hadn’t seen him since July, as he is now settled in Boston. And just the “bonheur”, the happiness to be able to catch up and laugh and joke and reminiscence a few good times we had with him, well, that made my day / week / month / year.

I’m in a great hotel, surrounded by great athletes, immerged among good friends. I so love my life right now…

Lots more photos in the Gallery