So on Monday morning, after the disappointment against Portugal, which meant Scotland would be eliminated unless they could achieve the daunting task of beating Spain 2-0, we left Rotterdam and headed up the A4 motorway past Amsterdam, to Volendam where we would spend a couple of days. Before leaving Rotterdam we had a quick wander around the Oude Haven (Old Harbour). We also had a quick stop for photos at de Kuip or Stadion Feijenoord (see previous blog).

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We had been to Volendam 15 years before. On a city break to Amsterdam we took the bus to Volendam one evening for a meal and a wander around. It was a quaint touristy village and we were able to see the sea by stepping up to the top of a dike. The place seemed to have changed a lot. Our hotel was at the Haven but only residents could enter this area with cars as it was all protected by barriers and swipe cards. Our SatNav was working overtime trying to get us into the area around the Slobbeland area and we had Billy Connolly as a voice, so he was doing well to keep his temper.

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Eventually we found free parking about 1/4 mile away from the hotel and walked in, trundling our luggage. However some beer and fish soup in the sunshine soon restored us. The place was heaving with tourists but it quietened down when the souvenir shops started to close. We had a walk up the shore to the north and once we had passed through 1/4 mile of shops selling windmills, clogs and other tat we escaped the crowds and walked along the dike for a bit.

We saw a couple of Great Crested Grebes which are quite tame here and it’s easy to get photos compared to Scotland where they’re very shy. Back in Bunnik I had managed a shot of a female GCG feeding a fish to its chick. Obviously this photo would have won all the wildlife photographer of the year awards but for some inexplicable reason I deleted it when I got home. Boo-hoo.

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A nice meal and yet more beers, and before bedtime I was creeping around Volendam Harbour taking night photos.

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On Tuesday we walked to Edam along the dike and accidentally came upon the wee stadium of Edamse Voetbal Club or E.V.C.

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We also found a windmill to photograph in Volendam and I watched FC Volendam training at their 7164 capacity Kras Stadion. At the moment they play in the Eerste Divisie which is a level below Ajax etc.

IMG_2528Another evening, more food and more beers…

IMG_0199On Wednesday we packed up and headed for Deventer for the Spain match. First we went to the famous Wednesday Kaasmarkt (cheese market) in Edam, which was absolutely mobbed long before the 10.30 start, and then over to Zaanse Schans which is a sort of windmills theme park. It was mobbed and we didn’t stay long. Besides, we had to nip back to Volendam as we were missing one camera and were too worried to enjoy Zaanse Schans. Thankfully our hotel had found the camera (or you wouldn’t be seeing half of these masterpieces).

IMG_0221An hour and a half of motorway slog later, we were coming into Deventer over the large arched bridge over the river IJssel. Deventer was less obviously touristy than a lot of other places, in fact it had a distinctly businesslike feel, but later we discovered the Brink, the large market square, where the fanzone was set up the following day. We discovered that the in the film A Bridge Too Far, the Arnhem scenes were all set in Deventer, as Arnhem had lost its historic centre. We were staying in Bergpoort, a quiet street with absolutely no on-street parking, which made it a wee bit like Coronation Street. St Nicolas church with its twin towers is called the Bergkerk or Mountain Church as it stands on The Berg which is a molehill in the centre of Deventer.

IMG_0242The stadium, De Adelaarshorst, was only about a mile away from our apartment, and even less from the Brink. Although the game wasn’t until Thursday I did attempt a wee recce. However the Spain Women were training in the stadium and there were stewards barring access.

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De Adelaarshorst (The Eagle’s Nest) was built in 1920 and holds about 10500 people. It is the home of Eredivisie club Go Ahead Eagles. They were founded in 1902 as Be Quick, then Go Ahead, and the Eagles was added in 1971. The club has produced a handful of famous players of whom Marc Overmars and Bert van Marwijk are the two that are most recognisable to me. The last time they won the Eredivisie was 1933. Their main rivals are PEC Zwolle who are also on the river IJssel. Jimmy Calderwood was manager for 3 months in 2012 🙂

IMG_2580IMG_2584IMG_2588IMG_2596With a crowd of 4814 turning up the Scotland -Spain match had the best atmosphere of the 3 games. It seems that many more Scotland fans had made the effort for this one and at times the place was rocking. Scotland lineup:

Fay

Frankie Brown, Dieke, Corsie, Arthur

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Evans, Love (Fiona Brown 73), Weir, L. Ross (Clelland 46)

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IMG_2597IMG_2598It’s fair to say that the girls rode their luck to pull off a win. Spain dominated possession and missed chances before Caroline Weir put the Scots ahead 4 minutes from the break, after Erin Cuthbert challenged the goalkeeper at the edge of the box. A scrappy goal but it certainly raised the spirits at the interval. Spain continued to dominate after the break, hitting the bar, and forcing a goal-line clearance from Ifeoma Dieke, but Scotland passed up an amazing chance when Leanne Crichton volleyed over from close in from a Weir corner.

At the end Scotland just came short of the required 2-0 win although it would have been harsh on Spain to go out. There were many tears as the girls came over to salute the Scotland support. Christie Murray and Joanne Love jumped the barriers to meet with friends and family. In Scotland’s first major tournament, injuries to key players had cost them heavily. With a full squad, who knows. Highlights

IMG_2605IMG_2604IMG_2601As we all filed out into the Deventer night, we had the bizarre sight of a bike traffic jam being handled by a steward. The bikes would be one of the overriding memories of the trip. Back to the apartment to finish the packing for the early rise and drive to Schiphol via the car hire at Hoofddorp, and pick up a lovely bottle of Ardbeg in duty free. Caroline Weir’s parents were sitting next to us on the flight. More than once we had been told “Amsterdam is not The Netherlands” and we had learned a lot about this wonderful country and would be keen to come back soon.

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