Tag Archives: soccer

Europe, 2006

When he was in high school, my husband-to-be (HTB) did a rotary exchange where he spent a year in Belgium. He lived with 3 host families over the course of the year, spending the majority of the time with the Renson family in the French speaking town of Dolembreux.

It was to this small town that we travelled next to visit the families and catch up with my HTB’s other friends while we were there. We stayed with the Renson family who lived in an old converted farmhouse. The children- Bill, Ben and Isabelle- had long since moved out and started their own families, but the dog (who only understood African dialect and French commands as she was an import from the Congo) remained.

We went to the closest city, Liege, where my HTB had attended school. The city monument was an unusual water fountain of sorts and the main square was awash with blooming flowers. I was introduced to the world of “real” chocolate at the Galler chocolate factory and the eating of much Cote’ D ‘Or, readily available in supermarkets here, but not in Australia.

One night, we went to a soccer game at Liege stadium. It was very cold, but the yummy thrice fried frites and waffles with added sugar lumps sure warmed us up!

Another night, we went to the pub where my HTB had spent many hours with other rotary exchange students and a restaurant owned by a well-known local friend of his, who took us to a night club where he had to knock on a door with a peephole for us to be let in.

I also discovered the convenience of Belgium, in that being such a small land locked country, it was close to many other European countries.

We went on a day trip to Luxembourg City and marvelled at the Grand Palace. The Grund (old city) was amazing and unlike anything I had ever seen before. From the top it looked like a little fairy tale village that you could walk down into and explore. We also had a nice lunch in a restaurant in the main square with the added company of Flo, one of my HTB’s friends who now worked in the city.

Another day trip took us to Aachen in Germany. We took in the gothic style cathedral, amusing fountains and quirky shops. We also had a nice lunch in a restaurant in the main square with added German steins.

We went on an overnight trip to The Netherlands to visit one of my HTB’s friends Jacqui and her husband. They picked us up in a BMW which had self-park and took us to Williamsted fishing village for dinner. The next day, we all went to Zeeland to see the dyke at Neeltje Jan (Waterland) where we enjoyed being kids for the day. There were seals, a fabulous water playground, sand sculptures and a windy hurricane tunnel.

Related posts: England, 2006

What’s your handicap?

As the whole world goes soccer mad, I thought it would be timely to address my handicap- sports.

I am about the least sporty person I know and in a country that is obsessed with sport, this can sometimes be a problem.

At school, I was horrified that sports afternoons and carnival days were mandatory. I am very uncoordinated, look funny when I run and never did learn how to catch a ball.

We never watched sport either live or on the television at home- unless you count the cricket matches my mum sneakily watched while dad and I were asleep.

Even now, I couldn’t tell you what the difference between rugby league and rugby union is, even though it has been explained to me many times.

When the Olympics were on in Sydney in the year 2000, I did get caught up in the PR spin and may have an Olly the kookaburra and a Sid the platypus lying around somewhere.

My bestie roped me into playing social soccer and even touch football as only a bestie can. Social being the operative word as I don’t think I ever scored a point in either game.

I have been to some sort of football match in Canberra where there was a mascot of a horse, but I’m not really sure who was playing as my friend and I talked through the entire game.

I have also been on a weekend trip to Melbourne with friends to watch the tennis. Melbourne and friends being the draw card in that scenario, not the tennis.

My husband loves watching games of anything and has tried over the years to gain my enthusiasm for all things sports. While I admit that some facts have gotten in by osmosis and I can on occasion appear to know what I am talking about, I still don’t really know what is going on most of the time.

The only time I have really gotten into the swing of things, was when I was at university and the World Cup soccer was on. I have to say, that Sydney did the World Cup well that year. There were big screens everywhere in all the large public places with parties going every night and the atmosphere was amazing.

So enjoy, sports mad people! I realise I am in the minority, but you can find me tucked up in bed with a good book instead.

Related posts: The Seven Year Itch, By Special Request, Friendship: Great Expectations?, Home is where you make it, I first started writing