A fantastic week at the Dutch Open in Almere began with a bumpy and delayed start. I was all checked in for my Cardiff – Amsterdam flight at 07.30 on Monday morning, through security and ready to board the plane. Boarding began five minutes late due to the late arrival of the aircraft and everything appeared to be going smoothly until an announcement from the captain stating that the ground crew had found a screw in the front tyre. After some time waiting, we disembarked the plane as we had to wait for a spare tyre to be flown in from Amsterdam. The new flight time was then scheduled to early evening on Monday. After a day of waiting in the airport with complimentary vouchers, we were informed that the flight was then cancelled with no other flights to Amsterdam that day. Following some discussion, passengers were then taxied to Bristol with an overnight stay and a flight to Amsterdam on Tuesday morning. Finally, I arrived in Amsterdam a day late and went straight to the venue and onto court. Luckily it seemed that I didn’t miss much from the briefing the previous night!
Moving onto the tournament, it was a well organised event, in a great venue. There were some really high levels of play with some fiery matches most likely due to the added pressure of Olympic qualification. The food and accommodation provided by the organisers was excellent. Overall it was a very enjoyable event to umpire at! The organisers also arranged a sightseeing trip for all the officials to visit the Batavia Replica Museum. This was a lovely trip and an opportunity to see something else apart from the sports hall! It was really interesting to take a look around a replica of the original Batavia which sank during its maiden voyage to Indonesia in the 1600s. We also had the chance to look at the De Flevowand. This is a 60-metre-long tapestry created over several years by hand which depicts the history of the Netherlands. The tapestry starts from the ice age and travels through time, depicting battles, famines, construction of dykes and major events in Dutch history which have shaped the lives of everyone in the Netherlands.
Overall, it was a fantastic, well organised tournament and I would love to go back at any time!