Aug. 9, 2012
Amsterdam, Netherlands - Missouri Basketball has arrived in the Netherlands. The Tigers left Columbia just before 9 a.m. on Wednesday and arrived at 9 a.m. (local time) Thursday morning to start the club's tour of Europe. Missouri will play five games during the trip, including the first contest tomorrow at 7 p.m. (local, noon central) vs. Rotterdam.
The plane ride to Amsterdam was smooth and the team departed St. Louis shortly before 2 p.m. and had a brief layover in Detroit before the seven-hour flight to the Netherlands. The plane featured individual television sets at each seat and there were movies, TV shows, games and music to keep the team occupied.
"It was a good flight over," Head Coach Frank Haithsaid. "Some of the guys were able to get some rest and it was a good first day to get under our belts. We had the chance to get out and have a team meal for dinner and walk around to see some of the more famed sights of the city."
As Haith alluded to, the team had a chance to see some of the famous windmills of Holland and even watched the making of a pair of wooden shoes. Each windmill in Holland serves a specific purpose and two of the windmills the Tigers viewed were responsible for the crushing of peanuts to make peanut oil and a second was to cut up large pieces of timber.
"It was a lot like stepping back in time," senior forward Laurence Bowers said. "Some of the same tricks they had more than a century ago are still being using today. They have a lot of pride in what they are doing and how they are doing it."
There is a seven hour difference between Amsterdam and the United States (time-wise), so it has been a challenge to not only adjust to the huge gap, but also stay awake for the duration of this first evening. The group enjoyed a team meal at a local Italian eatery and returned back to the hotel for a couple hours of free time before tonight's curfew and pre-game prep.
Despite the long travel day and the slightly weary legs Missouri hits the playing floor tomorrow night for the first of five games. Mizzou opens play against Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Statistics and a recap will be available following the contest online at mutigers.com and video highlights will be sent back to the Mizzou Network.
Random Factoids From Day 1
Once we arrived in Amsterdam we learned that the airport is actually 18 feet below sea level. The tour guide on the bus spoke at great length on how the Dutch have actively pumped water behind man-made dams to get more land surrounding the country.
One result of that project is impressive canals throughout the city, giving it a feel (in parts) similar to Venice, Italy. In addition, many of those canals are cleaned every five days, so they are an important part of the city's culture, water supply and architecture.
Another part of that process was the creation of underwater driving tunnels on the highways. The team bus took these tunnels twice during the tour.
Amsterdam is very public-transportation friendly. We saw thousands upon thousands of bicycle riders in the city and even more walkers. The city has large bike-only lanes next to the sidewalks as well. In addition, light rails run in the city of 800,000, as well has a metro transit.
Nearly half of the 800,000 population live in very small homes built on wooden piles. The piles of wood of course rot with time and have caused a few of the houses to tilt.
One final note, due to the limited landmass, many apartments are narrow and tall. In fact several apartment buildings had large metal hooks outside the windows, allowing movers to remove / install furniture through the outside window instead of the stairs.
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