Last year I wrote ‘’That was just the first time’’ – we went to the Dutch town of Groenlo (Marveld Resort) with an ad hoc got together IPA Radom Team. Their goal then was to make ‘’a police survey‘’ during ties played within the ‘’men open category’’. As a result we had to decide whether the team will find its permanent place within the Region Radom structure and will participate in tournaments held in Poland and abroad. The team came into being; it was even equipped with tracksuits and football costumes with the IPA logo attached. This year we have decided to play within the ‘’men 35+’’ category which has been constructed of 65 teams, including as many as 6 teams from Poland.

The tournament was held between 10 and 14 of October. It has gathered 208 teams (3,500 participants, 4 categories: men open, men 35+ and 45+, and women open) from around the world. I think there is no alternative to collect in a small area of the sports hall such a large mosaic of nationalities and hear the buzz of dozens of languages.

It occurred to our team that we would have to play with European teams, i.e. IPA Sopron (Hungary), Politie Turnhout (Belgium), Narva Old Boys (Estonia), IPA Split (Croatia), Police Sports Club Majak Jablonek (the Czech Republic), Dinamo Slatina (Romania), Kaunas Police (Lithuania), and French Gendarmerie National. We won three matches, one finished with a draw. Other four matches were not won by us and they did not finish with draws either J. For us the games finished with a total of 10 points. We deserved a consolation cup.

Well, now we have some new experience. We know for sure that thanks to the futsal rules we have to extend our team in order to support the main line-up with at least four substitutes plus goalkeeper. Then the players will retain more strength during intense, 12-minute qualifying matches, which take place in a number of even eight in just one day.

Traditionally one of the days of stay for each team is free. The organizer provides transport to Amsterdam or Düsseldorf. We could not withstand the temptation to visit the Netherlands' Venice of the North". During the water bus cruise through the canals we learned that Amsterdam boasts over a hundred 9-foot-deep canals, over which there are more than a hundred bridges. The total length of the canals is about 62 miles.

However, a person certainly does not know how many bicycles there are in the capital city of Amsterdam. Katie Melua sings about nine million bicycles in Beijing. In Amsterdam, there is a modern six thousand bicycles storey car park. Outdoor bikes stand on every patch of pavement, provided that there is something you can hitch a padlock to. The water bus Captain jokingly said that today, the most expensive part of the bike is the padlock or other security lock. Despite this, approx. one thousand bikes a day change their rightful owners.

Bicycles are an integral part of the Netherlands, perhaps even more famous than the old mills, tulips, cheese or clogs (wooden shoes). It seems that this small country coped well the safety of vulnerable road users. Almost everywhere along the roads (not only the major ones) there are bicycle-scooter paths, which, crossing the intersection, are equipped with separate traffic light semaphores activated by pressing a button. When obeying the traffic rules theoretically there is no possibility of intrusion between a single-track and a car. While in the cities where the intersections do not have traffic lights, cyclists and those riding scooters almost always take precedence. If it is different- definitely you will be warned by vertical and horizontal road signs.

That legislation should also be respected by pedestrians we were convinced when waiting for the return bus in the centre of Amsterdam. Distracted tourist burst onto the bike path right under a speeding bicycle. It ended with arrival of emergency ambulance and smashing the newly acquired souvenirs.

Travel broadens the mind - the wise proverb still valid.

Written by: Krzysztof Kapturski

Photos: Krzysztof Kapturski


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