May 31, 2010
After some major traffic delays Friday coming out of Florence, we made it to the gym at 8:27 for our 8:30 game. It took us a while to get going, but we pulled out the win. After the game, we spent some time fellowshipping with the other team. They brought in pizza and pasta and wine to the gym and served us some dinner!! We were all starving and we were very grateful for their hospitality. After the game we loaded up on the bus to head to our hotel in the small country of San Marino.
We had some great story time and team bonding on the bus!
Saturday morning we woke up and went on a short, hour-long tour of San Marino with our local guide. At the conclusion of our guided tour, we all decided to hike to the top of the medieval city and visit the various medieval towers. We hiked uphill for about an hour and visited the first, second, and third towers of the country. The views from the top were amazing. From there we all split up and grabbed some lunch, got our passports stamped, and met back at the hotel to head to the beach. We spent most of the afternoon at the beach in Rimini walking along the coast and playing sand volleyball. After some fun in the sun we headed back to the hotel for dinner and then the team went out for a night on the town.
Sunday morning we got up early and loaded the bus to head to Venice.
We arrived in Venice and took a private water taxi over to the city center. We ate lunch together at a local pizzeria and then we all headed over to the Rialta Bridge. We met up with a local guide and she gave us a tour on St. Mark’s square and explained to us the history, culture, and traditions of Venice. We then went to a glass blowing demonstration in town. Some of the parents were generous enough to chip in and help pay for gondolas so that all the players and Coach could experience this Venetian tradition. Of course, the parents ended up tagging along themselves. After an extremely long day of travel and time spent in Venice, we headed to the gym to play the Marghera Giants Basket. Needless to say, we got off to a slow start and trailed 9-29 at the end of the first quarter. We cut the deficit to 13 at half, 4 at the end of the 3rd quarter, and ultimately ended up winning by 1!!!
It was definitely a dog fight, but we came out on top. Coach told us on the bus how proud he was of us to have the determination to not throw in the towel, even though these games don’t count. We all appreciated that a lot. We headed to the hotel in Padua and checked in.
A few of us grabbed some paninis for dinner from the hotel bar and then called it a day.
We had a late start to the morning today, getting to sleep in until 9!! It was a good thing too because we are all worn out! We headed to the city center of Padua for about 40 minutes this morning and elected to load the bus so we could have more free time in Lake Como, where we will be for the next 2 days.
May 28, 2010
Yesterday we drove from Rome 5 hours north to Pisa. We were given free time in Pisa to run around on our own and look at the Leaning tower of Pisa. After our stay in Pisa we contined to Montecatini Terme to check into the hotel and ate dinner. After dinner we all headed out for a night on the town.
Today we woke up and drove into Florence and had a short guided tour of the city center and the Pointe de Vecchio. We were given free time to explore. The majority of the team climbed up to the top of the duomo at the cathedral and overlooked the city. We ate lunch together at a local resturaunt and then had some more free time. Multiple shopping bags and gelattos later, we are all on the bus headed up toward San Marino. Needless to say, everyone is worn out, but having a blast. We have our second game tonight…looking for another “W!”
Blog by Christina Byler
May 27, 2010
Our trip to Rome began yesterday in New York. Before we got on the plane, we had some excitement in the JFK airport: we saw Oprah (supposedly) and the Dali Llama. The plade ride was pretty hassle-free and we made it to Rome with everything except a few lost bags. We spent our morning getting acquainted with our tour guide, Ms. Elena Pedretti, before heading toward the collesium. We were given a few hours to explore on our own before meeting up with a local guide, who took us on a walking tour of Rome. We saw many historical places including the Collesium, the Roman Forum, the Piazza Navona, the first shopping mall, and the Italian Wedding Cake Building with the famous bronze horse statue. After our walking tour we met back up with the bus for the journey to our hotel. We had a nice meal prepared for us at the hotel which consisted of pasta, pork chops, and chocolate cake.
Today was our first full day in Rome and we hit the ground running early with a trip to the Vatican City. Upon arrival to the Vatican, we met up with our local guide, Fabio, and took a tour of the Vatcan Museum. We saw many historical artifacts, as well as sculptures, fresco paintings, tapestries, and various Papal collections. While in the museum, we visited the Cysteine Chapel and admired Michaelangelo’s painting. We were told we were not going to be able to go into St. Peter’s Basillica because the Pope was giving his blessing. However, Fabio took us into St. Peter’s square and when we got there we got a treat. The Pope was standing on the steps of St. Peter’s square giving his blessing!! We got there with enough time to spare that we took a group photo and heard the Pope’s blessing on the crowd. It was pretty cool. Following our tour of the Vatican City we headed back toward Rome and the collesium to grab lunch. We had about an hour of extra free time before we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our game. We played our first friendly game tonight and won, but it was a closely contested game. Needless to say, we were a little rusty having not played together for 3 months, but we adjusted to the physical style of play fairly easily. At the end of game we exchanged jerseys with the other team and took a few group pictures. We had a few young Italian school boys take a liking to us, so we let them “stack it up” with us at the end of the game. By the time we got finished with our game it was almost 10:39, so we all headed to the McDonald’s at the bottom of the hill of our hotel to refuel…we were definitely running low on energy. We finally made it back to the hotel and had some team bonding in the lobby before heading to bed to rest up for tomorrow’s travel to Pisa.
May 26, 2010
We have spent three days now in Italy, and it feels like my body got adjusted to the time change! The first day we spent travelling, and I spent a good portion of the day trying to find where to go in the JFK airport. So confusing! Once we got off the long plane ride we were in Rome and our day of site seeing started. The first thing that I noticed was people in Rome are crazy drivers! The tiny streets are full of small cars and scooters weaving in and out of each other. After making it through the traffic and getting to our destination we were all pretty tired by this point, but walking around Rome and seeing all the historical sites was a pretty amazing adventure. I know I spent a lot of time sitting on the Spanish Steps just people watching, because there were just so many people from all walks of the world. Our day ended by having dinner and everyone headed to bed pretty early. We all woke up for breakfast and that is when I found out that Italian breakfast was not the most amazing thing. Watch out for the scrambled eggs! On our second day of site seeing we went to the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter Basilica Church. I am not going to lie, looking up and seeing the ceiling was breathe taking. I had to do a little reality check and tell myself that I was actually there. Then we headed into the Basilica church, which was a very humbling experience. The church was so huge and the amount of history to go along with it was overwhelming. Later that night we played our first game. Getting use to the way international players play took awhile but after the first half we settled in. The third day we loaded up the bus with our tired and stiff legs and drove to Siena. We walked around learning about their historical horse races and had a great time at all the little shops! So far it has been a great experience. We are in Italy, so life is good right now!
Blog by Monica Mayry – University of Minnesota-Duluth Women’s Basketball
May 11, 2010
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