June 29, 2010
Here is a recent video of the JHU Women’s Lacrosse team on tour with AIST. If you are considering a team trip for your program please contact us for a free quote and tour sample. You can provide the information we need at www.aist.us/registration/team-registration.
Please enjoy the video!
June 29, 2010
Here is a highlight video of our recent tour to Prague with Our AIST select lacrosse team. The tour was from June 20-28, 2010. Our select team was made up of Division I, II and III lax players as well as a few Czech Republic players. The AIST team went 6-1-1 in the tournament finishing 3rd. The only loss came in the semi-final game of the round robin 7 team tournament. Enjoy the 7 minute video below!
June 24, 2010
Day 1: Arrival
When we got off the plane, we were exhausted. But this didn’t stop us from having a FANTASTIC time at an underground bar across the street from the Charles Bridge in Old Prague. It was so fascinating to interact with the locals, as well as other tourists in the area. The group of girls on this tour is amazing, we all mesh very well together and have a great connection on and off the field.
Day 2: Tourism
We had a great time the second day on a tour throughout the city of Prague. Although we got to see a lot of unique and different things, we only made it through half of the tour due to the fact that we were easily distracted taking pictures of everything in sight. Our tour guide, Jan Sindy, gave us a solid history of the country and he was a great guide! We got to see the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and many other places along the way. We cannot wait to see the rest of the city!
Day 3: First Day of Games
Today was the first day of games and not only did we do very well, we had so much fun! First we played another American team and then two Czech teams. We won all three games and clicked really well right off the bat, which was very fortunate for us. Our coach Amanda Hughes (Duke/Davidson College) is fantastic for both coaching and playing at the same time. We also have a few Czech girls on our team which is an interesting dynamic to incorporate!
-Carin Czerniawski & Chelsea Davis
June 13, 2010
San Marino ” Beach ” Pizza Making and first look at San Marino.
Day 4 was amazing! We got up and were ready to relax and go to the beach, however it was a pleasant surprise to see that the beaches here in Rimini, Italy were a bit different. First, we had an entire section reserved with our own individual cabana-like chairs for the couple hours we would spend on the beach. It was extremely nice and beautiful to lay on the beach and be able to touch the Adriatic Sea! The weather was great, and while some sun bathed, others went around to the cute and lively markets and shops around the area. The awesome fruit and seafood at the beach restaurant and market only added to the great experience too.
And not only was the beach amazing, the authentic pizza making experience was something none of us will ever forget. The chefs and pizza guys were awesome at teaching and helping us, and provided some comic relief for those of us that were not as natural as others. Nevertheless, everyone ended up with tasty personal pizzas. And after pizza the more than accommodating pizza place gave us a huge and ridiculously delicious cake for our teammate Alyson’s birthday. It was overall an amazing and one of a kind day!
San Marino (second day/night) and 1st day of lacrosse
The Blue Jays are back in action!! It was a whole day dedicated to tweaking twine, ripping g’s and laxin’ it up. We were all so excited to be back on the field doing what we love: playing lacrosse. There was fierce competition among the Dream Team (aka us), the Czechs, the other Czechs, and the UK. We took our first game handedly defeating the first Czech team (aka Prague) and the next two against Czech and the UK followed suit. It was difficult at first to focus on anything but lacrosse with the beautiful landscape encompassing the field, which consisted of rolling hills filled with strategically placed country villas and a enormous bell tower that just so conveniently happened to ring all four of its bells every hour on the hour. It was great to end the day with 3 W’s and high hopes for the next day of play.
We ended the evening heading back to the beautiful San Marino to enjoy a delicious meal at the hotel and some of us went on mini adventures across the city. These mini adventures were more like Mount Everest-like expedition trekking across ravenous terrain with jungle cats lurking in the surrounding trees. Not only did we conquer these dangerous and at times risky missions, but naturally we did so with class. Hiking in miniskirts, sundresses and flip flops, scaling rocks and Medieval fortresses is only a feat capable of the Johns Hopkins Women’s lacrosse team. Other treks included but were not limited to gelato crushing, mastering the art of stair stepping, and taking countless panoramic pictures, which were done Scope style for those of you from the Ocean City, MD area. With a curfew of 11:30, we completed our mission of doing as much as we could to take over the Republic. We all went to sleep at 11:29, anxiously awaiting another lax filled day followed by an evening of impending events of epic proportions.
-Julianne Wisner & Brett Bathras
San Marino (3rd day/night)
After the Dream Team went undefeated and took home the Gold, we wore our medals around San Marino beaming with pride. We had not only brought the sport of lacrosse to Italy, but we represented the U.S. with impeccable class and incredible talent. To further demonstrate to the Republic of San Marino our phenomenal array of skills, we marched to the local salsa club and showed Lionel, our Shaggy/Bob Marley-like bartender, who was boss. And by boss, to put it simply, we destroyed. We were jiving to our right and shimmying to our left right on beat to the carefully selected Akon CD that remained on repeat. Kareoke was attempted but it was simply unrealistic to compete with Lionel’s natural ability to rap perfectly every lyric to Akon’s smash hit, Smack That, in Italian of course. Soon after, a Conga line formed out of thin air which not only demonstrated our grace and poise, but also our rhythmic flexibility, twisting, turning and pretzeling to follow Lionel’s unprecedented maneuvers. We soon wooed the crowd, Italian boys flocked the dance floor to watch us cut the rug the American way and they applauded, cheered and brava-ed us as we swayed our way into the rhythm of their hearts. In case we didn’t make it clear, they refers to our team, being as though we and just 4 other random Italians were the only ones getting after it at this tastefully crafted Italian salsa bar. The night ended on a high note as we all flocked to the late night gelati hot spot to get our fix before bed. Tomorrow was sure to be yet another fun-filled afternoon.
-Brett Bathras and Julianne Wisner
Transfer to Venice ” Padova
From the glass factory to the gondola rides, Venice was quite the trip! The sinking city was one of a kind and very busy. There were tourists from all over the world, some lucky enough to stay for the night on such an expensive island. Over the course of a year, 12 million tourists will visit the island that only inhabits 67,000 people. After enjoying a beautiful gondola ride in which we were serenaded by a gorgeous Italian stallion, we topped the day off by getting gelato for the 15th time this trip. For some reason, we all feel obligated to try every kind of gelato that Italy has to offer. After gelato, we returned to our bus with bags of souvenirs, and all agreed that without a doubt, all of our suitcases will now be extremely overweight.
Our trip to Milan was a little lengthy ” we got stuck in traffic for a few hours on the way to the city ” but none of us minded, we were all watching movies on the bus! After finally making it to Italy’s main business city and the world’s fashion capital, we were all anxious to get off the bus and explore!
Milan definitely had a different feel to it; the buildings were less rustic and the city was filled with more business people than tourists, but there were several attractions that were well worth the trip (not to mention all the great shopping!!). After breaking for lunch, we all met back in front of the Duamo (the third largest church in the world) for a guided tour of the cathedral and the galleria. Our tour guides were fantastic and walked us through the magnificent, humongous church that was made completely of marble. I believe that this was the highlight of the day ” all of us were incredibly impressed with the history of the building and the town. The tour continued and took us in to the galleria ” a glass-enclosed shopping area and home to one of the world’s few 7-star hotels. According to our tour guide, the hotel door is hidden and the location is only divulged to those high-end customers who book a room there for well over several thousand dollars a night.
We were all given several hours to go through the city on our own, shopping (and just looking) in all of the high end designer stores and other great shops along the way. At 7pm we all met back at the bus, most of us weighed down by all our purchases, and took the bus to our last hotel, the Leonardo da Vinci, a few miles outside of Como. Dinner here was by far the best, and all of us went to bed ready for an early morning on the Lake!
Where to start. Como and Bellagio had to have been the prettiest place we have visited thus far. After trying to spot George Clooney at his massive villa on the gorgeous Lake Como, we enjoyed a glorious boat ride over the glassy waters that led us to Bellagio. We tasted some fabulous, home-made wine, and continued to dine on caprese paninis while looking out on the surrounding mountains that separated Italy from Switzerland. We continued to find some glorious gems in the mesmerizing jewelry shops and boutiques. After officially spending all of our money, some of us even maxing out on our daily credit card spending limits, we returned by boat on a gorgeously sunny afternoon to Como and topped off our second to last day with some, per usual, to-die-for gelato.
June 6, 2010
After a super long overnight flight from Dulles to Paris, we just made our flight from Paris to Florence! We got to fly on a smaller non-commercial Air France plane, and our group basically took up almost all the seats. It was a quick 2 hour flight, that allowed those of us who couldn’t sleep on the earlier flight to get a quick nap. We arrived in Florence a little after 9, collected our bags, and met Chad- our guide who set up our entire trip, and Giancarlo our translator/Italian expertise. Chad informed us that it was a national holiday and none of the banks would be open, so some of us went to exchange money at the airport for $1.4 American for 1 euro. We loaded the bus, and headed to Florence.
On our way there, we were informed about the potential pickpocketers and gypsies, and reminded that we needed to take caution of our belongings and values. After a quick tour by Giancarlo, we were set free to explore. We all took the 3 hours of free time to explore the city; we went to the Plaza Dell Signoria, where there was a band and many Italian citizens celebrating their national holiday. After we went to the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge which crosses the Arno River. Then, it began to rain and eventually turned into a downpour. Many of us bought ponchos and umbrellas so we could continue exploring the city. We shopped in a little marketplace filled with all sorts of t-shirts, jewelry, jackets, bags, etc. Also, many of us used the opportunity to take some free time to relax and have some €œvino€, bread, and cheese in little cafe and restaurants in the city (we are all of age and able to drink in Italy, don’t worry!)
We then went on a guided tour of the city. We started in at the Cathedral, the Santa Maria de Flore, which is the 4th largest cathedral in the world and dating back to 1200 AD and it took between 60-70 years to build. Inside, the paintings on the ceiling were breathtaking. While some of us continued on the tour, a few of us and Coach Mike took the opportunity to skip the tour and climb to the top of the cathedral to get a closer look, and to also walk around outside. After 430 stairs we finally reached the top, and the view was absolutely breathtaking! It was so much fun and we got a great workout as well! Afterwards, we took naps on the bus and checked into our hotel, the Tuscany Inn. We all showered, and had dinner at the restaurant in the hotel; we had pasta, peas, and pork loins. After dinner, many of us took the opportunity to go around and explore the small city. There were many gelataria, or gelato/ice cream shops and little boutiques and jewelry stores. Later that night, some of us went to an Irish Pub and had a great time socializing and making new friends, but most of us ended up passing out early from our long day.
On the second day we woke up, had breakfast, and made our way to the city of Pisa. Once we parked the bus we had to take a short shuttle to actually get to Pisa. When we entered the walled city we were AMAZED at the Cathedral and the famous leaning tower of Pisa. After snapping a few of many pictures, we were divided into two groups for a guided tour of the Cathedral. While we listened to our tour guide explain the details and history of the church we took pictures of the beautiful paintings, sculptures, and details of the walls. Not only was the inside of the church incredible detailed and beautiful but so was the outside. Next our tour guide took us to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We learned that there were long lapses between building times of the tower. We also learned that the tower was leaning twice because of conditions such as the soil it was built on. The team took goofy and funny pictures of us holding up the tower. When the tour was over, the team had free time to get lunch, shop and walk around the city of Pisa. Everyone had a great time eating great food and walking around looking at the scenery.
After our visit to Pisa, we took the bus make to Montecatini. Several of us took a short walk to the cable car up to the top of Montecatini. This is where the original city was located. The view was spectacular! We all enjoy walking around the little authentic Italian City. Later that night we had a delicious dinner in the hotel. Afterwards the team went out to an Outdoor bar with live music followed by the Irish Pub. The team enjoyed spending time with one another while making new friends on a beautiful night out.
On day three our group woke up and left Montecatini early in the morning bound for Rimini. Most of us slept on the three and a half bus ride, the trip was smooth and the weather looked promising after two days of overcast skies and rain. As we entered Rimini it was clear we were getting closer to the shoreline; soon there seemed to never ending rows of beach chairs and volleyball courts. We stopped at station number 42 and some of us went to find lunch while others went straight to the beach. Unfortunately, the sunshine did not last long but people entertained themselves by going on walks to find shells and a few people even got massages.
After we had enough of the beach we got back on the bus and headed to San Marino. As we moved further and further up the mountain towards our hotel the views became more spectacular. You could hear the excitement from the bus; we were all leaning over each other taking pictures and videos of the picturesque scenery. We arrived at the Grand Hotel, which is located almost at the top of one of San Marinos’ mountains. Above it you can find an old fortress, which a couple people walked to on the first night and said was amazing. Everything here is beautiful and as we continue our stay here, San Marino only reveals more breath taking experiences. We all stayed in on the first night in preparation for our three games the next day; however, no one was too upset because our hotel rooms here are more than accommodating.