Chicago Softball Tour – Day 8

Monday June 22nd

Today we drove for about 2 hours to the town of Fussen to explore the Neuschwanstein Castle. As we drove up to the castle, we were all struck by its beauty. The castle is positioned on the side of a mountain overlooking a valley. Then we learned that we would all have to walk up this same mountain in order to see the castle. So we walked for 40 minutes in the pouring rain, uphill both ways, barefoot, without coats or umbrellas (OK, some of those are not completely true). However, the trek was totally worth it. The inside of the castle was incredibly beautiful. Too bad King Ludwig II only got to live there for about 100 days before being declared insane and taken away from his residence (The King and his psychiatrist were found dead, facedown in shallow water 2 days later). The castle rooms were never fully completed were very exquisite.

After touring the castle, we walked over to a rickety wooden bridge to take a picture of the team with the castle in the background. Unfortunately, some of the team didn’t trust the bridge and didn’t make it into the picture. After some souvenir shopping, we headed back to Munich. We had dinner at the famous Hofbrauhaus for traditional German food and beverages (for instance, beer is often served by the liter). Some of us called it in early and some of us stayed out a little later, but we all had a great day 8.
-Jenn Simile

Prague Cup Update

Prague Cup games
We are slowly but surely meshing together as a team, and it paid off with our first win against the Czech team. We have a tough grouping against strong Division I athletes and high-level European players and World Cup team alternates; plenty of opportunity for learning and improving however! Goaltending has been great with goalies stepping in on line-defense every now and again for some time on the field. Team MVPS, as selected by the referees, so far, have been: Annie Read, Jess Colucci, Nicole DeAngelis, and Briana Davis.

We have watched several World Cup games, including the 10-9 nail biter USA victory over reigning champs Australia. The hotel overlooks the fields so we are in a great location. We look forward to the playoffs of the Prague Cup, starting tomorrow, and our adventures downtown starting tomorrow with a walking tour of Prague Castle and its neighborhood.
Abi, Kate, and Kara

Chicago Day 5

We drove an hour to Brugge, a beautiful medieval town. It was a day trip from Antwerp. Our tour guides took us all over the city. We had the funny guide (giving his very first tour in English) who told us amazing stories in the most picturesque spots. In St. Paul’s Cathedral, we saw Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, a statue which was originally refused by an archbishop for being too radical. We all met in the main square where the bell tower stands. Coach tricked us into a cardio workout – we climbed all 336 steps to the top, where we were able to see the architectural timeline in the different styles of the buildings of Brugge.

For lunch, Caroline, Alison, lauren and I tried mussels, which were amazing. Everyone also got Belgium’s famous waffles with different delicious toppings. After meeting up with everyone else, we wandered through chocolate shops buying souvenirs. Some were able to sample Brugge’s famous beer, as well as some cherry beer – amazing. Later, we drove back to Antwerp, ending the trip with another great bus dance party thanks to Eric – our unbelievable bus driver.

For dinner, we took public transportation to the main shopping district by Antwerp’s Cathedral. From there we broke off into small groups to eat. My group chose our restaurant based on the cute waiter and the meat meal special. Our desserts were strawberries covered in whipped cream and chocolate. Chad, our guide, took us to his old hang out where we broke out the dance party, drawing in crowds of people. We met a Belgian soccer club, bragging to them that played and beat their national softball team.

Tired from our dancing fiesta, Chicago went home to rest up for the drive to Munich.


University of Chicago Day 7

For this day we think it is appropriate to start with the end. We attempted a dance party on the bus, yet when Poker Face played Coach asserted, That’s not my beer. As crazy as it sounds during our guided tour through Munich our guide promised in Germany everyone says That’s not my beer similar to the colloquialism of That’s not my cup of tea. Apparently, beer is so important and pervasive that the Bavarians lacking water, attempted to put out a fire in an opera house with it. Munich, or Manchen to the locals is quite an impressive city, 80% of it had been destroyed from the war; and since then, the Germans have erected replicas of important historical buildings.

Despite Munich’s metropolitan bustle, including a Starbucks, history is ever present. In Dachau, a prison camp we visited, all were urged to never forget the men who fought for human rights and freedom, as a remembrance of the tragedy man can create.

The lighter side of the day was a trip to the Olympic Village, where history again impressed upon us that man is capable of great feats and great horrors. The place where Mark Spitz’s Olympic swimming records were set (recently broken by Michael Phelps), as well as the place where hostages were taken and athletes were murdered.

Munich has proven to be a city of history and remembrance honoring the past while progressing to the future. We’re sure it will be a city we won’t soon forget.

-Hannah & Julia