Tuesday was the longest day ever. I think we all knew that at the start, but it didn't really hit us until we got off our seven-hour plane ride to Paris, waited for a delayed plane to Italy, in order to land two hours late just so that we could rush to the hotel, get a whole 45 minutes of free time (wow!) and then get back on the bus to travel an additional hour to play our first game. Crazy?.. yes I would say so.
So.. the game. We won 6-0 or 7-0, I think we started to not keep track due to the amount of butt we were kicking and of course the jet lag we were all experiencing. Anyways, we arrived to a beautiful turf field in the mountainside. We then gave t-shirts to all the women on the other team. They seemed excited but they were all laughing and giggling in Italian.. so maybe they were laughing at us. We don't really know.
The game started ... well at least it was suppose to start at 5:00 but after taking, literally, 50 pictures, with the vice major, other team captain, every coach, referee, family and friend of the team we were finally able to start. Thank goodness.
Ok so the whistle blew: we had a physical first half but were able to score one nice goal. In the second half, we scored two goals right away and took a commanding lead. From then on, the team wasn't able to cross the half mark. After the game, we took a few more pictures (of course) and went back to our very unique hotel rooms.
- Amanda Sutter and Christine Farmer
Wednesday morning began a little too early for us all – wake up call at 6:45 am. After a quick Italian breakfast of croissants, juices, and cereal we headed off to Capri. We got a tour of the city on the way to the boat docks and from there took a hydrofoil over to the Island. At the Island, we got on another (smaller) tourist boat that took us on a two-hour boat tour with the major highlight being jumping into the crystal blue water and swimming underneath an arch to the other side. We consider it our first "pool workout" of the season. However, we are thankful that the Ratner pool doesn't contain the amount of salt – or animal faces- that Capri did.
From there we walked to the top of Capri which we all agreed was almost as hard as running the two mile – almost. At the top, we all split up and enjoyed free time at restaurants, shops, the gardens, and most importantly, the gelatorias. When we came back down, some people enjoyed jumping in the water again at the beach while others enjoyed bottled water under some umbrellas with teammates.
At about 5:30 we hit the road again and stopped at a AutoGrill for dinner. We were served the typical salad, pasta, meat, bread ensemble that we've seen thus far on our trip. We our now on our way to Rome for our second game of the tour tomorrow evening.
- Amanda Sutter and Christine Farmer
After an amazing boat tour around the island of Capri, we headed up a steep and winding path to the city of Capri for a day of exploring, shopping, and eating.
Upon reaching the top, we split into about four groups to find restaurants for lunch. Forty five minutes later, we found all four groups seated adjacent to one another in the exact same restaurant.
After some delicious margherita pizza, we set out to find the gardens and the beach. By holding hands and forming a long chain, we were able to travel efficiently. However, we were unsure of the exact location of the gardens or the beach. We found the gardens and spent some time taking pictures with the beautiful view. We still had yet to find the beach, because the one road we found was closed.
We tried to ask some friendly Italians for directions using our extremely limited Italian, and somehow miraculously guessed and translated the directions from a woman. Or so we thought. We of course had to ask several more people.
Finally, Cat approached a man and repeatd "donde maritime?" over and over. The man, with a rather confused look on his face, responded "Excuse me?" in perfect English. To which Cat exclaimed, "You speak English!!!" Pretty hysterical.
To end the day, a group of four of us decided to remain at the top village until the very end, leaving ourselves just enough time for the walk back. Unfortunately, we became rather confused on the way down and lost the path. We suddenly found ourselves walking on the side of a winding road stopping every person we met to ask for the path.
We were supposed to meet the group at 4:00, and at approximately 3:55 we came across a taxi driver who gave us a free lift to the path, which we subsequently jogged down (very carefully) and made it with about 10 seconds to spare.
Overall, our day was spectacular and I think it is safe to say that everyone enjoyed every second!
- Melissa Plesac and Claire Gill
Once again we had a very early start to the day, around 6:45 am to grab a quick breakfast and to get to downtown for a tour of Ancient Rome. We began our tour at the Coliseum. It is enormous. Coach wanted us to re-enact some of the famous gladiator battles, of course she was a "she-gladiator" and won the battle. We learned lots of cool facts including a memorable fact that Paul McCartney is the only musical artist to have performed in the Coliseum, and that the columns outside of the Coliseum are not the original columns but new ones fashioned for a Valentino fashion show.
We walked through Ancient Rome stopping at sites such as the Forum, Julius Caesar's tomb, Mussilini's balcony, and the "Wedding Cake" (tomb of the unknown soldier). After capturing many photos at these historic sites with the team, we walked to the Trevi's Fountain, and continued to take more pictures. Most people threw coins over their left shoulders for good luck.
After that the team broke down into groups and explored Rome for themselves. After a hot and sweaty, tiring tour, pretty much everyone enjoyed a pizza and most importantly gelato.
We headed in the direction of the Pantheon, an amazing building constructed like a circle. Meryl and company stopped at a vendor outside the Pantheon to purchase some "Prada" bags. They bartered and traded until they got what they wanted, spending a mere 15 euros for such high class bags. They then walked around and visited little stores all over Rome.
Callie and friends decided to take a journey to the Spanish steps. They didn't exactly know the location of the steps and quickly made friends with a gelato man who gave them directions. Apparently they were an award-winning shop and had several trophies to show for it and Kate got a picture with the largest trophy and the guy.
We walked and walked and walked in several different directions until we finally arrived at the Spanish steps. Upon our arrival we were swarmed by a man selling flowers and his friend. These strange men told us they loved us in a weak attempt to try to get us to buy their flowers and other random trinkets.
Rome is a large city and we all had a very long trek back to the meeting place, some of us were late, oops. We thought we were done with the exhaustingly long journeys for the day. Little did we know that we were in for an agonizing treat.
We boarded the bus for what we thought was going to be an hour bus ride. It took well over 2.5 hours to get to our game, allowing us to arrive at 5:22 pm for a 5:30 pm game. The bus rides in Italy are not exactly the same as the beautiful cornfields of the Midwest. While looking out the window you can see little villages tucked away in the foothills of the mountains.
Even though we are all exhausted, we cannot help but stay awake to look at the beautiful scenery. One of the highlights of this particular bus trip would be speeding up a winding two-way single car mountain road, with hairpin turns, and no guardrail. Some of us had plans for everyone to move to one side of the bus to prevent us from tumbling down the mountain side.
We thought we had finally found our field, but once again we couldn't figure out how to get there. We decided to keep going on the same road in hopes that it would turn around and lead us to the field. Instead, we discovered a small, quaint mountain village with picturesque houses with laundry hanging out to dry.
As we continued to drive into this small town, we became the highlight of the community's evening. We actually couldn't travel any farther on the roads as this town had probably never seen a bus. We had the all the people in the town square helping us turn around.
After turning around, we somehow made our way to the field. The other team was anxiously waiting for our arrival. We quickly changed (probably the fastest we've ever been) and warmed up and began the game.
Within the first 15 minutes, Christine Farmer worked her magic and put us on the scoreboard. However, this team was more competitive than the first team and retaliated fairly quickly making it a one – one game.
To get our momentum again, Katherine Gasho hit a beautiful corner kick to the back post where Claire Gill was ready to put it in the back of the net. That was the winning goal of that game.
We reluctantly piled back on the bus and drove to a nearby restaurant. We had pasta, thinking it was our main entrée, but little did we know that an hour later we would be receiving chicken and sausage.
Luckily it was Mrs. Meyer's birthday so she got a little gelato with a candle. We all sang her happy birthday and once again got on the bus for a good hour. Upon arriving at the hotel, everyone was exhausted and fell right asleep.
- Meryl Prochaska and Callie Brown