Women's Volleyball European Trip - May 15, 2013: That's a Wrap!
As I write this blog, I am completely exhausted by jet lag. This 10-day trek through central Europe was one that I will never forget. Over the last week and half, a bus full of players, coaches, and boosters had the opportunity to dive into the cultures of 5 different cities in 4 different countries. To say that our bodies and sleeping patterns were out of whack would be an understatement.
Early Wednesday morning after a relaxing last evening in the lobby, we all boarded the bus to the Milan airport. This time, unfortunately, all of the bags did not fit under the bus due to the increased size of the suitcases filled with gifts and shopping bags acquired throughout the trip. All of the girls used a weighing device to ensure all bags were under that dreaded 50 pound mark. Once the aisles of the bus were filled with suitcases, we were on our way to the airport.
After a smooth check-in process and a quick flight from Milan to Paris, we were left with a 4-hour layover in Charles de Gaulle airport. Our terminal was filled with high-end shops such as Prada, Fendi, Gucci and many more! The highlight of our time in Paris was when Wayne took a seat at the piano and started playing the Penn State fight song and alma mater! We all sang along right before we boarded the airplane.
Just about 8 hours later we landed in Philadelphia and made it through customs and immigration without any delays or problems. Before the rest of the group climbed onto the bus back to State College, I said my goodbyes to all because I was driving back to New Jersey with my family who met me at the airport.
I will never forget the memories I made on this trip with so many wonderful people. I want to thank all of you in the booster club for your countless hours of hard work over the past few years, which allowed us to enjoy such an incredible experience! I look forward to seeing you all in Rec Hall this fall!
Women's Volleyball European Trip - May 14, 2013: Ciao, Venice!
Hello, people. Today we are leaving Venice and making our way to our last stop in Europe. We woke up early, ate some delicious NUTELLA croissants, and bussed to Milan, Italy. On our way to Milan we saw a part of the Alps mountain range outside our bus window. It was cooooool.
Immediately entering into Milan, we went and ate lunch at the training center. We had it family style, meaning we started the meal with a pasta dish and then they would bring out a salad and the main course. As for the pasta, they added green onions and some bacon. Typically, I do not like onions at all, but our tour guide, TK, insisted I try them, and I ended up really enjoying them in the pasta. The main dish ended up being pork. It was good, but I could have definitely handled going for seconds.
After eating a tasty lunch, we walked over to our hotel and got ready to play the Italian National Team. We suited up and walked to the training center where we would serve and pass. After our serve pass, we would begin the European structured warm up and then compete. In the end of our scrimmage, we ended up splitting the games. They won 2 games and we won the other 2 games. Though, it was exciting to split a game with the Italian national team, it would have been nice to play out a fifth set. However, we would play them again the next day, anyway.
After the scrimmage, we went to our hotel and got ready to explore down town. We were all dressed up in the lobby and then made our way to the tram. We then got onto the tram and made our way to down town. Upon arrival, we immediately gathered around the Duomo. It was absolutely beautiful and we all took some pictures with it. After taking pictures, we dispersed and did whatever we wanted. I went and got dinner with Micha, Paulina, Deja, Chris, and Scott (also known as Jeremy). We went to a nice restaurant where I ordered a sea food antipasta. It was my favorite meal of the trip. It consisted of muscles, squid, shrimp, a nice sauce and bread. Before I dived into my plate, I had Micha take a picture of me eating an octopus tentacle, because it was cool.
After a fine meal with friends, the day was over and we took the #14 tram home and called it a day. #JEAH
Women's Volleyball European Trip - May 12, 2013: Shopping in Milan!
For Milan as a city I experienced great shopping, if you know how to hunt for reasonable prices. I ran into two great shops that weren't high in cost but great quality and did a little splurging! I'm so thankful that I got the opportunity to come here and experience even just the city of a beautiful country.
Now for the volleyball...
After getting a taste of how the Italian National team plays and who we need to focus on, we should have a better handle on what to neutralize. We have to be more focused and crisp with our serve and pass game, but other than that the team is showing great effort. We have had such a eye opening experience playing and talking to pros throughout the trip. We are so blessed to have support like this boosters, parents and a university that backs us! Thank you all so much! CIAO!
Women's Volleyball European Trip - May 11, 2013: Hello from Slovenia!
We had another great day in Maribor. The day started off with a big spread of meats and cheeses and other classic breakfast foods which filled us up for the morning activities. We went straight from breakfast to practice where we had our best practice of the trip thus far. During practice, we had three professional players play with us, which was cool for everyone to get to play beside them but to also ask them questions about the professional world of volleyball in Europe. Following up from practice we took a bus into town as a group with the team and boosters to have lunch and explore Maribor. We went to a great pizzeria which was very yummy. They also had dishes of pasta and lasagna and by the look of some of my teammates plates, it looked delicious. For those of us who got pizza we each got our own personal pizza that was a challenge to finish it all but we all rose to the challenge! After lunch we walked around and of course we found ourselves some gelato.
Later in the day we had our second match against the Croatian National team. We competed very hard and came out with the 3-1 win. They were an extremely good team filled with a ton of experience and different ages. Ariel had a great game for the second day in a row and was one of the key factors to our win. Following the match we went to dinner at one of the best vineyards in Europe. The Croatian team came to dinner with us which was great to get to know them and to hear their insight on professional volleyball as well. We had a fantastic meal at the vineyard which completed our wonderful stay in Maribor. Thank you to all who made this trip possible. It's truly been amazing. Off to Venice!
Hey everyone! I hope you have all been following along our blogs about this amazing experience in Europe thus far! For me, being out the country is a completely different and new experience. Although my time in Europe is winding down, I can't even explain the beauty of Europe. If you have been following along, you may have noticed that we all have different topics to talk about. Well I was lucky enough to get one of the most beautiful and breathtaking tourist attractions in all of the world. Venice, Italy was an amazing city to see and walk around in. As many of you might already know there are gondolas, which are the boats that are famous to travel around the city. As I walked around the city, it was very hard to find your way around. We quickly found out that once you passed a store, there was a slim to none chance you were going to find it again. The girls, boosters, coaches, and managers walked around the city to meet in the main square to see the main attraction, the Basilica de San Marco. It was a beautiful church with architecture like I have never seen before. Fortunately for all of us, the weather as very cooperative until about the last twenty or so minutes when it started to rain. It was just an incredible view from evey way you looked. I think I can speak for everyone when I say this has truly been an experience of a lifetime that we will never forget. Everything about it has been breathtaking. I hope to see everyone soon and tell you all about this amazing trip that wouldn't be made possible without all of your generosity and support for the progress! We have made Penn State proud over here in Europe. We wear those letters with pride and always represent who we are.