Senior Basketball Players Blog on their Italy Trip

Florence

A Half Day in Florence

The adventure at the Duomo.

The adventure at the Duomo.

After a long day in Pisa and the beach we got a goodnight of sleep and had one last morning and early afternoon to explore Florence. Some of the guys took the time to go check out the Duomo on the inside. It was large and detailed on the outside and that was the same on the inside. The dome part of the cathedral on the inside had beautiful paintings telling stories of the Bible. The paintings were very cool to see in person.

Then the guys paid to go up in the Duomo (dome), which is what made the day. It would be 400 some stairs to get to the very top through tight spaces where a 6’8″ basketball players shouldn’t be. Luckily none of the guys were claustrophobic. Once we got to the top the guys were just happy to be able to stand up straight and catch their breath. The view from the top was beyond beautiful! You could see all of Florence. That was just the beginning. The adventure back down was just that, an adventure. It took the guys 20 minutes to get down to ground level.

Once we got down we headed to lunch. When we got there the rest of the team started laughing because they were so sweaty from climbing the stairs. One of the guys in particular was Leonard who had more sweat on his shirt than there were water in cups in the entire restaurant.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel to depart for Lukka. None of the guys had ever heard of this city until coach said we were going there. No one knew what to expect to expect since we would only be there for a few hours.

When we got to Lukka there was a free wifi spot right where we arrived. Phones came out instantly. The part of Lukka was pretty small so we really only saw one Cathedral and walked down the shopping street to an amphitheater where we were meeting Coach May for dinner.

While we were waiting for our food the guys got into a pretty serious game of “would you rather.” Carter was as usual coming up with some hard to choose scenarios for the rest of the team. others were chipping in too. Carter forgot about his food at the table he was in such deep thought about the game. It was a great time with the guys over dinner. After dinner we were off to Siena for two days. Check out our next blog coming soon! Ciao for now!


Beach Day and Leaning Tower of Pisa

The team next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The team next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa

We woke up early for an hour bus ride to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the surrounding area. We got there, saw the tower and just about the entire team bought fake Ray-Bans to take back home. It became a game to see who could barter the vendors lower. The lowest we got was 4 euros and the highest was 16 euros.

We arrived to the beach which was in a very nice part of Italy (Coach never told us what beach it was so blame him) and couldn’t wait to get out in the water and just relax. However, we did know it was the Mediterranean Sea and that we couldn’t go out too deep seeing as how it was Shark Week back home. Everyone had sharks on their mind. For all of us it was our first time being in the Sea.

It was quite the view from the beach. There were mountains in the backdrop. We’ve never seen such a beautiful view. But then again we have never seen so many dudes in Speedos either. It was much different than the beaches back home.

Once we had a few hours in the water and on the fire hot sand we had lunch. We were all starving. But lunch was not what we were expecting at all. It started out with the normal Bruschetta and then tuna noodles, which were good. But the weirdest thing was when they brought out melon and ham-Yes! melon and ham. It was the weirdest combination we’ve ever seen. Once we saw that some of the guys ordered spaghetti which was something we were more used to.

After a very interesting dinner we went back out to the beach for an hour or so and then got on the bus. We were sunburnt and exhausted. Everyone passed out on the bus ride back to Florence.

We were on our own for dinner. Most of the team wanted to sit outside and have dinner at one of the diners on the streets of Florence. So we did. After that dinner we were glad that we only had to pay for a few dinners in Italy ourselves because they were expensive!

Just to keep you informed, the luggage from the last blog arrived late on Wednesday night. So Chris, Zach and Mrs. Turner were all in luck. They finally had clean cl0thes and the rest of their belongings. Be on the look out for our next blog coming in a few minutes. Ciao for now!


Touring Florence

 

Some of the guys on the Pointe Vecchio.

Some of the guys on the Pointe Vecchio.

After a great first night in Florence we were set for a 3 hour tour the next morning. Waking up at 10:30, even though our bodies really thought it was 4:30am with the time change, wasn’t too bad. We met up with the tour guide and she began to take us around Florence.

First we explored one of many Piazzas in Florence. A piazza is a house that was owned by one of the major families in Italy and the bottom floor was basically welcome for people to come and visit. It was beautiful to see how people back in the Reinassaince lived.

Next we checked out Ponte Vecchio which is a bridge with all kinds of vendors on it, mostly jewelry. When we walked over what was the bridge none of us had any idea it was a bridge until the tour guide told us it was because it looked just like the street with small shops on either side.

Plaza Della Signorio was our next stop. This is where a copy of Michael Angelo’s “David” statue stands as well as many other notable original statues. However, “David” was moved from Plaza Della Signorio to a building near by in order to keep it from getting weathered and ruined. It was amazing to see it in person.

We also visited the Duomo. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get inside due to a national holiday. The outside of it was enough for us to want to go inside, so we will most likely explore the inside on Friday before we depart for Siena. It was so large and detailed from the outside even for us in the 21st century that we couldn’t even imagine what people walking by it hundreds of years ago would have thought.

After the tour we were all starving so we split up and headed out to look for some pizza. Even though we split up we all ended up at the same pizzeria not too far from the Duomo. 8 Euros for a pizza and drink…deal! However, we forgot to ask for toppings so we only had cheese pizza. After stuffing our faces with pizza most of us headed back to the hotel to take a nap. It had been a long day! After naps some of us checked out the market place. There was just about any type of leather product you could imagine: purses, belts, wallets and many others.

Once again we were to meet up for dinner and it was fantastic. Another 6 course meal! It was nice to have some delicious Pork as the main course this time and the desert, apple cake was to die for! Keep an eye out for our next blog coming tomorrow! It should be another great day in Italy, we are visiting Pisa. Ciao for now!


Arrival…Finally!

 

15 minutes of wifi never went so fast

15 minutes of wifi never went so fast.

After a 7 hour flight from Detroit Metro Airport to Paris and about 2 or 3 hours of sleep (if that) we were able to sit down for 2 hours, check our phones for 15 minutes of free wifi and finally stretch our legs. Some even chose to sleep on the ground they were so exhausted. After the naps and free internet we boarded the plane once again for an hour flight to Milan where we had a 4 hour bus ride awaiting our arrival. Once we arrived we ran into a few issues. Zac, Chris and Mrs. Turner’s luggage was lost and customer service said it wouldn’t be arriving to our hotel for another two days. That was interesting because we leave Florence for Sienna in three days, which would be cutting it close if anything else went wrong.

Even with the unfortunate loss we finally arrived at our hotel after a 20 hour trip from Albion to Florence. Coach May told us we had 30 minutes to get showered, dressed and back down in the lobby in time to leave for dinner. Naturally the whole team was back down on time and we were off. We ate at what seemed like a tiny restaraunt called Bucco Niccolini. However, the tiny entrance turned into long, almost never-ending rooms of tables. We had a total of six different courses. The way they eat here is so much different compared to back home in the states. They eat a little, stop, eat a little more, stop and then eat some more! Many of the guys were trying true Italian cuisine for the first time which was a great experiece for them. Everything was delicious. It was a great first day in Florence and be on the look out for day 2 of the Albion College Basketball team in Italy coming in a little bit.