Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 9: Coming Home

Today we traveled all day to get back to the United States. Traveling home was bitter, sweet for almost everyone involved. The American Airlines flight had their flight from JFK to Cleveland cancelled, but eventually made it home later that night. The trip to Italy was an experience that I am sure will never be forgotten. The relationships built over the last 9 days will be as valuable as the places we visited. There needs to be a special thanks given to the players, coaches, parents, bus drivers, tour guides and managers, Anthony Travel, Global Football, ONU administration, and the donors who helped make this trip possible. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves and look forward to traveling again in the future. Ciao!

Day 8: Rome (Day 2)

We started off this rip roaring day with a trip to the gates of the Vatican. Vatican City is its own area. The rules and regulations are different than those of Roman jurisdiction, even though the Vatican is located in Rome. The Vatican city has 900 permanent residents, all of which are part of the clergy. The Vatican has its own bank and currency. Up to 15,000 people a day visit the Vatican. We were extremely lucky to have 2 tour guides that were amazing in describing the area which we were visiting. Both guides described in great detail many different paintings and tapestries and the history behind them. We then saw the Sistine Chapel, which had paintings of Michelangelo. This was truly inspiring. We continued our tour seeing St. Peter's Basilica. This is built on St. Peter's tomb. We finished the tour by having some free time in the Vatican City. During this time, I went and saw the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. The day concluded with a final banquet that the team, coaches, parents, and tour managers attended. We had a tremendous 7 course meal, including multiple appetizers, a pasta dish, a chicken dish, and some dessert. It was the perfect way to end the trip. Tomorrow we travel home, leaving the wonderful country of Italy, and the majestic places, sites, people, and food it offers.

~written by Kyle Gilbert, senior linebacker

Day 7: Rome

How many people can say that they went to Rome? My teammates and I can now say that we have. Having a chance of a lifetime in front of us, we did not waste any time in seeing the key spots while in Rome. We were able to see the Coliseum, the ancient Forum, and other beautiful sites and buildings that comprise Roman history and architecture. I personally loved the the Coliseum and the stories that go with it. Being able to look down from the 2nd level of the Coliseum and take the pictures I took will be something I will never forget. I also do not want to forget to mention how much I love the food and desserts that Italy offers. Some of the portions are a little smaller than I am used to, but I am definitely managing. Coming to Rome was icing on the cake for me as to why I chose to come on this trip. The whole trip has been an unbelievable opportunity that will allow me to have a different view/perspective on life forever.

~written by Gabe Washington, recent grad/alum/linebacker

Day 6: Pontremoli

Today was game day and we traveled to the small, quaint town of Pontremoli. This town has only 7000 inhabitants. The meaning behind the town's name is "trembling bridge." We were police escorted into downtown where the locals watched with curiosity. After exiting the bus, we took a long walk to the top of the town. There, we arrived at a castle that was used to house soldiers in the 11th century when Pontremoli was a city-state. Now, the castle is used as a museum, presenting artifacts dating back to 3000 B.C. While at the top of the castle, we were greeted with an amazing view of the countryside. We also were able to get a team picture during our time at the top of the castle. After seeing the entire castle, we got a chance to meet the mayor of the town. He was extremely grateful for us visiting. He presented Coach Paul with a plaque commemorating the game we were playing against the local Italian Team. Once the ceremony was completed, we traveled to the field to finally play the game. We won the game 63-6. Even though we out mathced the Italian Team, they showed a lot of courage and love for the game of American football.

~written by Anthony Brown, junior wide receiver

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 5: Florence

Today we traveled to the city of Florence. It is a town that has 320,000 inhabitants. Florence is known for its leather, Chianti wine, balsamic vinegar, 13th century renaissance, beautiful countryside, statues, and extra virgin olive oil. We learned that the "Extra Virgin" in the olive oil means the 1st squeeze from the olives. Olives can be squeezed up to 4 times to make olive oil, but the best comes from the original squeeze. Balsamic vinegar is another delicacy that makes Florence unique. It takes over 20 years to make authentic Balsemic Vinegar. The authentic balsamic vinegar is very pure and thick. It also comes in a dark green, glass bottle. The Tuscany countryside of Florence is undescribable. It is extremely hilly and filled with vineyards for making wine and olive trees for the olive oil. A lot of the group purchased some form of leather souvenier to remember their time in Florence. We also got to witness Michaelangelo's David, an enormous piece of work, all made from marble. We also learned the meaning behind the colors of the Italian flag: red = charity, white = faith, and green = hope. Tomorrow is exciting as it will be be gameday.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 4: Bologna

Today we left Venice and went on our way to Florence. On the way, we stopped in Bologna. The city was much less populated with tourists. As soon as we arrived, it began raining for the first time. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing because the city is covered in 34 kilometers of arcades, better known as archways. We spent about 2 hours in the city and got to experience a different type of italian culture. Many of the guys got to experience Bologna tortellini. The city is also full of many universities at which mechanical engineering is a popular area of study. The first university of the country was in Bologna around the year of 1088. We actually walked past the California College of Berkley's italian campus. Some of the more expensive cars of the world are also made in Bologna. Ferrari and Lamborghini are both produced near the city. Later today we will arive in Florence where we will spend the next 3 nights.

~written by Kyle Smith, sophomore offensive line

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 3: Venice

Today we travelled to the beautiful city of Venice. Venice is cut off from the Italian mainland and required a short boat ride in order to reach it. Venice is home to 60,000 residents and 15-20 million tourists per year. Venice is known for its glass blowing. We had a private demonstration in which one of Venices' finest performed the craftful art. Much of the team enjoyed riding the gondolas that strolled through the canals of Venice. I preferred to travel the back streets, where we got lost and actually enjoyed the magnificent Venice culture. We also were taught how to distinguish the way Italian generals died in war based upon the number of hooves their horse had on the ground. Three legs on the ground meant they died at home from battle wonds. Four legs on the ground meant they died from natural causes, non-battle related. Two legs on the ground meant they died in battle. Overall, Venice was sweet. It is definitley a place I would see again.

~written by JJ Mihoci, senior defensive back