Europe Trip Day 7 - Monday, May 19
Carolina volleyball spent the day touring Bologna before playing the San Lazzaro VIP team. Although San Lazzaro won the hard-fought match 3-2, the Tar Heels made many new friends and had a great experience with the welcoming and hospitable host team.
BOLOGNA, Italy - We started the day off with a delicious breakfast in our hotel and then headed to the center of the city to meet our tour guide at the beautiful Neptune statue. We followed our guide through the city and listened to the history and stories associated with many different buildings. My favorite was being taken into a little hidden church and seeing the many powerful paintings and statues.
After leaving our guide we took the bus to the other side of the city. Then our journey up 504 steps began. We had some brave Tar Heels that decided to sprint up the steps and wait for the rest of us at the top. After going up what felt like a thousand steps, we turned a corner and to our delight found another "thousand" waiting for us. After climbing the remainder of the steps, we made it to the top. The burning quads and calves were definitely forgotten when we caught a glimpse of what seemed like heaven. Over the edge of one side of the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca we admired the entire city of Bologna. On the other was a view of hills covered in beautiful trees and other foliage.
Once we were done snapping pictures we had lunch at a cute restaurant near the basilica. We then were given a few hours to shop and explore the city before heading to play San Lazzaro VIP. We received a big welcome with many "ciaos" by the team when we arrived. The first set was a little bit of a wake up call for us, but the next four sets we showed up to compete. Once we were done playing, we had enjoyed a dinner with the team. We met a lot of new friends, took some pictures, and exchanged our North Carolina volleyball shirts with their San Lazzaro VIP volleyball shirts. One of the coaches knew the way to our hearts when he brought out the desserts. Our faces lit up as we tasted each of the treats they placed in front of us.
But that wasn't the last surprise of the night. It didn't take us long to notice one of the Italian players walking around with a bag of ice. We immediately jumped up off the ground and tracked down the ice. After placing the ice on our sore body parts, we all had expressions of relief on our faces. Ice has never felt so good.
We thanked the Italians and began waiting for the bus back to our hotel. We were given extra ham sandwiches from the dinner to take with us, and Coach Eve decided to turn the sandwiches into a team bonding experience. Each person had to hold the sandwiches for one minute with the option of attempting to eat an entire sandwich in one minute. On the bus ride back to the hotel, Professor Navalinsky was the only one up for the challenge. He bit into the six-inch sub while we all chanted "BIG NAV! BIG NAV!" Unfortunately, he wasn't able to successfully complete the challenge, and our team bonding was brought to a hilarous end.
We are now on our way back to the hotel and are definitely ready for a good night's rest. But we can't go to sleep with out a little gelato! Despite already having had dessert, this gelato is necessary to celebrate Sheila Doyle's 19th birthday today. :)
As always, today was a great day to be a Tar Heel!