Posted by: wilkesusoccer | August 3, 2013

Our final day

I can’t believe this will be the last blog to post for our Italy tour! Today our team traveled to Milan. When we got to Milan, we had a walking tour of the city. We got to see a castle, and the 3rd largest cathedral in the world. After our tour we had free time to do as we pleased. My group went into the cathedral and secretly took pictures! After the cathedral we went shopping, in the shopping capital of the world! Milan was definitely the most modern of anything we have seen here in Italy; there were skyscrapers and many little kiosks. After we had our free time, we rode our bus back to the hotel where we had some free time, where many of us slept and laid down.

The third largest cathedral in the world.

The third largest cathedral in the world.

Inside the cathedral.

Inside the cathedral.

 

The castle in Milano

The castle in Milano

 

After our resting we headed off to our final game. It was more hot than usual because we played at 5 pm rather than 830 at night when there is shade. It was a close match, I think because the heat drained us out; we tied the game 0-0.  I thought that this team was the most friendly and interested in our team. We all go to trade shirts with each other and took pictures.

The last soccer field we played at.

The last soccer field we played at.

Anna and I trading t-shirts with each other.

Anna and I trading t-shirts with each other.

After the game, we had our farewell dinner at the clubhouse at the field. We all got our own pizza, and most of us finished it! Once we were done dinner we headed back to the hotel and showered. Tomorrow we will have to meet at 5 am in the lobby, which is super early. Our flight leaves here at 930am Italy time, and we are supposed to arrive at 1230pm US time; It’s going to be a long day for all of us, especially adjusting to the sleeping schedule.

Overall Italy has been one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I strongly encourage everyone to experience Italy, because no picture or words can fully describe the images and memories I will forever keep. I would like to thank coach for organizing this trip. It truly was an unforgettable experience; how many people can say they played soccer in Italy?! And I want to thank all of the chaperones who came along, it would not have been as awesome as a trip without all of them!! Thanks to all of the parents and fundraisers who helped, words really can’t express how appreciative myself and the team are. We are now cultured individuals, as we have learned so much about the country of Italy, as well as how spoiled we are as Americans. We have strengthened our bonds as teammates, as we will always remember the memories we shared here together. Lastly, we have grown as  team, as we prepare for the upcoming season, we have only prepared ourselves more than we could expect. WE LOVE YOU ITALY! Ciao! Arrivederci! It’s been an experience of a lifetime :)

 

-Kirsten

Posted by: wilkesusoccer | August 2, 2013

Switzerland & Last Day in Como!

Today we went to Switzerland! It was only about an hour bus ride from our hotel.  Our first stop was Lake Lugaro, and it was incredible.  We took some pictures in front of the lake, and then had an hour and 30 minutes to walk around the shops.  On our way back to Como we stopped at the FoxTown Outlet mall where we spent another hour and a half.  A lot of the stores there were very high end, so most of us did not buy anything, some of us did however buy some macaroons or a muffin to hold us over until dinner.  Even though Switzerland’s currency is franks, we were still able to use euros, which was helpful.

Lake in Switzerland

Lake in Switzerland

We then had 2 hours in Como to continue to shop and sight see.  All of us got gelato again of course.  Our tour guide also showed us some great spots to take pictures that we hadn’t been able to get to yesterday.  Como was great, much less of a tourist spot overall compared to Rome and Florence, which made it more peaceful.  The streets were paved with stones, and the buildings were all so cute.  This would be a very nice town to live in because it overseas the lake with beautiful scenery in every direction.

Side street in Como

Side street in Como

We had our last dinner at the hotel tonight, yesterday we were informed that the owner of the hotel is also the head chef, and makes just about everything from scratch except the cheese.  Tonight we relaxed, all of us are very tired from soccer and walking for hours everyday, we needed to save our energy for our last day in Italy tomorrow </3

 

-Katie

Posted by: wilkesusoccer | August 2, 2013

Switzerland & Lake Como

Lake Lugano in Switzerland

Lake Lugano in Switzerland

Today we had a long day in the heat; it was extremely hot. We first took our bus to Switzerland and walked around Lake Lugano, which was beautiful. We also learned that it was a lot more expensive than Italy. They have a different currency, called Francs; Francs are basically a US dollar. We walked by a burger king and a burger was about 15 dollars!! After walking around, most of us got hungry but we didn’t want to spend that much money on food, so we got snacks. Some people got French fries and pretzels, including myself, to hold us over until we returned to Lake Como. Instead of shopping some people also decided to go on the paddle-boats on Lake Lugano.

Ali, Haley, Katie and I in front of Lake Lugano.

Ali, Haley, Katie and I in front of Lake Lugano.

After an hour of spending time in Switzerland, we traveled to Fox Town, which had over 250 outlet stores! The mall was huge – 3 floors – and had many familiar stores that we would have in our mall. Most of us were shopped out (surprisingly!) so we only spent a little time here.

We then took the bus back to Lake Como, and when we got there Giancarlo took us to a beautiful spot on the lake where there was a mansion and gardens. The mansion is unoccupied now, but was huge! We took lots of pictures here in front of the lake.  After looking at the mansion we all walked to the town center and got gelato.

Mansion and gardens on Lake Como.

Mansion and gardens on Lake Como.

The team in front of Lake Como

The team in front of Lake Como

We then had free time to do as we pleased for about 2 hours. Some people decided to shop, while my group decided to go on the cable car, which went up the mountain in Como. It was about a 10-minute walk to the cable car, but we had a little bit of time to wait for the cable car to start moving. Once we got to the top we had a little bit of time to take pictures; we had to get back on the car quickly so we could meet the group to leave for the hotel.

The cable car on the bottom before going up to the top.

The cable car on the bottom before going up to the top.

Myself at the top of the cable car.

Myself at the top of the cable car.

After we left Como, we had dinner at our hotel again, which was salad, green beans, potatoes, chicken, and risotto – more of an American meal! Now most of us are packing up our stuff so we won’t have to tomorrow night, while some are watching “Pitch Perfect” in the lobby. Tomorrow we will get a tour of Milan and spend some time there before our game, which will be earlier than the previous games. We will have to leave our hotel at 5 am on Sunday; I can’t believe we have been here for a whole week!

 

-Kirsten

Posted by: wilkesusoccer | August 1, 2013

Lake Como

Nice group photo at the start of the day

Nice group photo at the start of the day

Today we had the choice of staying in downtown Lake Como, or taking a bus/boat to Belagio.  About half of us, including me stayed in Como.  We had the whole day to ourselves to walk around and shop.  In Como, there was a street market set up for a couple hours, so all of us who stayed made our way there.  This street market was very different to the one in Florence, there was little to no haggling on the prices here.

The square where we were dropped off

The square where we were dropped off

The Street Market

The Street Market

Other than the street market, there were lots of small boutique shops, bookstores, and of course bars and restaurants.  It was very interesting going into the bookstores and seeing the italian version of a lot of popular books from back home.  I noticed that there were a lot less english speaking store owners in this town, which made it a little hard to communicate, but it also helped us learn a little italian.  We left at 4:30 to return for dinner at the hotel at 5:30.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower in Italian

The Perks of Being a Wallflower in Italian

At night we had a game against another local team on the same turf field we practiced on yesterday.  We were warned that this team was going to be very good, and that they were, but we held our ground.  Megan Binder was the first to score with a header off a corner kick, putting us at a 1-0 lead.  Unfortunately they eventually scored and the game ended at 1-1.  We definitely looked a lot better out there today than in our last game, we worked on some very important passing drills yesterday at practice which we used a lot today.

Walking onto the field

Walking onto the field

Tomorrow we are going just over the border to switzerland for a few hours and back to Lake Como for a little bit.  No practice or game in the afternoon.

-Katie :)

Silly Group Photo

Silly Group Photo

Posted by: wilkesusoccer | August 1, 2013

Binder/Roberts Goal vs. Serie A Como

And a great goal it was!

http://youtu.be/cdci__XThy0

Posted by: wilkesusoccer | August 1, 2013

Lake Como & Belagio!

The team in front of Lake Como.

The team in front of Lake Como.

Today we began our sightseeing again in Lake Como. The ride to Como from our hotel was pretty quick compared to our rides before. Once we got to Lake Como, we had the option to go to Belagio or stay in Lake Como. My group decided to take the fast boat to Belagio. We had around an hour in Como before we had to board the boat, so we decided to shop! We found this neat store called “promod” where we all bought a few things. We also taught the cashier what the register was called in English, while she tried to talk to us in Italian.

Haley and I in front of Lake Como with our shopping bags.

Haley and I in front of Lake Como with our shopping bags.

After shopping and walking around Como, we went to board the boat, which was much different than our boat ride the other day. This one was fast, but it felt more like a car ride, since there were not as many waves. Lake Como is beautiful; You are surrounded by mountains and houses in the mountains.

The boat after we got off in Belagio.

The boat after we got off in Belagio.

Ali, Liz, and I right when we got off the boat in Belagio.

Ali, Liz, and I right when we got off the boat in Belagio.

Once we got to Belagio, we were all starving so we looked for a place to eat for lunch. It took us a while before we decided because many of us wanted bruschetta, but for some reason no restaurants in Belagio had it! Some of us ended up getting pizza, while others, including myself, got an Italia panini (tomato, mozzarella, and lettuce). We got “take away,” which is “to go” and brought our lunch by the lake to eat.

The streets in Belagio.

The streets in Belagio.

After we finished we stopped at a gelatoria and got gelato cones. We then got bus tickets and took a bus back to Como. The bus experience was a lot different than home. These bus rides are crazy; they drive super fast around a cliff. Although it was scary, the view of the lake was beautiful, as well as the houses we got to see on the other side of the road. When we got back to Como, we had a little time to walk around the town again. We just roamed the streets and went into a few shops before we had to meet our bus to go back to the hotel.

After getting back to the hotel we had a pre-game dinner of various fruits and cheeses, pasta with red sauce, and salad. We had a little time to rest after dinner and then we headed off to the field for our game against Como 2000. We all were pumped to play under the lights on this amazing field, and we definitely came out a lot stronger than our last game. We scored the first goal, header goal, in the first half off a corner! They came back and scored a goal on us a few minutes before the first half ended off a cross from the field. The game was competitive and I’m sure interesting to watch. We ended with a tie 1-1, but we were very happy with our play. Some people even asked our players if we had anyone on the National team!

The team at the soccer field before our game!

The team at the soccer field before our game!

The team again before the game.

The team again before the game.

We rode back to our hotel, showered, and now hanging out in our rooms. Tomorrow we get to go to Switzerland to go to an outlet mall with over 250 stores! After we shop, we will head back to Como for some gelato and more sightseeing. It’s crazy to think we only have a few days left here; we don’t want to leave!

-Kirsten

Posted by: wilkesusoccer | July 31, 2013

Travel Day & Soccer

Today we did not get to tour a new city, we spent our morning traveling to our next hotel near Como, and in the afternoon we practiced on a great turf field.

The field

The field

Our 4 hour bus ride was long, but most of us slept or entertained ourselves.  After 2 hours we stopped at a rest station where we ate lunch.  This rest stop was a but different than one we would stop at back home, there was actually a full cafeteria style restaurant on the upstairs floor where we all ate.  The food was fresh, you could get multiple types of pastas, meat, they also had different fresh salad choices as well.

Right before we got to the hotel, we made a 2nd stop at a supermarket.  We had 45 minutes to grab water and various snacks.
We then arrived at the hotel Leonardo DaVinci, this is by far the nicest hotel we have stayed at.

We then traveled to a really nice turf field only about 10 minutes away, which had a beautiful view of the mountains in the background.  It was interesting to see that this field also had a clubhouse with a bar as a part of the complex, the field we played at yesterday also had one.

Walking off the field after practice (not into the bar)

Walking off the field after practice (not into the bar)

We returned for the hotel for a very nice dinner, this is the first dinner where we’ve had meat, pasta, and vegetables served all at once.  At the other hotel they were served separately. But over all it was a relaxing day, we all needed that.  Later we got some gellato and called it a night :)

-Katie

Gellato

Gellato

Posted by: wilkesusoccer | July 31, 2013

Pictures from yesterday!

Ali, Haley, Katie and I drinking espresso before the day began.

Ali, Haley, Katie and I drinking espresso before the day began.

Beautiful Cinque Terre

Beautiful Cinque Terre

One of the villages we passed on the boat tour.

One of the villages we passed on the boat tour.

The view of Monterosso, as we got off the boat.

The view of Monterosso, as we got off the boat.

 

The streets of Monterosso.

The streets of Monterosso.

A shop in Monterrosso.

A shop in Monterrosso.

 

Trofi pasta in pesto and butter. we had for lunch.

Trofi pasta in pesto and butter. we had for lunch.

The beach on Monterosso.

The beach on Monterosso.

-Kirsten

 

 

Posted by: wilkesusoccer | July 31, 2013

Travel

Today, was nowhere near as busy as the past days have been, and much more relaxed. We got to sleep in today, since our bus didn’t depart until 10. We left Montecatini to go to Como, which was about a total of 4 hours.

For lunch, our bus stopped at a rest stop, which was 2 floors! There was a buffet style lunch on the second floor, and than a grab and go kind of place on the first floor. The first floor also had various snacks to buy. We all got the buffet, which seemed fresher than our typical buffet. After we ate, we were back on the road until we reached Como. Once in Como, Giancarlo took us to a supermarket. We all thought everything seemed so much cheaper than our groceries. You could buy a bottle of wine for 2 euros, which is about 3 to 4 dollars! We all bought snacks, mostly chips, candy, and chocolate, for our rooms.

My meal at the rest stop. (Salad and pasta)

My meal at the rest stop. (Salad and pasta)

After our adventure at the market, we went to check-in our hotel, Leonardo de Vinci. This is by far the nicest hotel we have stayed at, except that there is only one electric outlet per room. The wi-fi seems to be working the best here too.

Our hotel room tonight. (Ashley, Haley, and I)

Our hotel room tonight. (Ashley, Haley, and I)

The bathroom in our hotel room.

The bathroom in our hotel room.

After checking in, we went to a beautiful turf field, where coach held a training session for us. The first part of practice was so hot, we were all dripping in sweat; the second part of practice was mostly in the shade, and it made such a difference. Once we were done practice, we went back to our hotel for dinner. Tonight we had salad, ravioli, potatoes, vegetables, pork, and fruit with ice cream. We are showering now and getting ready for bed. Tomorrow we have our choice to stay in downtown Como or go to Belagio, where we can go swimming! We also have our second game tomorrow, which will be a tough game for us.

Our practice field.

Our practice field.

-Kirsten

Posted by: wilkesusoccer | July 30, 2013

Cinque Terre: Our future homes!

Italy has been filled with so many beautiful sights. We didn’t think it could get any better, but today definitely topped any beauty we have seen. This morning we took a 2 hour ride to Cinque Terre. When we first stopped we had a little free time. It had breathtaking views, and we learned it was a popular vacation spot for Italians to visit. We took many pictures here, and had some espresso to begin the day. Sarah also found her true love, an Italian boy named Miguel, which was all caught on film. Sadly for Sarah our boat tour was about to begin, so she continued to yell “I love you!” to Miguel, as we rode away while everyone stared on the boat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ali, Haley, Coach, Katie, and I in Cinque Terre before the boat tour.

We sat on the top towards the back on the boat and it was a bit more rocky than we thought. We all didn’t have seats so we had to hang on to something on the boat or else we probably would have flown in the water. Our tour was on the Mediterranean Sea, and while on the boat we saw the 5 villages of Cinque Terre. These villages were different than anything I’ve seen and it reminded me of something I would think to see in Greece. There were narrow, tall houses that were in the mountains and right on/next to the cliffs of the mountain. All were overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

We were supposed to stop in the first village, but since there was bad water conditions we could not stop. We stopped at the last village, Monterosso, and had free time to eat and shop. My group went to lunch first were we each split a pizza and trofi with someone else. Our tour guide told us Monterosso is known for trofi, which is pasta handrolled. To me it tasted doughy and different than spaghetti, but very good!

After lunch we went shopping, where most of us bought pesto and the extra virgin olive oil. Monterosso is also known for their olive oil because they have the right conditions to grow the olive leaves. These villages also had beaches, which was mostly private for hotel guests to go on. The sand was soft black/gray and the water was such a clear blue, it was so pretty. Some of the girls decided to buy a swim suit and jump in the water, which they said was perfect temperature.
After our free time we took a 5 minute train ride to Levanto where we met the shuttle bus, and then rode to the stadium for our game. Before we got ready, we went to a small restaurant right next to the stadium to have a pre-game dinner of penne pasta in red sauce, chicken with salad, and chocolate/cookie dessert pies.

After dinner we were all set to play our first game, which didn’t start till 830! When we all saw the girls we would be playing, I’m pretty sure our jaws dropped. They seems really big and strong, and really good. Unfortunately they scored in the beginning of the game of a corner kick, but I think a lot was due to nerves. We began to play well as a team and quickly learned they were more aggressive than we thought. They also had a much different style of play where they would use their body in ways we are not used to in order to shield the ball. This made it somewhat difficult to get adjusted to but we still held good competition. Towards the end of the game they scored again to end the game 0-2 loss for us. Although we lost, we all enjoyed playing and could’ve continued to play more. I think if we played them again we would definitely be a competitive match! After the game we had an hour bus ride back to the hotel, so we are all showering and going to bed now.

Tomorrow will mostly be a travel day for us. When we wake up were are going to have a 4 hour ride to Como. Lake Como supposedly has views unlike anything we have seen before, so we are all excited besides the long traveling part. It’s crazy how beautiful Italy is, it seems to be never ending!

-Kirsten

Sorry, the internet is too slow to upload any pictures tonight:(

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