Our thoughts on the trip…

“Glamorous.” – Marissa

“Fabulous.” – Kelly

“Enlightening.” – Rhaia

“Fattening.” – Steph C.

“Phenomenal!” – Kelsey

“I’m so broke.” – Brittany

“Memorable.” – Erin F.

“Amazing.” – Amanda

“Best experience of my life.” – Karlee

“Amazing and unforgettable.” – Emily

“I had the best pasta of my life.” – Erin B.

“Eye-opening.” – Alexa K

“We truly walked the streets of Italy… barefoot.” – Shannon K. (her shoes broke…)

“Not all who are in Italy Rome… but we sure did.” – Allison K.

“So much gelato.” – Katie 

“A lot of fun.” – Sam

“Breathtaking!” – Danielle

“Don’t worry, I took notes…” – Allison S.

“Such a great experience! Can’t wait to visit again!” – Steph V.

“LOVE!!!” – Mrs. Verdino

“A trip of a lifetime, so lucky to be a part of this team… still :)” – Coach Meg

“Amazing experience with the best of friends making memories I’ll never forget! Oh yeah, and… SOCCER!!! <3″ – Michelle

“Two out of three ain’t bad. Neither is Italy.” – Coach Bachl

Rome Highlights

We covered so much ground today! Our guided tour of the Colisseum was as informative as it was breathtaking. As one of the seven “world wonders,” the Colisseum has popped up in our textbooks over the years, but seeing it in real life was astounding. To think that so much of it is still in tact, that the Romans had such foresight in their architectural endeavors, is mind-boggling. We have great team pictures that I will hopefully be able to upload in the airport tomorrow. It’s hard to believe that we stood in the same arena that hosted gladiator fights for Roman entertainment. Our tour guide pointed out an exit used to carry corpses away, and I could actually imagine the spars, the crowds, and the blood.

Our next stop was the Roman Forum and a stretch of assorted ruins, including Ceasar’s tomb. Half of the monuments are crumbling, but the other remain erect — a striking mix of past and present. One of the most impressive things about Rome is the way it combines first-world, big-city industry with the best history and art in Europe. We’re so lucky to have had such a cool destination to end our trip.

After a quick lunch, we piled in the bus to depart for the Vatican, where we had free time to Rome (bad pun). It’s a infinite maze with sculptures, paintings, ancient baths, and more. We reconvened for our visit to the Sistine Chapel, another sight that, like the Colisseum, doubles in beauty when seen in real life. After standing in the middle of it, textbooks will never suffice again. The paintings seem to reach out from the walls, and the detail, color, and dome-like effect took our breath away. Michelangelo’s perfection is almost inhuman.

Lastly, we stopped at St. Peter’s Basilica — a beautiful place of worship. Every last inch is busy with art. It’s impossible to see everything in there. On our way out, we walked through the arena in which the Pope delivers his announcements and holds mass. How cool is that?

Roma, our time with you has been short, but certainly unforgettable.

Roma, our time with you has been short, but certainly unforgettable.

Knights Fall to the Romans

A soccer showdown took place in Rome this evening when the exhausted lady knights played a local team. Our opponents were the highly skilled, technical players that we expected to see in Italy, but they had a touch of the American speed and agression that Montecatini and Agliana had lacked. They posessed most of the first half, which is understandable because we had just finished about seven hours of touring. As Coach Wiley said, “you look like a group of young women who have spent the last week walking around Italy.”

Things started out rough. We were down 2-0, but the Stephanie show kept us alive. In the final minutes of the first half, both Clookey and Verdino scored, bringing us to a tie. We possessed much better in the second half, but one lucky break for the other team and we found ourselves down 3-2. We battled relentlessly until the final whistle, enjoying ourselves on our last night. What more could we ask for? (And the ref told us we were beautiful. That counts for something, right?)

Once again, we had wonderful hosts. It was all high fives and laughs post-game with a funny mix of Italian and English. Our opponents wanted to trade jerseys, but we were wearing souvenir shirts! If only we had known!

The sportsmanship over here has been incredibly touching. One day, we might forget things like the historical significance of Il Duomo or the engineering designs behind Venice, but we’ll never forget the hospitality of the three teams we played this week. What separates this trip from a vacation or a study abroad program is the way we bonded over a sport — an art, rather — that transcends language barriers. And we did it with our best friends.

Roma!

We’re finally here in Rome, the pride of Italy! In the few hours we’ve been here, we’ve already seen the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, and the outside of the Colisseum. We took a walking tour around the area of our hotel, stopping at a famous gelato place along the way. They had 150 flavors, even some crazy ones like cannoli, KitKat, mango, passionfruit… Delizioso!

We had a little bit of an adventure on the way back to our hotel; we thought we would be able to successfully navigate ourselves back, but the winding strets and endless squares with seemingly identical monuments disoriented many of us. A few groups found their ways back in taxis that brought them to our meeting spot right on time — a good laugh for all involved!

Once the whole group was herded in, we had our farewell dinner. As delicious as the food was, it was depressing to know that this would be one of our last meals of the trip. We have a bit of free time tonight, but we might not be able to do too much because a soccer team from the area won today and has shut down our entire block for their private celebration. Imagine barricading Main Street, Geneseo after a win?

Tomorrow’s a busy day for us. We have tours of the Colisseum, the Vatican, and the Sistine Chapel, followed by a night game. It’s unreal that the trip is almost over. Don’t be surprised if half of us decide to stay…

I apologize for the lack of pictures. We have a bunch, but this internet just isn’t strong enough. The impatient New Yorker in me is slowly going insane, especially since the ones we have from Pisa and Rome are so pretty (I mean that about both the monuments and the team).

Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY COACH BACHL! BUON COMPLEANO!

Pisa

Yesterday, before our match, we stopped in Lucca for lunch. It was pouring! It continued to rain all the way to Pisa, too, and we worried we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our time or take good pictures there in the weather. But a miracle happened! The only fifteen minutes of the entire day that it wasn’t raining were the fifteen minutes that we spent in Pisa! The sun was shining so bright that the sky and tower both looked fake in the background of our AMAZING pictures. The second we got back on the bus, the rain began again. It seems a bit of luck was on our side. Maybe touching the lucky pig statue at the leather market in Florence did the trick. Pics to come, but right now, the hotel wifi won’t sustain a single upload. They’ll be worth the wait, though.

GWS on Winning Streak after 5-3 Victory

We had a high-scoring game last night against Agliana in the pouring rain! Goals came from Alexa Vojvodic, Steph Clookey (2), Shannon Spusta, and Erin Beach. The intensity picked up when Agliana started to close the gap on a lead we had kept most of the game. Their third and final goal was on a PK after a (very) questionable call. Quote from GK Allie Stamp: “The ref must have known I wanted a penalty kick for my birthday!” Here’s to finishing our tour undefeated!