May 29, 2007
by Jordan McCullers and Brittany Roderick – After playing two matches in Heidelberg, we got our first day free from volleyball to really experience Europe. Munich is well known for hosting the Olympics in 1972, so we spent the morning exploring the Olympic park. The buildings had the coolest architecture, mimicking a canopy, and the view was just spectacular. From there, we got back on the bus and drove to downtown Munich. Bond gave us 5 hours to roam around the downtown area called Marionplatz, so we were all really excited. There were a variety of things to do including shopping, sightseeing and eating, and it seems as though each group chose a different route. Some people ran off to see the historic sights (such as St. Michael’s church), while others decided to empty their parent’s bank accounts at the shops (just a warning to the parents who coughed up their credit card). But all in all, downtown let us experience a different culture than what we are used too. People were out riding their bikes, reading a book, or just eating food from the local bakery socializing with their friends. There aren’t many places in America that have that “laid back” feeling and we really enjoyed it while we were there.
Next on our agenda that night was to go to the English Garden for dinner. As we were walking to the restaurant, we came across a lake with paddle boats for rent. We had some time before dinner so we were eager to hop on in. Boat #1 was Lindsey, Nikki, Jordan, Abby and Ullie. Boat #2 was Stephanie, Allie, Jen, Brittany, and LD. Boat #3 was Ben, Scott, Carla, Erin and Callie. There were a lot of close calls, but luckily no one tipped over. When our time was up, the paddlers were drenched in sweat, while the riders wanted to go for more. Dinner that night was the all you can eat traditional German buffet consisting of sausages, sauerkraut and bread.
We woke up early the next morning for practice. It was good to get in the gym and get some reps because we were going to play the Division 2 team from Salzburg that night. We rushed back to the hotel, took showers and boarded the bus once again to make the trip to Austria. When Bond woke us all up after a 2 hour drive, we looked out the window and saw a sight that most of us had only seen in photographs; a huge castle! Then all of a sudden, Brittany, Steph, Erin and Nikki started singing songs from the Sound of Music. It turned out that this castle was the same one from the movie, and that a lot of the movie was filmed here! When we got off the bus, our team took the long, uphill hike to the castle with the setter from the Salzburg team. Her name was Sandra and she showed us around for the few hours we had before the match. Chrissy DeMichelis also discovered that Motzart was from the Salzburg area. Our pre game meal consisted of pork, sauerkraut and a ball of what tasted like stuffing at a little restaurant at the bottom of the hill. The Salzburg team wasn’t as strong as the German or French national teams, but they definitely gave us a run for our money. It took us a while to get in the groove, but we ended up winning in three. By this time, GT volleyball has made great strides to adjust to the European way of life and hopefully we will learn even more in our week and half left.