May 6, 2012
– Hey fans it’s Bailey Hunter here and I am so exited to be writing day one of the blog! I actually was not supposed to be on this trip, but was injured last season and redshirted and am here for a victory lap!! I am so grateful for the opportunity to come back another season and am looking forward to the future! So, FINALLY the Europe trip has arrived, and boy is everyone excited!!!
It feels like just yesterday Tonya was telling us we would potentially have a Europe trip the summer of 2012, and soon after it was finalized, AND NOW it’s here! Everyone is super anxious and ready to get this show on the road! Piling into a tiny little van and heading towards the ATL airport, nerves and serious excitement really started to set in for everyone.
The plane service we used was called Lufthansa, which was a new airline for everyone but Croatia native, Ivona Kolak. Going home for her was so awesome; words cannot even describe how excited she seemed the whole plane flight. We actually sat in the same row as each other, with two foreigners that played tennis at Georgia College. It was fun exchanging stories and socializing with them until about hour five…. then it got weird.
After many weird comments and odd stories, their sleeping pills finally kicked in. The girl asked if she could borrow my sleeping mask, I felt weird so I said yes, and the boy thought my shoulder looked like a great pillow to sleep on for the next two hours. After twitching, drooling, and being just plain odd I finally had enough and woke him up. I just couldn’t take it anymore!!! Thankfully we only had about and hour and half left until we landed in Germany, but I was totally over him sleeping on me!
The flight was super easy, minimal turbulence and a few good movies later we were in Frankfurt, Germany. This was by far the hardest part of the trip; we had a 6-hour layover. No one really knew what to do at first so we had some breakfast, and then slowly everyone started to dwindle into a deep slumber in the most comfortable airport chairs ever (just kidding, but we were so tired they sure felt great!) A few hours later we all woke up and had lunch at a great café, then went right back to sleep up until boarding! The flight from Germany to Croatia was pretty easy and many people slept again.
Once we landed in the beautiful country of Croatia, everyone was in awe, the mountains and the sea were equally beautiful, and then quaint houses in-between were perfect. The setting is indescribably beautiful.
To say Ivona was so excited is an understatement … she was jumping for joy. After going through customs we saw Ivona’s family and friends and she rushed out to greet them, the hugs were long overdue and so precious, the whole team was crying. Her family was so sweet and loving, and so excited to see their little girl!
After we all gathered our belongings we met our tour guides, Reece and Ki-Ki. Reece played at Missouri State a few years back (about 10, she was old but still had her skills! Very impressive) and Ki-Ki was from Slovenia. They took us to our awesome hotel called Hotel San Antonio. Quinn [Evans] was so excited because she is from San Antonio and loved the hotel only for the name.
Our hotel is so pretty and right on the water, we are really lucky and couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the trip. After checking in we went straight to practice to get used to the time zone difference and work off a little jet lag.
Practice was great, which we were totally not expecting, but really excited about. After that we went to a little restaurant and had dinner, and later found out it is where the players eat during the season, which was pretty cool. At this point everyone was getting pretty tired and looking forward to hitting the sheets. It had really been a long few days of traveling, and our bodies we exhausted.
That basically sums up day one, but I quickly wanted to leave you guys with a list of things I have learned so far.
1. Twin beds in Europe are basically half American twin beds.
2. Hot water is limited, use it wisely.
3. Cheese and bread are your best friends in Europe.
4. We look totally American and stick out like a sore thumb…everywhere.
5. European electrical outlets are truly scary.
6. Gelato is the best.
7. Always travel with a sleeping mask…and possibly earplugs.
8. Life is way less intense in Europe, potentially better (but a bit scary).
9. The boob tube spits out no English, so watching TV is mindless and pointless.
10. Buy a fanny pack, I did and it sure helps (although everyone makes fun of me).