May 10, 2012
Ciao from Italy! My name is Courtney Felinski and I will be your blogger for the day. I tried to think of a less cheesy way to introduce myself, but I couldn’t, so there you go. What a full day! We started off by stuffing our faces full of chocolate croissants at breakfast, (you have to capitalize on these things while you can), and then we headed out of Slovenia towards Italy.
The drive started off wonderfully, with all of us singing whatever lines we knew from whatever songs we knew from The Sound of Music. It was a beautiful medley and I think our driver really, really enjoyed it. Then everyone in our van was hit with one of those mega-naps that leaves you feeling like a comatose eighty year old when you wake up.
After we realized that we were indeed in Italy, we perked up a bit and got ready to take the country by storm. And by that I mean prepared to eat every bit of gelato within its borders. We stopped in Treiste to sightsee a bit. We saw a great number of garments printed with the U.S. flag, and even had a run-in with a couple of fellow Americans (okay, so we didn’t actually speak to them, but a look passed between us and we just knew. You know the feeling.) We also expressed our patriotism when we saw a man wearing a polo shirt emblazoned with “USA.” During that encounter, Nicki learned the hard way that the Italian people are not yet familiar with our nation’s beloved nickname, “‘Murica.”
We headed to lunch at a restaurant with an incredible view of the ocean, during which I had my first authentic Italian pasta. Along with more bread and olive oil than I would like to admit to eating. We then went up the road to visit a gorgeous castle that was right on the water. The drive was right along the beach, so we got to observe the many Speedo-clad men of Treiste and also discovered that bikini tops are in fact optional in this region. After that realization it was difficult to distinguish between man and woman.
We also saw a heated, traffic stopping confrontation between a man and a woman that we think was about an attempted hit-and-run on the man’s scooter. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but I was rooting for the woman. Mostly because this guy’s Speedo was way too small, and I have a habit of judging people’s character by their swimwear. Don’t ask why.
At the castle we took tons of team pictures, and discovered Ivona [Kolak]’s hidden talent of photography, and Quinn’s not-so-hidden talent of photo bombing. (Hint: If you are taking a picture and someone photobombs, play it cool. There’s nothing more annoying than a photobomb snitch. Don’t ruin the fun. If you are the photobomber, keep it simple. No sense in giving yourself away by trying to pull a maneuver that is way out of your league. Leave that stuff to the pros.)
I have never been much of a photographer, but my camera did some major work today. It blows my mind that there are places in the world that are this beautiful. We frolicked around the courtyards, took more pictures from the balconies, and dipped our toes in the water for a bit, and then we hit the road for Pordenone.
I personally could not wait to get to the hotel. Until this point, we have been one teammate short. My roommate Zoey [Morton] was at home sick the first half of the trip. She got cleared to travel on Tuesday, and I almost peed my pants with excitement when I heard she’d be meeting us in Italy. When we checked in to our hotel, we all made a beeline for the Zoester’s room. She and I had a good, thirty-second, jumping up and down hug, said a few stupid jokes, and then we were off to get in a power nap before our match tonight.
At 7:00 it was game time. We had been told that this team was very good, and were a bit nervous to see how our bodies would respond to a third day in a row of playing. Luckily, we pulled through and played some great Yellow Jacket volleyball, beating the team in three games. We awkwardly shook hands, muttering foreign phrases to each other across the net that we are all supposed to assume mean “good game.”
I love taking the post-game pictures with these teams, because they find it so hilarious that we have people taking the same picture with about eight different cameras. Silly Americans.
From the gym we went to eat dinner, and again we were treated to delicious pasta. And again, I ate my body weight in bread and olive oil. Oops. So that was our day. It was a long one, but it gave me more things to add to the list of amazing experiences I’ve had on this trip so far. Thanks for reading and for all of the support back home.
We’ll be exploring all day tomorrow, so keep reading to find out what we get ourselves into! Ciao and Go Jackets!