Day 8: Milan, Italy
March 28, 2008
MILAN, ITALY - Today was an excellent day in Milan, one of the fashion and financial capitals of Italy and the world. It began with our usual nutella and croissant breakfast. After enjoying this Italian delicacy for one of the last times we began our journey into the center of Milan where we would spend our morning and afternoon. We took a 20-minute train ride and ended up at the Piazza del Duomo, where the third largest church in the world is located. It is a gothic architectural masterpiece that took our breath away upon first sight. We arrived early so the plaza was still empty for the most part which gave us plenty of room to frolic around (and take pictures) before entering the cathedral. The inside was beautiful as you can imagine, but probably the best part was climbing up the stairs to the roof. From the there you could see over the city of Milan and also some of the mountains surrounding the city. Touring the Duomo was a perfect start to our last day in Italy!
From here everyone split into different groups. Some decided to stimulate the Italian economy while others chose to take a tour of a castle and see more sights. As we wandered among the designer stores surround the Piazza del Duomo we were reminded the real reason why we came to GW, to marry rich! (Just kidding, we all came to get a good education and win an A-10 championship of course.) We also took a lot of food stops as shopping breaks. I made a personal goal to eat fives scoops of gelato and came up short at four, two percent better next time! We were on our own getting back to the hotel. Katie Z. and Steph got a nice extra tour of the city as they rode around on the train going the opposite direction of our hotel. Luckily they made it back just in time to go to the volleyball match.
In the evening we drove about half an hour to see two of the best volleyball teams in the world play, Navara and Bergamo. It was a highly competitive five-game match. The teams included players from Italy, other European countries, and the United States, including some of the players on our national team. It was a really great experience for us to watch volleyball played at such a high level.
When we got back to the hotel we were in a hurry to get to dinner so 10 of us piled in the elevator not noticing the six-person limit sign. Unfortunately, we only made it up two-and-a-half floors before getting stuck. We tried speaking to the emergency operator in Italian and English without much luck in either language but luckily two workers at the hotel pried the doors open and rescued us after a short time and we were able to climb out to safety! We ended our last night in Italy with a great dinner of pastas and salad. We ate, ate some more, ordered some more, and then ate some more. I think we were all in pasta heaven.
It is sad to realize we will be leaving tomorrow but we are so grateful for the experience we have had this past week. Not only have we been able to watch and play a high level of volleyball, we have had time to see amazing sites and, most importantly, come together as a team.