European Vacation: The Road To Maribor

June 3

Chelsea Wilson

Today has been one of our most eventful days of the entire tour. We had the opportunity to experience so many fun things that will stay ingrained in our minds and one of the most memorable experiences in Europe. We started the day early, waking up at 7:00am to be packed and ready for our last match of the tournament in Hungary against Sweden.

We played extremely well and won in four games. It was such a great way to end the tournament and clinch 2nd place. Hungary ended up winning the tournament for the first time in six years and I'm sure that their country and their fans were very proud of them.

Before we left for Slovenia, we had to return to the gym one last time for the closing ceremonies (they were being broadcasted on national television!) It was a great experience being there, lined up with my teammates, as we accepted the 2nd place trophy. They also gave Asia (Kaczor) her award for being on the all-tournament team. She definitely deserves this because she has such a great tournament.

By now it was time to pack up the bus and head to Slovenia. The drive was short and the scenery was again very beautiful. It's hard to explain that 2 ½ hours can really go by fast when you are just staring out the window....but it does!

We weren't really sure what to expect in Slovenia, but to our great surprise it will probably be the country we remember most and take away some of the best memories from.

Our hotel was at the base of an alpine ski resort, actually at the race finish line....and not just any race. It was at the finish line of a World Cup giant slalom run. The racers would literally finish their race underneath our hotel balcony! Today though there are just many people enjoying the alpine slide that operates in the summer months. We happen to check in on a day where it seems the entire country was in town for a 'Sports Weekend' where people come to enjoy the outdoors and get exposure to all the outdoor activities this beautiful country has to offer.

We were given many options on the activities we could do. There was a gondola lift that took passengers from the bottom of the mountain to the top where we could overlook the city of Maribor. Really, it felt like we could see the entire country from this vantage point. The moment up on that mountain was amazing and instantly made us pull out our cameras.

For dinner that evening we all met up at the top of the mountain at a charming outdoor restaurant with a memorizing view below. I think this moment is where the best memories of our entire tour got started. The food was hand prepared (grilled and baked) by the cook of the restaurant. It was delicious....and the company was even better. We were able to sample ALL kinds of traditional foods and 'juices'. The sweet blueberry juice lead to one our favorite moments as a group, and many other moments put 'Smiles' on our faces. The lights of the city of Maribor, the food, and the entire travel party dancing to the traditional Slovenian music blaring on the outdoor patio made our time in Slovenia a time that hopefully none of us will ever forget.

Our next adventure will be in Italy tomorrow where I know we can keep the fun going and I'm sure we will love it just as much!!!