Beavers Wrap Up European Tour

Aug. 31, 2004

Coach Nancy Somera checks in one last time with a recap of OSU's European tour, which concluded August 24. What a trip! We arrived back in the USA on Tuesday, August 24th blurry eyed and travel weary, but full of stories for those waiting for us. After Brno, internet access became limited so I wasn't able to send updates on our last week of our journey. There is plenty to share though, so read on.After Brno, Czech Republic, we traveled to Vienna, Austria. Once there, we had our first experience traveling on a European Metro system. Very efficient and convenient, it allowed us to get about the city easily. We took the Metro to St. Stephens Place (American translation of German words), which is a beautiful cathedral in the center of town. It was easy to find your way back to the Metro because wherever you were, the church steeples loomed above. The next day we were off from volleyball, so we went to an amusement park in the city. There were a few thrill-seeker rides for the adventurous lot, and others (like myself) enjoyed viewing the thrills from the ground.From Vienna, we shifted gears from city life to an alpine lodge in Maribor, Slovenia. It provided beautiful country and wonderful accommodations at the base of a ski mountain. We played a match against KBM Maribor, the second place team in the first Slovenian Division. We won two of the five games.The following day we hiked up the mountain outside our hotel and were greeted at the top by a local restaurant owner, whose business is at the top of the hill. The view was unbelievable, and the food was plentiful and delicious. But the best part was the hospitality that the owner and his family provided. Maribor is a place where I could go again!That evening we played our second match in Slovenia, against Mector Ljubljana. This was the best team in Slovenia, and although I thought we played much better than the day before, we lost 0-3.The next day we practiced and had the afternoon off, and then went to dinner at a local family-run winery. Again, the hospitality was genuine and we were taken below to the wine cellar where we learned about how they made their wines. Their sparkling wine was named Martina, after their daughter.Day 13...We said goodbye to Maribor and prepared for our last destination, Budapest, Hungary. After a practice, we loaded the bus and settled in for an expected 5-6 hour bus drive. Well, we hit some snags along the way. Traffic (can you believe it!) turned our drive into a nine-hour journey, but we all devised ways to entertain ourselves and it provided a great way for everyone to get to know each other better.We played two matches the next day, the final day of our trip before departing on the 24th. Both matches provided us with a final taste of high-level European volleyball, and we saw a lot of improvements in our play from the first matches we played. We finished that day eating dinner at a place where platters of food were delivered to our table. Our final feast before departing home.All in all, it was a wonderful experience. Cory, Jirka, Tim and everyone associated with Bring It USA Promotions were excellent. Their planning helped us meet all our expectations: great competition, experiencing the Eastern European culture and having a great time together as a team. Thanks for everything.

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