September 17, 2009


To all of our Fast Break Members and Stanford Women's Basketball fans that contributed to our trip to Italy GRAZIE!!! We had a fabulous time and on behalf of our staff and team I want to THANK YOU for making this possible. Having been on several foreign tours I have to say this one was the very best!

Basketball Travelers, along with consulting from Amy Tucker, did an excellent job of planning and organizing our tour. We spent 2-3 days in Rome, Florence, (1/2 day in Pisa), Venice and Como. Our daily routine was to get up early and eat breakfast with our group in the hotel before heading out to sight see. Our group leader (Dave) and our tour guide (Sara) were very organized and efficient. Each place we went we would also get a "local guide" and they were fabulous. (One of the advantages of the local Italian guides was that at each of the tourist sites there were LONG lines and we were able to go right to the front.) Going to the Colliseum, Vatican, Leaning Tower (we walked up!) along with seeing the David sculpture along with art museums, churches, gondola rides, Murano glass, boat rides (Venice - Lake Como) WOW it was so interesting and exciting.

The tours would last a couple hours and then our team was free to walk around on their own. Mel would find the best exchange rate, Michelle took the most pictures (Ros was in the most!) Jayne led the shopping group, Sarah tried to go to the opera, the coaches and parents had a fun wine tasting outing, the list is endless! After full days of touring we would load the bus for our games - oh yes I almost forgot we did play basketball!

Our games were challenging and very physical. This was a great opportunity for our team to play together. I was very pleased with the improvement of our players. Everyone played very well and also learned things that will be helpful for the upcoming season. It had all of our coaches working hard too. I know we will be able to look back at this trip as one of the reasons we have a great season!

A bonus of the trip was seeing Jill in Como! She has embraced the Italian lifestyle! She is excited about her team and season (she is on Brook's team and anxiously awaiting Brook's return to Italy).

All in all it was a wonderful experience. The weather was California sunshine except one torrential downpour when Kate, Amy and I were on our run in Como. The food was delicious, our hotels comfortable (well our Florence hotel was small - the shower was less than the size of a phone booth!) and you couldn't beat the company!

Thank you all again very much. You have helped make extraordinary life long memories for us. We truly appreciate your support!


September 10, 2009

Ciao Bella!

Hello from Italy! I've really been enjoying my time in Italy. It has been a great opportunity. They have a tremendous history, the food is great and so are the people

We had an amazing time in Rome and now we just left Florence for Venice! In Florence we saw the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge), the David sculpture by Michaelangelo, and drove to Pisa to see the leaning tower!

I can't tell you how awe inspiring these monuments, statues and ruins have been. It is a reminder of the potential of human creativity and intellect. I look at all of these works of art and architecture and wonder how it is we can still struggle with making a foul shot!? Ha!

Speaking of basketball, the team is playing well and winning. Last night we had a close one though. We played the Ducato Le Mura Lucca team. We were down 11 and came back to win in the fourth quarter. At this early point of the season that says a lot about our team.

After the game we had delicious pizza with the women on the other team. Despite some minor language barriers we managed to have a great time, laughing and talking with one another!

Also in Florence there are many street vendors. The best prices are in the San Lorenzo market. Needless to say, I've busied myself haggling down prices and practicing my Italian with the locals.

At night I've made sure to have a lot of fun! Mostly I make sure to eat well. But sometimes it's more exciting. One night in Florence, Sarah Boothe and I crashed a private party and rode down the river underneath the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) on a romantic and slow moving gondola with some of the local people. We sang Beyonce at a small Italian karaoke bar that we found while lost in the windy narrow rides of Florence. I have it on video! The Italians loved it, but loved it even more when we tried to sing in Italian.

I've had some fun times so far and we are only halfway through!

Hope the U.S. is treating all of you well! Rest assured that we're representing hard for the Stanford fans and supporters! Big big grazie (thank you) to all of the people who helped to make this amazing experience happen!


September 8, 2009

Arrivederci Roma!

I am currently writing this while on the bus leaving Rome headed to Florence.

Wow what a city Rome is! I used to be obsessed with ancient Roman things, so it was the dream of my 7th grade self finally come true. Seeing the Coliseum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain, not to mention Vatican City (which if you did know is its own "country" with its own stamps and police) was breathtaking.

All anyone on the team could say was, "Can you imagine being here in its prime?" It is really sad how much knowledge was lost during the Medieval times, because what the Romans created back in the day was incredible.

A lot of people on this trip have mentioned to me that since I know Spanish, I should be able to understand Italian - not true! Even talking with some Italians, they have expressed the same sentiment I feel. Yes, some of it is similiar, for instance per favore (Italian) and por favor (Spanish) and I do understand other words, but it is not the same. 

Additionally, people have asked me if I've been to Rome/Italy while I was studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. Answer = no! I purposely did not travel here during my 11 weeks in Europe this spring because I knew we were coming with the team and I wanted to take advantage of other places. I traveled all around Spain (including Valencia to see Candice play), as well as the Spanish island of Mallorca, Lisbon, Portugal, and Istanbul, Turkey to visit Kristen Newlin. Also, I vacationed in the South of France, including Monaco/Montecarlo when classes were finished. I guess you could say I took a little advantage of my weekends off :)

Since this trip to Italy is also about basketball, I will tell you that we won our first game by about 30 points. No one turned the ball over, we made EVERY shot we took, and Tara didn't raise her voice once! :) It feels good to get back on the court, even if just for warmups (no need to rush back in to things, I just got cleared a little bit ago!) It makes me excited for the season, and as Tara's tweets have said, everyone has definitely improved and come back ready to make another run at the Final Four!!



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