May 26, 2010
Day 1 Photo Gallery
The Bison men's basketball team has arrived in Rome for the start of its 10-day tour of Italy. The team is playing four games here, beginning tomorrow night against Virtus Aprilia Basket. While those four games represent the basketball portion of the trip, most of the Bucknell players got in an unexpected workout this morning in the form of a long wind sprint through the Frankfurt airport.
Our flight out of Philadelphia was slightly delayed, and then overcast skies kept our plane in a holding pattern for a few extra minutes outside of Frankfurt, Germany, where we were to catch a connecting flight to Rome. The small delay was compounded by the major construction going on at the Frankfurt airport and long lines at passport control. Thus, the Bison traveling party was left scrambling to get the gate on time, and several of the players broke a sweat running to the next flight.
Any redeye flight to Europe is going to be tough, especially for a basketball team. Sleep is hard to come by and there is not much leg room for the average-sized travelers, much less the Mike Muscalas and Enoch Andohs of the world. Kudos to the Lufthansa crew for making the flight bearable, and the plane was equipped with TV monitors in every seat, where we were able to catch up on movies like Avatar and The Blind Side.
Finally everyone arrived safely in beautiful Rome (miraculously, all but one suitcase made it ... young Sarah Paulsen is going to be getting an unexpected Italian shopping spree if that bag doesn't show up soon). On the way home from the airport we received a quick bus tour of some of the major sights and stopped for a bite to eat.
Passing through the third-century walls to the ancient city of Rome was jaw-dropping. We passed by the ruins of Circus Maximus, the Arch of Constantine, the Colisseum and Forum, and many spectacular churches and other historic sites.
Tomorrow the group will go to Vatican City where we are all eagerly awaiting the chance to see the Sistine Chapel, and there will be plenty more detailed sightseeing in Rome on Friday.
Everyone in the traveling party is pretty well wiped out from the long trip, but that didn't stop us from enjoying our first nice dinner together at a quaint restaurant around the corner from our Hotel Mediterraneo. Among the entrees brought out were fantastic thin-crust pizzas, lasagna, ravioli, seafood and beef. We figured the food would be one of the highlights of the trip, and day one sure didn't disappoint in that regard.
Check back tomorrow for another update, as we recap the trip to the Vatican and some real basketball action.