June 26, 2006
We journeyed to the next stop after finishing our game in Navarro. We hit the road just as a storm started to brew. Lightning filled the dusk sky - something us California girls scarcely witness (kind of exciting!). Stopping at a classy truck stop for the second time in a couple days, we dined on eclectic national food and picked up some snacks for the long bus ride ahead. We arrived at our Rome hotel sometime amid the wee hours of the morn and everyone got in as many hours of shut eye to brave the ancient Roman remains that day.
As we drove along in the bus, we hardly had time to realize how close we were to all the pictures and stories we've heard since elementary school! All of a sudden to our left was the Il Coloseo (The Coloseum)!! We started our expedition among the ancient ruins of gladiator battles. Pictures were taken to reminisce (including a teenage boy's memories who asked to take a photo with us- we obviously consented with enthusiasm) and postcards were bought to send back to loved ones.
We strolled along flashing cameras on the most important road of Roman times - the Via de Fori Imperiali (the road of the Roman Forum). We came to the Piazza del Campidoglio next and onto the Piazza Navona. The Pantheon was a spectacular site to see and an amazing architectural feat! I can't believe it has been virtually untouched for centuries!! We continued along Via del Corso until the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain). This was my favorite tourist site today because of the BEAUtifully carved marble statues and the clear blue water flowing from multiple tiers. A few of us threw coins in for luck in hopes that we would revisit the Fountain once again soon! The Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Plaza/Steps) was our next stop with group photos left and right. Though it was a warm day in the city, we drank the clean, cool water from the street and Spanish Steps fountains, as well as chilling off with some Italian gelato... When in Rome...
We had done so much walking and shopping throughout the day... well, never enough shopping. Shopping was almost a second priority (sorry mom & dad) and the team had quite a bit to undertake in only a couple hours - don't worry, check double check, mission accomplished: all was seen and all was shopped.
We left straight from sightseeing to the gym (which was actually a tent-like structure with openings for air ventilation and the occasional breeze). Our fifth match of the trip was won in three games and a fourth was played for experience using the `ball control' lineup - as Coach Andy called it (I still am confused why yours truly didn't get a chance at the net...?). [Editor's Note: The Bruins played A.S. Fidia and game scores were 26-24, 25-20., 25-19] We ended the match and ate dinner on the court just socializing and enjoying each other's company. We boarded the bus and headed back to our beachfront hotel psyched to see more of Rome in the morning... Vatican - I hope you're ready for UCLA Women's Volley :) Laura