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    Keep Up with the 'Cats in Europe - Day Four

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Katie Dutchman (left) and Maggie Burnham stop for a photo on the boardwalk in Venice.
    Katie Dutchman (left) and Maggie Burnham stop for a photo on the boardwalk in Venice.

    June 19, 2013

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    VENICE, Italy -- Northwestern Volleyball split its time Tuesday between a pair of European nations. After knocking off the Slovenian Youth National Team in Maribor, Slovenia in the morning, the Wildcats trekked to Venice, Italy for an evening of shopping, dining and sightseeing.

    For a full recap of the sweep against the Slovenian Youth National Team, click here.

    The fourth blog entry of the European Tour comes from redshirt sophomore Maggie Burnham:


    Today was one of the most eventful days we have had in Europe so far. Everyone was super excited to wake up bright and early this morning! We started off the day with breakfast and a match against the Slovenian Youth National Team at 9 a.m. Our team played very well and we swept our opponent in four straight sets, including two nail-biter sets in the beginning. After the match the Slovenian girls were ecstatic to receive our jerseys and t-shirts, even though they were drenched in sweat...gross! The girls love trading and we have gotten some really awesome shirts, including a cool Croatian jersey we plan to hang in our locker room.

    After the match and showers, we headed back down to the restaurant at the Dras Center and were served a hot lunch and continued to sweat due to the lack of air conditioning (which seemed to be common everywhere we went in Slovenia unfortunately...haha). Naturally we all got a couple scoops of gelato for dessert after lunch and got right on the bus to head to Venice. The ride to Venice was a bit extended because the highway was closed but that was fine because we were able to see some of the beautiful countryside. My van-mates also had to put up with some of my antics in the car such as karate-chopping Yewande's seatbelt and catching them off-guard taking pictures of them.

    We finally made it to the hotel in Venice and got all checked into our big rooms. The team was split into a room of five and a room of four. Neither of the rooms seemed to be able to figure out the air conditioning systems until later at night though. Right after we settled in a bit, we set out on foot to the bus stop to catch the next ride into Venice. After a hot bus ride, we arrived in the city. We were given 20 Euros, a time, and a place to meet and then set on our way. We split up into two groups and initiated the search for pizza! Obviously it was not hard to find many pizza places in Italy, so both groups were able to get some fantastic food. We then checked out the street vendors, and some of us were unable to contain our shopping addictions. Yewande, Katie, and I all bought beautifully decorated masks made in Italy that were representative of the big masquerade ball they held every year. As we checked our watches we realized it was getting close to the time we had to meet with the rest of the group so we took off in a full sprint towards the San Marco Plaza, randomly coming to complete stops in the middle of the road to take pictures. Don't worry, we made it there with ten minutes to spare and were a bit sweaty and out of breath after our run through the city. We took many more pictures and set back out to tour the city before meeting back at the train station. The walk back to the train station was a bit frantic through back alley streets without signs, but we were able to make it with time to spare, so again filed our spare time by eating more gelato.

    We walked back to bus #5 and piled onto the most crowded bus I have ever seen in my life! I feared for my life as I bus-surfed back to the hotel because I couldn't reach any of the handrails for balance. My teammates did a good job of holding me up (even though Dutch bailed to pet some dogs...on the bus) and we made it back to the hotel exhausted. After numerous phone calls down to the front desk, we were able to figure out how to turn the air conditioning on and shower and head to bed. At about 1 a.m. we realized Hannah was not made for twin beds when she fell out of bed and cried laughing with Monica for a long time. Other than that, the night was uneventful and finally we woke up cold!

    Our trip has been amazing so far and we can't wait for our match against Italy tomorrow, as well as touring in Milan and Rome! Hope all is well in America and families we promise to contact you tomorrow when we have Wi-Fi again!




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