By Dylan Sortillo
Augustana men’s basketball
Today was our last day in Spain. It was such a good time that it was certainly hard to leave but a little easier knowing that we get to spend the next five days in Italy.
Leaving Spain was kind of an eye-opening moment in realizing how surreal this whole trip is. As we prepared to board the bus to head to the airport, we reflected about how lucky we all are to be in this position. We are getting to explore some of the most amazing parts of the world with our best friends and get to play the game we love while we do it.
It’s crazy to think about the places basketball has taken us and this trip, specifically, has made us realize how blessed we really are. And of course none of this would have even been possible without the extraordinary support of our parents, other family members, coaches, and Augustana College.
Not only was Spain a blast but we also learned a ton of new information about the history and the culture by experiencing it first-hand. The one thing that became extremely evident was that absolutely none of us actually knew how to do the salsa. Although some tried like senior Michael Hoekstra, it did not go over so well. Besides our less superior dance moves, it was special to interact with the local people and see their everyday life and what it would be like to live in Spain.
Now, Spain was incredible but I think it’s important to mention we did nearly get left there.
As we sat at our gate 20 minutes before our flight was to leave, nobody seemed to realize that the plane wasn’t there and we were the only ones at the gate. Mrs. Giovanine made the biggest play of the trip thus far; bigger than any basket or shot, by doing some research and realizing our gate had been switched. We rushed to the appropriate gate and made it just in time.
When we got to Naples we got onto a bus and headed towards Sorento, Italy. After a scenic drive we approached the town that sits right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea with enormous mountains on all sides. The layout of the city with houses of all colors scattered in all directions and hotels and shops directly lining the coast overlooking the endless crystal blue water. As we stopped and took in the view my fellow junior and 100% Italian friend Joseph Ranallo and I agreed it was probably going to be one of the most beautiful sites we’ll ever see in our entire lives.
Yesterday I talked about the winding roads of the Monterresot but today we will have to multiply that times 10. I actually personally shook the bus drivers hand for being able to maneuver through the mountain and beautiful villages that looked straight out of the movies. Finally it got to the point where it was too tight for the bus to fit, so we had to get out with our luggage and walk single file the rest of the way to our hotel, Hotel Spicy.
Once we settled in we got back in our single file line and headed to the city to explore the shops and city center. One of the biggest hits was a world famous Gelato shop that nearly everyone explored before dinner. For dinner at Hotel Spicy we got our first taste of the wonderful Italian food. For starters we had bruschetta, followed by pasta with gnocchi and mozzarella. At this point many of us thought we were done and began to head to our rooms. Little did we know we still had grilled Italian sausage and potatoes to eat and even chocolate powdered cake to finish it off for dessert.
Tomorrow we look to explore more of the beautiful sites of Italy as we visit the Amalfi Coast.
This amazing journey continues.