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Courtesy: Dartmouth

2013 Men's Hockey Trip to Italy and Switzerland

Courtesy: Dartmouth
Release: 09/09/2013
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Tuesday - Wednesday, August 27-28, 2013

COMO, Lombardy – After nearly straight 24 hours of traveling, members of the Dartmouth men’s hockey finally reached Lake Como and the first stop on their 11-day trip through Italy and Switzerland.

Leaving the Thompson Arena parking lot at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, players, staff and family members made their way to Boston’s Logan Airport for a short 40-minute flight to New York and JFK Airport. A three-hour layover soon turned to an aborted takeoff and a nearly three-hour delay as the plane taxied back to the gate for repairs on a door sensor.

Once in the air, it would be a seven-plus hour flight into Milan, landing at 8:45 a.m. local time (2:45 a.m. in Hanover) on Wednesday. After customs and baggage claim that included 21 hockey bags (three goalies), two bags of sticks and countless personal suitcases, the team would board the bus for the 40-minute drive from Milan to Lake Como.

Eurosportours has been the organization putting together the trip with head coach Bob Gaudet and working with Director of Operations Brian Corcoran on the logistics of a successful trek to Europe. Tour guides Giosi, Sergio, Lollo and Brad welcomed the group at the airport in Milan and provided everyone background information on the bus and upon initial arrival in the city.

After unloading the bus at Hotel Metropole & Suisse on the shores of Lake Como, Giosi gave a guided tour of her hometown, including il Duomo, built in the 14th century, before everyone settled down for a traditional Italian pizza.

The players and staff had a free afternoon to explore Como on their own or take the opportunity to fight off jetlag in their rooms.

Reconvening in the early evening, the group piled into the bus and headed to the opposite side of the lake for dinner. Taking the winding roads that encompass Lake Como, it was clear that only experienced bus drivers can navigate the roadways that not only feature sharp turns and buildings situated just feet from the edge, but also motorcycles and small vehicles that hold little regard for oncoming traffic.

During the meal, every member of the travel party introduced themselves to the group and tour guides. Many members of the party took the opportunity to take photos from the restaurant, which was high above the lake, offering spectacular views of Como and the surrounding villages.

After dinner, there was an information session that explained each of the days ahead, while the players returned to their rooms in preparation for tomorrow’s game in Switzerland.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

LANGENTHAL, Switzerland – In its European debut, the Dartmouth men’s hockey team fell to SC Langenthal, 5-0, Thursday night at KEB Shoren.

Three first-period goals proved too much to overcome for the Big Green in their first of three exhibition games on the tour.

In all, five different members of the home team found the back of the net on this night as Stefan Tschannen led the way with one tally and a pair of assists.

Cab Morris got the start in the Dartmouth goal and turned aside 28 shots in his appearance. At the other end of the ice, SC Langenthal’s Marco Mathis equaled Morris’ save total in posting the shutout.

A tired team from traveling the last 36 hours, the Green were also hampered on Thursday by a late arrival to the arena which cut into the team’s warm-up time.

Sophomore Brett Patterson led the way with five shots on goal between playing both forward and defense. Patterson’s classmate Nick Bligh was a dominant force in the circle, winning 14-of-his-19 draws and helped the Big Green win 58.7% (37-63) of the face-offs as a team on the night.

Dartmouth will be back in action on Saturday, Aug. 31 against Thurgau in Weinfelden, Switzerland.

The oldest wooden bridge in Europe is in the beautiful city of Lucerne, Switzerland.

DAILY BLOG

The first full day in Europe began with breakfast in the hotel across from Lake Como. Players were given a wide time range in which they could eat in order to help them get adjusted to the time change more fully with a bit of extra sleep.

After breakfast, the entire group found themselves once again back on the bus and headed north. Just 15 minutes after the day’s trek began, we found ourselves at the Swiss border. Our guide, Sergio, had been adamant in his statement that everyone must have their passports because Switzerland was not a part of the European Union and they would be checking. The bus was waived through without stopping and we continued on our way.

Traveling through the longest underground tunnel in continental Europe, we went under the majority of the Swiss Alps in a two-lane road. The proximity of cars traveling in the opposite lane of the tunnel was magnified our large bus seemingly came face-to-face with a commercial truck every few minutes.

The team stopped at a rest area on the other side of the tunnel for lunch. Early skepticism about eating a team meal in a rest stop was quickly quelled by the cleanliness and wide selection of local meals. Pasta dishes, local sausages and high-end sandwiches were available for the whole party.

Back on the road, the group moved on to the beautiful city of Lucerne in central Switzerland. Although only given roughly an hour to explore the city and the shops in the area of our drop-off, the consensus regarding the city’s beauty was unanimous. Walking across the oldest wooden bridge in Europe led the team over crystal clear water teeming with swans and ducks. Beautiful old buildings lined the water with the tables of cafes and restaurants in front of storefronts.

The bus returned and the group made its way to Langenthal for the game. The hour bus ride was made a bit longer as no one seemed to know where the arena was located. Passing by once, the security guard on the road didn’t wave the driver in on his first approach, finally doing so after turning around in the nearby village center. No one seemed to mind as the extra five minutes allowed more sightseeing of the spectacular landscape that surrounds the arena.

 

The rest stop not only had great food, but also wonderful views.


Friday, August 30, 2013

COMO, Lombardi – Sometimes the best thing to do after a tough loss is to clear your head. For the Dartmouth men’s hockey team, Friday’s activities did just that.

No buses, no games and, after 11:30 a.m., no set plans. That was when the team stepped off the boat following an hour tour of Lake Como and onto the shores of Bellagio.

The hills around the lake seem to jut out of the banks high into the sky, encompassing the water below and allowing homes and villas to nest on its shoulders. Bellagio was one of those towns and a surprise to many after spending the day there.

Giosi and Sergio of Eurosportours provided information and commentary on the boat as we made our way to this hidden gem on the lake, showing us the homes of famous actors and buildings that served as the backdrops to several well-known movies. However, the day really became memorable upon arrival at our destination.

Bellagio is home to many shops, restaurants, gelaterias and cafes, but for a few members of the staff and parents, the trust in Sergio’s insistence we leave the city for lunch for a place called Trattoria Baita Belvedere was rewarded. A group of 14 people climbed into a van (10) and a small car (4) driven by two men would seemed to come out of nowhere. Sergio made a phone call prior to their arrival and assured the group it was worth it.

Twenty minutes of winding roads that eventually culminated in the car taking a detour up a dirt road lined with cows, dogs and vineyards ended at what appeared to be a nondescript farmhouse located on the side of a hill. Walking out on the deck where the tables were located quickly quelled the notion that this was any ordinary restaurant. Breathtaking views of Bellagio and Lake Como stretched out in front of the group as they sat down, leading to as many pictures as servings of food, of which there were plenty.

After the family-style meal, the group made their way back down those same winding roads to the lake-side club where many of the players had spent their day. There, they went swimming, laid by the lake on a man-made beach lined with chairs for rent.

Others spent their day in the city, hiking the stairs that were lined with silk shops and other specialty stores. Like many of the other places we have seen in the areas around the lake, Bellagio also featured stunning old buildings and churches that were open to anyone walking the streets.

The boat ride back was less about sightseeing and more about returning the team back to Como where they were free to get dinner and explore more of the city on their own. The parents and staff did the same, choosing to eat with Sergio in a local restaurant located in the small courtyard area of the building that housed it, covered only by four connected and suspended umbrellas.

A day that seemed to be a free-for-all when it began with no real plans, turned into a great chance for players to spend time with one another in one of the region’s most beautiful settings.

The team returns to the ice Saturday evening in northern Switzerland to take on Thurgau in Weinfelden, Switzerland.



Bellagio's docks from the area near where most of the team went swimming.

The panoramic view of Lake Como and Bellagio from Trattoria Baita Belvedere.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

WEINFELDEN, Switzerland – Junior Tyler Sikura scored twice and sophomore Nick Bligh added another, but the Dartmouth men’s hockey team fell, 6-3, Saturday night to HC Thurgau at KEB Guttingersreuti in the second exhibition contest of the current European tour.

The first 20 minutes of play were physical with each team called for two penalties apiece. The home team got on the board early on with Kevin Rohner netting the game’s opening tally at 2:59, finishing off a nice passing play in the slot.

Sikura, the team’s newly appointed captain, notched the Big Green’s first goal of the trip as he banged home a loose puck in the slot just 13 seconds into the first power-play opportunity of the night for the visitors.

Like it had against SC Langenthal, Dartmouth put together a solid effort in the second period, seemingly shaking off the rust of another long travel day from Como to northern Switzerland. However, the only marker in the middle frame belonged to HC Thurgau’s Derek Damon near the halfway point.

The start of the third period saw things turn on the Green in the very early stages. Thurgau scored four times in the first five minutes, including two power-play tallies in a span of 19 seconds, capitalizing on the double-minor called on Andy Simpson for two cross checking infractions.

Trailing by five, the Big Green seemed to wake up, picking up their play and making the game competitive again. Sikura finished off a beautiful play with a wrist shot under the bar from the left circle at 12:11, while Bligh netted his first of the trip 3:33 later as he knocked in a rebound.

Sophomore Brad Schierhorn had the primary assists on both third-period goals as he set up Sikura and Bligh with backhanded passes just outside the crease.

Goaltender Charles Grant made 21 saves in the game, battling through screens and the mixed defensive pairings in front of him due to two injuries. His counterpart in Thurgau’s Fabio Haller made 23 saves at the other end of the ice in picking up the win.

Dartmouth will be back in action on Monday when they play Ritten Renon in northeastern Italy.

DAILY BLOG

With the day’s game located five hours north of our hotel, the majority of Saturday was spent on the bus. However, few would complain as the lengthy bus ride went through the heart of the Swiss Alps.

A quick stop near the top of one of the mountains afforded the team the time for photos, but it was back on the bus 15 minutes later as we continued northward.

The major stopping point of the day saw the group break in Zurich, Switzerland. While the team and staff had a pre-game meal, the rest of the group was free to explore the city for a couple of hours.

Eventually, the same opportunity to explore was given to the players as they walked through the shops and marketplaces in the heart of the city.

One of the most unusual sights of the trip thus far came during this period of time as large crowds gathered along the banks of river. People were leaning over railings, sitting on top of concrete walls, lining the roofs of buildings and even climbing trees.

Many players and staff members wondered what could spark the interest of so many people. Could it be a boat race? People swimming? A rowing competition?

As a gun sounded and the crowd roared, we quickly figured out it was none of those things. It was, in fact, a rubber duck race down the river to raise money for cancer research.

What we gathered from a local who spoke broken English was that people buy the ducks, decorate them and then they are dropped into the river. The first to cross the line some distance up is deemed the winner and given a prize. We were also informed that a prize would also be presented to the person whose duck was best and most uniquely decorated.

Our tour guide Sergio told us, “This is what the Swiss do for fun. Rubber ducks in the river.”

Our view during our pit stop in the Alps.

The rubber ducks floating down the river in Zurich.
Jesse Beamish, James Kruger, Charlie Mosey and Nick Bligh (left to right) along the shores of the Limmat River in Zurich.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

CAMOGLI, Liguria - We’ve grown accustomed to our tour guide Giosi telling us a location we are going will be beautiful. Everyday she tells us ‘this place will be one of the most beautiful you will see in all of Italy.’ So far she hasn’t lied.

Sunday may be hard to top, though. Giosi also may have undersold this place.

After a late-night arrival back in Como following Saturday’s game, the group made a quick turnaround for an early-morning departure for Rapallo. The two-hour bus ride seemed longer than most by the trip’s standards, given the heat inside from the rays beating down as we made our way through the countryside towards the Mediterranean.

Upon arrival, the group walked roughly four city blocks as the bus was not allowed any closer to the water. We maneuvered the streets lined with Vespas and other motorized bikes and Smart Cars.

With the sea stretched out in front of the group, the next step in one of the most amazing days so far was a private boat tour of the harbor and a trip around the point of Portofino to Camogli.

On our way, the boat’s captain guided us into an inlet where many boats were anchored as their passengers were snorkeling and scuba diving in the sky-blue waters. The furthest point into the inlet featured an amazing old monastery called San Fruttuoso. The old building now belongs to the state as a preserved landmark and sits just back of the water and behind a crowded beach of swimmers and sunbathers.

Once in Camogli, the group split to go their separate ways. Many of the parents and staff members went to get lunch in one of the numerous restaurants that lined the beautiful walkway overlooking the beaches. The players chose to eat quickly and make their way down to the beach for three hours of swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.

The town seemed to jut out of the water with multicolored buildings dotting the sides of the hills and creating a spectacular scene as the boat approached its docking point in the early afternoon. Below the homes stretched out several beaches littered with towels, umbrellas and tables for locals and tourists alike.

In the late afternoon, the group reconvened and climbed the streets and staircases between buildings to the bus that had met us in Camogli. Leaving behind the beauty of the sea, the five-hour trip to Bassano del Grappa in the heart of vineyard country was the next leg of the trip.

Arriving at roughly 10:30 p.m. at the Hotel Belvedere, located along the city’s ancient walls, the team retreated to their rooms to escape the rain and prepare for another day of sightseeing on Monday.

If there is one place that is advertised as being able to match the beauty of Camogli, it is Venice, the location of Monday’s trek.

Abbazia di San Fruttuoso located in a small inlet along the coastline.

Abbazia di San Fruttuoso located in a small inlet along the coastline.
Looking back on the water as we get ready to board the bus.

Monday, Spetember 2, 2013

VENICE – Labor Day in the United States gives people the opportunity to rest, relax and enjoy a day off from working their everyday job.

For members of the Dartmouth men’s hockey team, this year’s Labor Day was spent walking the small streets and squares of Venice, one of the most unique and beautiful cities in the world.

We departed our hotel in Bassano del Grappa early Monday morning for the hour ride south. Once in the area of Venice, the bus had to make two short stops, one was to pay what we were told was a tax for driving to the city. Our guide Giosi informed up that it was 300 Euros just to drive over the bridge and drop us off at the boat stops. It was also 12 Euros an hour for the bus to wait for the group in a designated lot.

We left the bus and made our way to a boat taxi that would bring us into the city. On the short boat ride over, we saw many of the traditional Venetian buildings and hotels that lined the canal.

After exiting the small boat, the group was led to and given a small tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and Piazza San Marco. Many chose this time to go into the Basilica, but only if they were able to follow the strict guidelines of admission, which included: no exposed shoulders, no shorts or skirts that exposed knees, no bags of any kind and no cameras or cell phones.

Many of the players and staff split up and spent the day exploring the city on their own or in small groups. No roads at all in Venice lead to tight quarters when walking down the small paths between buildings lined with shops and cafes.

It was in this time that many took the opportunity to ride the world famous gondolas through the canals between buildings. The price of 80 Euros for a half hour ride was usually divided up between several people, making this fantastic experience seem more affordable.

Giosi told us that if you were going to buy anything in Venice you should get something made of glass because Venice is known the world over for its glass works. However, when we reconvened in the afternoon, only a select number of individuals had purchased glass items. Instead, sophomores Brad Schierhorn and Geoff Ferguson and junior Andy Simpson had all bought different jerseys of the same Italian soccer player, Mario Balotelli, rather than the local artisan specialty.

When it was time to leave, several members of the staff and their wives chose to stay a bit longer, opting for a train ride home a little bit later than the crowded bus we have become accustomed to on this trip.

The team will have a nice dinner in Bassano del Grappa tonight in a restaurant built into the ancient city wall just down the street from our hotel. The plan is for a leisurely evening and morning in Bassano to give the team some rest in preparation for Tuesday’s final game in Italy in Renon.

Brad Schierhorn, Andy Simpson and Geoff Ferguson model their latest purchases in Venice.
The beautiful canals and hundreds of bridges are staples in Venice.
Many gondolas wait for patrons in the canal near Piazza San Marco.
 
 Piazza San Marco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tuesday, September 3, 2014

 

RENON, Italy – The Dartmouth men’s hockey team saved the best for last.

In the final game of the team’s European trip to Italy and Switzerland, the Big Green knocked off Ritten Sport Renon, 4-1, Tuesday night.

Junior Charlie Mosey and sophomore Brad Schierhorn each netted a pair of goals in the game and sophomore James Kruger came up big, stopping 33 shots to earn the victory in goal.

Kruger’s play was the story of the night as the second-year netminder outplayed his counterpart in former NHL goalie Chris Mason, who spent last season with the Nashville Predators. Mason finished the contest with 24 saves, including 13 in the third period.

Junior and team captain Tyler Sikura chipped in with a pair of assists, helping to set up his linemate Schierhorn on both markers. Jesse Beamish and Eric Robinson got helpers on Mosey’s first, while Tim O’Brien helped set up the second, both of which were one-timers in the low slot. Nick Bligh also had an assist on Schierhorn’s second goal, giving him points in consecutive games.

The Big Green were a perfect 2-for-2 on the power play, while the penalty killers held on all three of Renon’s chances with the man-advantage.

Dartmouth will return to the United States on Saturday in preparation for the 2013-14 season that will get underway on Oct. 25 against Princeton in Newark as part of the Liberty Shootout at the Prudential Center.

DAILY BLOG

Everyday there is something about this trip that you don’t expect when you wake up in the morning. It’s something that knocks you back and makes you very aware of just how fortunate you are to be a part of something like this.

Today, riding in a gondola lift from Balzano to Renon to get to the game was that moment.

After spending the morning exploring the beautiful city of Bassano del Grappa, the group piled into the bus and made the two-hour dive to Balzano through some of the prettiest countryside we’ve seen on the trip (that’s saying something).

Because we didn’t leave Bassano until almost 2 p.m. the players and staff didn’t have too much time to enjoy Balzano. After 30 minutes of a guided tour, we found ourselves at the gondola station. The parents and staff wives would join us at the arena later as they spent more time in the beautiful city that is a mixture of both German and Italian culture.

The gondola lift ride lasted about 20 minutes and gave us some of the most breathtaking views of the mountains that we have experienced in our time in Europe (which is also saying something). Below us were endless vineyards, farms and beautiful vistas. The panoramic views of the mountains in the distance were truly spectacular.

Once at the top and off of the gondola, we waited for a small, two-car train that would bring us to the arena. The mountains remained in view as the car made several stops at small wooden buildings lining the tracks that served as stations. However, some of these stops were in the middle of sprawling fields of grass that seemed oddly placed given the fact that no one got on or off the train each time.

A short walk from the station saw the team arrive at the rink, which features a glass ceiling on one side of the building and clear plastic windows on both ends, allowing in a great deal of natural sunlight. Next to the building is an outdoor speed skating rink (a large concrete oval in the summer months), used in several international competitions each winter.

When complimented on the beauty of the building’s location, the rink manager said ‘it was nothing.’ He assured us that a short walk up the hill would produce better views that included Austria, Slovenia and more mountains. Seems like some people are never satisfied.

Some of the breathtaking views from the gondola on the way to the game.
The arena (right side) seems to have one of the prettiest views of any place we have seen.
Although our time in Balzano was short, it was a great experience.
Our home for three days, Bassano del Grappa, is incredibly beautiful and a must-see in northern Italy.

 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Some of the world’s most famous places never become more than pictures in a textbook for some people. They never experience standing at the foot of one of the most recognizable symbols in our global society, looking up at the majesty and beauty of a well-known building or work of architectural art.

For members of the Dartmouth men’s hockey team, its staff and family members on the current trip, several of those places will be much more than pictures in a textbook in the coming days.

After a seven-hour bus ride from Bassano del Grappa that began early Wednesday morning, the group finally made it to the final stop on our tour: Rome.

The ride did not seem as long as some of the others we have experienced in the last week and a half. Maybe it was the fact that nearly everyone in the travel party used the longest ride of the trip to catch up on sleep. It might’ve seemed shorter given the fact that we all knew what was at its conclusion.

We arrived around 4 p.m. local time and checked into our hotel, Hotel Nord Nuova Roma, in the heart of the city. From there it was a free night for everyone, time to experience one of the most historic and lively cities in the world.

Some went to the terrace in the roof for food and spectacular views of the city, including the Vatican, while others immediately went out exploring.

Not far from the hotel are many of the historic places you associate with Rome, including the Colosseum just a few short blocks from our door. But since the entire group will have a private tour on Thursday, our experiences there will have to wait another day.

For now, it is hard not to make our way back out into this beautiful city, bustling with activity.

Ruins in the city center.

The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant'Angelo.


 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our tour guides, Sergio, Giosi and Lollo, kept saying to us during the first week in Italy that ‘Rome is magical.’

You take them at their word and move on. But were they ever right.

From the time the team got up on the morning of their first full day in the city and headed out of the hotel, there was seemingly something different than past days. Like an elementary school field trip, we followed Giosi down the street in a disorganized line of players, staff and parents on the way to our first stop of the day.

Coming around the corner and off in the distance loomed the Colosseum, perhaps the most anticipated part of our entire 10 days in this beautiful country. We had reserved a private tour of the ancient arena and some of the surrounding buildings with a new guide, Ricardo.

We made our way in and up to the third floor. Ricardo didn’t immediately bring the group out onto the arena floor or even to one of the doorways that would allow us to look out, rather heightening the anticipation by making us climb the stairs to give one of the many historical lessons about the building.

After a short tour of the outer ring of the third level, we walked out onto one of the exposed concourses. It was clear that the players were excited to be here, sharing this experience with one another. Several groups formed, wanting to take class pictures between the sophomores, juniors and seniors with this amazing arena as the backdrop.

Head coach Bob Gaudet, who had let the players experience the entire trip with little interference when at such venues, seemed to have the same excitement level as his players, collecting the group for a team photo on the top level and holding up other tourists in the process.

We continued our tour, making our way around the upper ring before eventually heading downstairs on the opposite side where we could then be able to go out onto the area floor. More pictures were taken as expected before we moved on to another platform and eventually the exit.

Once out of the Colosseum, Gaudet had the team pose for another group photo with the famous exterior as the backdrop.

The tour continued with the ruins around the arena which, although impressive in their own right, seemed to be overshadowed (both literally and figuratively) by the world-famous building just off to the right.

As we moved on, we found ourselves in the ancient capitol building where the famous statue of Romulus and Remus with the mother wolf stands. Our time with Ricardo ended in front of the overwhelming building Sergio referred to as ‘the wedding cake.’

A white marble mammoth building that was built between the last part of the 19th and the early years of the 20th centuries, it stands as a monument to honor the Italian soldiers who died in military conflict fighting for their country. It has the feel of the Lincoln Memorial but on a much grander and larger scale.

From there, Giosi took charge, leading the group to the Trevi Fountain. Beautiful craftsmanship and impressive engineering come together to make this famous landmark another one of the city’s must-see landmarks.

The group began to splinter and make their way around on their own. A collection of staff, parents and players walked the short distance to see the Pantheon, one of the most well maintained ancient buildings in the city.

Everything from the intricate ceiling to the artistic murals on the walls to the marble floors was immensely impressive. The sheer size of the Pantheon is deceiving, as the inside feels much bigger than it looks from walking around the exterior.

After seeing the major buildings, the tour ended and everyone splintered into their own groups. Friday will be the final full day of the trip and an early-morning guided tour of the Vatican is planned. Given the option to join or go out once more on their own, all 21 players opted to take part in the tour, demonstrating their understanding of the historical importance of the city where we will conclude our European tour.

The newest team photo from the top level of the Colosseum.
The lower level of the ancient arena. The top photo was taken in the area shown in the top left portion of this one.
The Pantheon is one of the most impressive buildings from the inside of any we've seen in Rome.
The Colosseum lit up at night.
A play takes placed in the middle of the city with some ancient Roman ruins as its stage and backdrop.
Sophomores Nick Bligh and Brett Patterson at the Trevi Fountain.

Friday, September 6, 2013

On Friday morning, the entire group woke up early and had our first experience with the Roman subway system. We piled onto the train and made our way four stops west to the Vatican museum where we would meet our private tour guide.

For reasons one can only imagine, the security line entering the Vatican Museum was incredibly long and well maintained. It was like going through airport security with x-ray machines for bags and loose items with body scans and personal checkdowns at its entrance.

However, it was all worth it once we got inside. Our first stop was the Square Garden where we were given a history lesson on the painting of the Sistine Chapel. Since there is no talking allowed in the chapel, the background behind the painting and its recent restoration project were given in a gorgeous courtyard setting that seemed fitting given the area’s purpose was to honor the artists who helped create the city and its buildings.

We moved on to rooms filled with sculptures, paintings, mural, mosaics and maps. The sheer size of the museum was amazing as each room was filled with countless priceless artifacts.

Finally, we made our way to the Sistine Chapel, one of the most famous areas of Christianity. It was not as big in actual size as it is in myth, but the ceiling’s artwork is some of the most well known and awe-inspiring in the world. Looking around at a crammed room of people straining the necks and heads upward to take in Michelangelo’s finest works and trying to navigate that as more throngs of people filtered in behind you was tough, but worth it.

We reluctantly moved on in our tour. Eventually we came to the central location of the Vatican: Saint Peter’s Basilica and Square.

The largest church in the world lived up to its billing, impressing the seas of people at every corner. Just when you thought you had come to a dead end, it kept going. Despite its stature as the world’s largest house of worship, its size was deceptive. The ceiling seemed to be higher than anything we had seen before. The main corridor stretched on forever, lined with religious engravings and passages in Latin. Every player who left the Vatican that day commented on the size and beauty of the basilica.

After St. Peter’s, the team was free to split up for the afternoon before coming together for our final team dinner of the trip.

However, before leaving the Vatican, Coach Gaudet and a small group of staff members found themselves looking for Paul VI Audience Hall. The building is used by the Pope as an alternative for his Wednesday services when Saint Peter’s Square is not available. Why Gaudet and his staff went looking for this building was simple: it’s architect.

Pier Luigi Nervi designed Paul VI Audience Hall, completed in 1971. Nervi is a world-famous Italian architectural designer, given his prestigious noted works. He not only designed this particular building in the Vatican, but also arenas for the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, the George Washington Bus Station in New York and several towers throughout Europe. But for the purposes of this trip, his most notable work was Thompson Arena, home to the Dartmouth men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. In addition to Thompson, Nervi also designed Leverone Field House, completed a decade before, giving Dartmouth College two Nervi designed buildings located just about a football field apart from one another.

We made our way back from the Vatican, taking in many of the famous sights for the final time before meeting in the lobby to head out to dinner.

In a traditional outdoor setting, we enjoyed the final team meal in Italy. Our guide, Giosi, took part in a small performance in one of the windows above the tables, acting with the band that moved from group to group, playing traditional Italian music throughout the course of the meal.

When it ended, we all made our way back to the hotel in preparation for our final trip home in the morning.

Some of the guys in from of Saint Peter's Basilica just after our tour finished.
The basilica and Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City.
Inside the front entrance of Saint Peter's Basilica.
A wide angle shot of the world's largest church.
The artwork inside the Vatican Museum was incredible.
Our final time walking past Sant'Angleo's Castle, located outside the entrance to the Vatican.

 

Eurosportours is the number one sports tour company specializing in bringing ice hockey teams to Italy and Switzerland. Based in Lake Como, Italy, Eurosportours prides itself in providing the ultimate international hockey experience in two of the most beautiful countries in the world. Fusing dynamic hockey with excursions and Italian cuisine, these trips will be etched into the minds of the players, families, alumni and fans for years to come. Become part of this great cultural exchange while participating in a once in a lifetime cultural and hockey experience!

Eurosportours is managed by Brad Doshan, a former University of Minnesota NCAA Champion and professional player/coach who lives in Lake Como, Italy. Over the last 12 years Eurosportours has taken teams like Colgate University, Bethel College, St. Olaf University, Phillips Exeter and Shattuck St. Mary's to Europe. Eurosportours has a dynamic staff of guides and team leaders who really understand North Americans.

For more information email Brad at: eurosportours@yahoo.com or phone at 612-419-9615. 

Eurosportours; widening your horizons through sport and travel...

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