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Monday, Spetember 2

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.

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