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Nashville, TN – The Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball team is in the midst of a 10 day tour of Greece and Italy. The Commodores will play four exhibition games along the way. Andrew Boggs, of the Vanderbilt Sports Information Department, has been blogging about the trip.
It’s been a long couple of days for the team as we’ve been traveling from Greece to Italy. Yesterday, we drove from Nafpaktos to Olympia to see the original stadium for the first Olympic games. Then, we took a short, 1-hour tour through the grounds and then went back on the road to a port in to get on a boat to travel overnight to Italy.
The boat trip was fairly uneventful as everyone slept the majority of the 16 hours we were on the boat and there was not much to do. The rooms were a challenge as there were four players each crammed into a room that was way too small for even two players. The other problem was that I, only 6 feet tall, couldn’t even fit on the tiny bed, so I can’t even imagine how difficult it was for all the other players. As tough as it was, the gentle rocking of the ship actually made for a great sleep and everyone was fully rested in the morning for today’s events.
When we docked in Italy, it was 9:30am and we loaded onto a bus to take the longest drive of the trip (4 hours) to Pompeii to see the remains after the volcano erupted and decimated the city. The tour was interesting as the guide walked us through the city and explained to us what Pompeii was like back in the day. Contrary to popular belief, the city was not destroyed by the actual lava from the volcano, but the noxious fumes and gravel that encompassed the area. Although all the original roofs except for one building have collapsed, a good amount of the city has been uncovered and the general structures of the buildings are fairly intact. Even the shapes of some of the deceased were injected with plaster, which then dried and now are on display to portray the stances the citizens were in during the last moments of their lives.
After Pompeii we made the beautiful drive through the mountains to the city of Sorrento. After putting up our luggage and taking a quick shower, we made the short 5-minute walk from the hotel down the streets to the beach area to eat dinner. The place we stopped at was fairly expensive, but it was definitely worth it because we received the full Italian experience with a great meal that was finished off with a refreshing gelato stop after.
The highlight of the day, however, has to be the hours after we ate dinner and were walking around downtown just exploring the shops when we started to receive an absurd amount of attention. People kept stopping us to take pictures and it exponentially increased until we had a crowd following us wherever we walked. The attention was unlike anything any of us had ever experienced before and it was surreal that there was really that many people interested in taking a picture with us. The main attraction was definitely Damian Jones, as people could not get over how tall he was and he kept claiming he was Kobe to whoever would listen. There were also rumors by some others that Chris Bosh had been in the same area as us just 45 minutes earlier, but no one has figured out if that is true or not. Either way, Sorrento has been a lot of fun and a great way to start off the Italy part of the trip.
We travel to Rome tomorrow morning to see the Vatican and play our next game tomorrow night. It’ll be interesting to see how we play after not touching a basketball for three days, but we’re definitely all excited for the upcoming days. For more updates and information about our trip follow @VandyMBB on Twitter and be sure to check www.vucommodores.com.