Manion Reflects on Her, Two Teammates' Field Hockey Trip to Italy
Three members of the Washington College field hockey team - Hilary Manion, Heather Noto, and Meredith Andrews - toured Italy last month as part of a field hockey team put together by American International Sports Teams. Manion reflects on the experience:
Throughout my college career I always wanted to go abroad. When Coach Boyle told me about a possibility to travel abroad and play field hockey over the summer I knew it was an opportunity I could not turn down. This past June, I traveled to Italy to play field hockey through an organization known as American International Sports Teams or AIST. Accompanying me on the trip was Heather Noto, Meredith Andrews, and a bunch of other girls from Widener and William Patterson. While we were in Italy we experienced many different parts of the country, ate exquisite food, and also played internationally against Italian Field Hockey club teams. Although we were only in Italy for 10 days, we sure managed to do a lot.
Our trip got off to kind of a rough start because our initial flight on Saturday June 2nd got delayed resulting in a 14-hour layover in Lisbon, Portugal. Since we had so much time in-between flights we went into Lisbon to explore. We were all pleasantly surprised by how beautiful Lisbon was and ended up having a great time while we were there. We finally got on our way and landed in Rome late Sunday night. Even though we missed our first scheduled day in Rome we managed to squeeze everything in on Monday June 4th. We first went to the Vatican City and had a guided tour through St. Peters Cathedral, the Vatican Museums, and the magnificent Sistine Chapel. We also saw the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain (my personal favorite), and managed to squeeze in our first game, which was located right outside of the capital! For our first time playing together we had instant flow and composure, but the club team, FC Roma, was very fast and talented resulting in a victory for Italy. We still had a lot of fun playing them even though we lost 5-1!
On our third day in Italy, we traveled to Tuscany to visit Florence, where we had a guided tour through the city. We saw beautiful monuments, the Ponte Vecchio, the enormous Dome and of course the statue of David. We also were able to experience a local wine tasting that was set up by our amazing tour guide Sara.
Our next stop was the beautiful Cinque Terre area where we took a cruise along the coast. That night we had our second game against a local opponent in Pisa. We could actually see the leaning tower from the turf! We put up a good fight and started to really work well together, but once again Italy was victorious. The next day was a travel day with a pit stop in Padova to get lunch. We ended the day with our third and final game against CUS Padova. Our energy was high and we played with a great deal of intensity. We ended the half 3-0, but by the end of the game we were tied at 3-3. Even though we tied, we made major noticeable improvements from our first game. We really started to come together and work as a unit, which was the most important.
On Sunday, June 8th we went to Venice. We had a guided tour through the Murano Glass Museum and took a relaxing gondola ride through the canals. The gondola ride was really remarkable because we were able to take in the scenery without having to worry about where we were going. After Venice we made our way to Verona, the city of love, where we saw Juliet's balcony and also did some shopping. On June 10th we took a day trip to Lake Como where we relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful views. Lake Como was a refreshing change of scenery and where we also had the best pizza for lunch!
Our final stop in Italy was Milan. While we were there we were able to meet up with some of Heather's relatives that live there. They showed us around the city, we got gelato (we got gelato everyday) and some delicious cappuccinos. Unfortunately our next stop after Milan was the Newark Airport and our trip to Italy came to an end.
I think it is safe to say my trip to Italy is one that I will never forget. Even though it was only 10 days, I'm fairly confident we had enough fun to fill an entire semester abroad. Sharing this experience with some of my own teammates made it even more memorable. I was able to see some of the most beautiful places, meet some of the most amazing people, of course eat the most magnificent Italian cuisine, and also experience playing internationally. Ciao!