Hawkeyes in Greece: Solverson Blog

May 27, 2007

ATHENS, GREECE – – The Hawkeye women had a relaxing day in Athens before playing its first exhibition contest against the Greek National Team Sunday night. After a long day on the bus yesterday, the team spent most of the day doing a little sightseeing, shopping and relaxing by the pool before game time.

Iowa lost its first exhibition game to a very talented and veteran Greece team tonight, 80-60. Kristi Smith, Wendy Ausdemore and JoAnn Hamlin scored in double figures to lead the Hawkeyes. To read more about tonight’s game, click HERE. Iowa and Greece will meet again Tuesday night in Athens.

Today’s blog is from senior Johanna Solverson, who describes her eventful day corresponding with the locals.

The Hawkeyes are slated to spend most of Monday touring the Acropolis and then possibly going on a hike. Junior Nicole VanderPol will detail Monday’s events in her blog tomorrow night.

Also, Abby Emmert is writing a blog every other day that is appearing on the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s web site. If you’d like to check it out, go to www.gazetteonline.com, scroll down to the blog section and click on When in Greece: A blog by Iowa’s Abby Emmert.

As always, daily photo galleries are being uploaded to hawkeyesports.com, so for maximum and exclusive coverage of the Hawkeye women’s trip to Greece click on Greece Central to follow the team’s adventures. Video postcards from this weekend will be posted on Tuesday.

The audio and video clips are free, but all visitors to Hawkeye All-Access, the multi-media pages of hawkeyesports.com, need to register.

Hello from Athens!!!

Well, we are on our first day in Athens after a long drive from Thessaloniki, but as a team we were still able to get up early and explore our first day here. Today we were pretty much on our own, to wonder in small groups and sightsee on our own. I began with taking the shuttle from the hotel down to the Plaka around 9:15 a.m. with the team, where from there most of the team split and went to either the Monastiraki Flea Market or to the National Archeological Museum. I headed off to the Museum, because it was on our list of top ten places to see in Athens that the coaches had given us. There were many classical sculptures and all of them were so old it was amazing how they were all still in really good shape and you were able to see all the details that were put into them.

From the museum we planned on heading back down to the Plaka to try and find the Flea Market, and that’s where we had our first interaction trying to take a cab by ourselves in Greece. I thought it was hard to get a cab in downtown Chicago or even New York City, but trying to hail a cab in another country when no one exactly understands what you are saying is even harder. Eventually, we pulled out a map and pointed to where we wanted to go. The cab driver, just like in the big cities, tried to rip us off and charge 10 Euro to get back to where we started when the same ride that we had to get to the museum, only cost 2,60 Euro… so I guess some things do not really change in different countries.

Once we got dropped off it was a challenge to see if we knew exactly how to get to the Flea Market. Trying to navigate your way around here with the people you are walking with always seems like a great accomplishment to get to where you want to go, especially when a lot of people do not speak any English or speak very little. The Flea Market was crazy and down an extremely long narrow street, which for some reason cars and mopeds were still driving down them. That is one thing about Greece that I will never understand is how buses, cars, even mopeds get around on these streets when they are as big as only some of the sidewalks in Iowa City.

Towards the end of the Flea Market there was a table full of brand name perfumes, from Channel to Burberry which were either1-4 Euros or 3-10 Euros, and Abby, Stacy, and I thought that it would be a good idea to check it out and maybe buy some for ourselves and/or gifts for others. It got to the point that we were pretty much being rushed to buy the perfumes that were in our hands, we were getting yelled at in Greek as the sales person was waving a blue plastic in our faces to put the perfume in and just pay, so we were getting flustered and irritated and ultimately we just through them in the bag, gave them 10 Euros and we were on our way. About 10 steps from the stand we opened up the three bottles and realized they were all in the same bottles and all smelled like hand soap. None of us were even that mad, we laughed pretty hard and realized that we have a funny story for when we go back, it was just an experience that we get to keep.

After a long day of touring we had to all make it back to the hotel to get our pre-game meal and prepare for the game. Unfortunately, I had to again sit on the sidelines and watch the game, rather than compete, but it was a great experience to get to watch my team play in a foreign country, considering I’ve already had my chance when I played in Italy four years ago. The game did not turn out as we had hoped, but we played against a very talented and veteran team and hope to play better next time. Now that we know a little bit more about the style that they play, along with knowing how the ref’s call the games.

Johanna Solverson