May 31, 2007
VOULIAGMENI, GREECE – – After four nights staying at the downtown Marriott in Athens, the Iowa women’s basketball team packed up and left for its final hotel down the coast.
Before getting to the beach resort in Vouliagmeni, Iowa traveled and an hour and a half and visited the site of the Temple of Poseidon. The Hawkeyes viewed the ancient structure for about an hour and then went straight to the hotel. Senior Stacy Schlapkohl is featured in today’s blog and discusses today and her trip.
The team definitely saved the best hotel for last as the Westin Astir Palace is located on a beautiful bay with picturesque views. Iowa played its final game against Greece tonight and will spend its last day of this 11-day journey relaxing and enjoying the surroundings of this amazing country.
Check back to hawkeyesports.com tomorrow, as senior Krista VandeVenter is scheduled to blog.
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Well, today is Thursday and our days are winding down here in Greece. I know that many of us are not ready to return back to the `states’ as they say over here. So today we got to sleep in a bit, and checked out of our hotel in Athens. We were headed to see the Temple of Poseidon. This temple was located in Sounio, the southern most part of Greece. Along the way we drove along the scenic coast enjoying the glorious views of the beaches (mostly private), and the beautiful sea. Poseidon’s temple had some of the same structure types as the Acropolis, but it was not as large and was much less crowded. The view from the top of the temple was breathtaking! The water is so clear and blue and extends for miles, a sight that cannot really be fully described.
Many pictures later, we loaded the bus and were on our way to Vouliagmeni, where our five-star hotel Astir Palace waited. We were informed that Astir meant `star’ in Greek. When we arrived we were told that our rooms weren’t ready, so the hotel gave us each a free beverage, not a bad way to start off our stay in a five start resort if you ask me. Most of us ordered frappes, which are a very popular sweet iced coffee drink. Our rooms here are very nice consisting of balconies and large sized bathrooms. Too bad we couldn’t stay here for a couple more nights.
Before our pre-game meal we explored the resort which consisted of a beach, café, pool, and a place to rent jet skis and go tubing. Our hotel is linked to the Westin next door where we are allowed to use their beach and pool as well. Most of us have never been to a five-star hotel and are in awe at the beauty and all that is offered. Our pre-game meal was not only a sight to see but a new experience as well. At first we had our usual roils, salad and meat, but there was a fruit platter that was a bit of a mystery. We found mango, papaya, kiwi, many berries, pomegranate, kumquats (small oranges I think), star fruit, and some other new types of fruit that were fun to dissect. Then came the never ending trays of desserts. If there’s one thing about Greece I will remember is that they know how to have delicious desserts. There were at least three rounds of desserts and each time they kept bringing out different kinds to try: fruit pizza, baklavas, torts, pies and some we didn’t even know but they sure melted in your mouth. There was no reason to leave hungry!!
Lastly, tonight was our last game against the Greek National Team and we were ready for revenge, not to mention that I forgot my uniform in our old hotel hanging in the closet, but I got it back, no worries. We played our best basketball of the trip tonight although we didn’t come up with the win; we sure gave them a run for their money.
The game was very physical as we had learned after two games. We learned that we can throw out some of our own cheap shots if they’re going to throw them at us. There were several threats from their players to ours. One of their players said some threat to Jenee, using several unkind words. It was very tense to say the least. They were able to dish out the low blows, cheap shots, and Greek cuss words, but when we started playing their type of game they couldn’t take it.
Well, the tension didn’t end there; we were invited to have dinner with them at their hotel. We all wondered how the mood would be, but everything was left on the court and our meal was a very good buffet, where we learned a bit about how old the players on the team were, and where they were from.
Tomorrow is our last day in Greece and I can’t believe it is here already! It is a day that we have free to ourselves and are going to spend outside in the sun along the beaches, soaking up the sun, and enjoying our last day in Greece. Fun, and many memories have been made, but words can’t really describe just how much of a great experience Greece has been and how much fun we all have had!!