Hawkeyes in Greece: VandeVenter Blog

June 1, 2007

VOULIAGMENI, GREECE – – Well, as Abby Emmert said at dinner tonight, “it seemed like just yesterday we were buying $12 sandwiches at New York-JFK airport about to head to Greece.”

Yes, it really is hard to imagine but the Iowa women’s basketball trip to Greece came to an end today. After sightseeing every day and playing three games against the Greek National Team, the Hawkeyes finally had an entire day just to relax and soak up the sun at its hotel beach resort. Again, the team couldn’t ask for better weather as it was another sensational day.

Players, coaches and staff took advantage as they bounced around all day from the beach, pool and spa. Senior Krista VandeVenter, who will be leaving Greece with the darkest tan, blogs today and talks in depth about the team’s day.

Iowa leaves for the airport tomorrow morning and departs Athens at 11:15 a.m. local time (3:15 a.m. CDT). The flight will be a long one, as it is a ten and a half hour flight back to the states and is scheduled to land at New York-JFK around 2 p.m. (CDT). Iowa is slated to land in Cedar Rapids around 10 p.m.

Since Iowa will be traveling all day tomorrow, there will be no updates tomorrow, but check back Sunday night as junior Kristi Smith recaps her thoughts about this amazing trip in her blog.

Friday’s photo gallery and video postcard has been updated on hawkeyesports.com, so for maximum and exclusive coverage of the Hawkeye women’s trip to Greece click on Greece Central Greece Central to follow the team’s journey.

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

Wow, just when we thought this place couldn’t get any more gorgeous, the city of Vouliagmeni proved us wrong. If I had to pick one word to describe our last day in Greece it would be perfect. First, we woke up to perfect weather in my book: a temperature in the 80’s, a cool ocean breeze, and not a cloud in the sky. I knew right away that this would be a great day. I usually struggle in the mornings to get out of bed, but today I popped right up with no problems. We headed down to breakfast and were presented with the most elaborate breakfast spread yet. A few of the highlights were the perfectly ripe raspberries and blackberries, eggs in the shape of a muffin, and my personal favorite, chocolate croissants. Even some chicken wings found their way into our breakfast, which was perfectly fine with Jenee.

After breakfast we rushed down to the beach to become a part of the postcard-quality views that surrounded us. We snagged some chairs on our hotel’s private beach and let the sun tanning begin. Johanna and Nicole were the first to take the plunge into the chilly morning water. They took one for the team and swam across the water to get Coach Fitz’s football, which was a crowd favorite. After a few hours of tanning, reading, and a listening to Niner belt out songs that only she could hear on her iPod, we decided to check out the infinity pool. We could swim in the pool and enjoy the view of the Aegean Sea at the same time.

As if we weren’t relaxed enough at this point, we decided to take a break from the sun and experience the spa in the hotel. It consisted of a foot massager that used water, a sauna, a steam room, and a series of showers. Each of the four showers sprayed differently, smelled like a different aromatherapy scent, and was lit up with a different color. Next, we moved on to the Jacuzzi were we could stand in the water and get our legs massaged by jets and lay on chairs that shot up relaxing bubbles. It was rough, let me tell you!

After the spa we wanted to get back outside. We ordered some poolside smoothies and enjoyed the scenery. At about 5 p.m. our stomachs started to rumble and we couldn’t believe how fast the day had gone. We decided we should probably go to our rooms to get ready for dinner, but it was so hard to leave. Stacy, Nicole, and I thought that we shouldn’t leave without one last dunk in the sea. We went for a quick swim amidst the schools of tiny fish and then headed upstairs.

For dinner, we split up into little groups to test out some of the restaurants near the hotel. One group had Italian food, and my group had sandwiches and elaborate desserts. We all splurged a little to try to get rid of our remaining Euros. After dinner we came back to pack up our rooms and get ready for our journey back to the states.

Today was definitely the perfect ending to such a great trip filled with many memorable times. It was great to relax after a week and a half of busy sightseeing, shopping, and basketball. I had so much fun hanging out with my teammates and coaches in this beautiful country, and I can’t wait to get back on the court with them in a couple months.

Krista VandeVenter