By: Hollis Jomo
Today was our last day in Bogliasco, and it was also Nikki Duario's 19th birthday! As a special treat, we got to sleep in an extra hour before heading down to breakfast and then out for some sightseeing. Per usual, breakfast at the hotel was very yummy, and I think the team has definitely decided that Europeans start the day very well.
Since our last training session against the Rari Nantes was at 1:00 p.m., we only had time to take a short trip to Recco, which is not only the home of one of the best club water polo teams in the world, but also is the originator of focaccia col fromagio. Recco is just a short bus ride along the coast, and when we arrived we walked from the center square down to the pool on the beach where Pro Recco used to practice. The pool was shut down for the winter so we didn't get to see it in its full glory, but the pictures we've seen of it in the summer are amazing. The cool part about this pool (apart from it being right next to the ocean) is that the goals are attached to the sides, so all you have to do to lower them into the water is move a lever. Another fun fact about Recco: Serena says that it is a great surf spot, and we even saw some people out there today in the cold rain!
After we left the beach we had some free time to explore the town, but we all ended up eating focaccia and drinking cappuccinos at a cafe in the center square.
In the afternoon we played a full game against Bogliasco which was a really great experience. The other trainings that we had with them helped us get a good feel for the way they play water polo, so it was really fun getting to actually play a game. Bogliasco plays really fast and really aggressive, which was a really good test for our defense. They also had a strong 6x5 that made quickly adapt in game-time.
We took a quick test rest in the hotel after the game before heading back to the pool to watch a Division 2 Pro League game. Although we were a little skeptical how popular water polo actually is here, we were pleasantly surprised to see the stands were packed with rowdy fans. The game was probably one of my favorite parts of the day because it was really cool to actually see a lot of people cheering for the sport we love to play.
Finally, we headed to "special dinner" at a new restaurant on top of a hill that overlooked the whole town. Dinner came in two courses, one pasta and one meat, and I was actually very proud of the team for being adventurous during the second dish I and trying dishes they've never had before. The meal was perfectly ended with a declicioius, lemon and strawberry birthday cake for Nikki, and of course a stop for gelato on the way back to the hotel.