By: Rachel Lobato
Today marked our only full day in Florence. The team skipped down to another breakfast that once again put American continentals to shame. Sami demonstrated confusion and needed advice on what she should eat.
After breakfast, our lovely tour guide Serena led our group of 21 down to the center of Florence. The sky was overcast, but nothing could dampen our enthusiasm as we posed for pictures in the square and headed to the Duomo Cathedral. Inside, the team took (no flash, of course) pictures of the intricately designed ceiling and stained glass windows, as well as explored the crypts underneath.
After exiting the cathedral, HWP braved the 414 steps to the top of the Duomo bell tower. The trip up was fraught with spiral stairs, low ceilings, and complaints of sore calves. The aerial view of Florence made it all worth it, as were the pictures the team took at top.
However, just in case any of us were feeling as though our glutes hadn't had enough of a work out, we then climbed another 474 stairs up to the top of the cupola of the cathedral. Coach Ted won the award for Most Times to Hit Head on Low Ceilings, and Hollis clocked the fastest time up and down the tight spiral staircase. At the top of the cupola, we did what we do best-take adorable team pictures.
Once we were back on steady ground, we pulled out our handy dandy rain coats and umbrellas and trekked to the leather markets, where some very excited team members lightened their wallets on purses, wallets, and blanket scarves. HWP also feasted on a medley of pizza, gnocchi, and ravioli before ending lunch with cannolis. As the rain slowed and stopped, Serena led our motley crew to the Museo Dell' Opera Del Duomo, where we spent some time admiring Michelangelo sculptures, reliquaries, architectural models and Byzantine art.
By the time we exited the museum, the rain had picked up once more, and after a very wet walk back to the hotel, HWP had a brief rest before moving next door for dinner, where we dined on pasta, chicken, and salad. Then, it was finally time for practice with the Florence team, beginning at 9 in the evening. After a 4 quarter scrimmage against the team with extra 6-on-5 and 5-on-6 work, it was time to head back to the hotel for the night.
Tomorrow, we head to our final destination for the trip, Rome, where we are all very excited to see the landmarks and continue improving our water polo skills and techniques.