We had another early four-hour bus ride, leaving Venice, and arriving Milan (Milano) early afternoon on May 31st. The team was scheduled to play an Italian pro level national team at 3:30 pm. After we checked in, we walked to the facilities, had a team lunch at the facility dining area, watched some of a men’s division 3 volleyball game at the main arena, and then walked over to an adjacent building for the match with team Italy.
The OU team has been getting better and better on this trip, and beat the Italian team in straight sets. Wow, were they impressive! It was a show. Everyone played well, and Julia had an outstanding match, mixing her sets well, and frequently fooling the blockers on which direction the set would go.
We returned to the hotel to freshen up. Kelly Williamson, our tour guide gave us some tram passes so we could do some evening exploration and supper on our own in central Milan. The Duomo stop left us by the main square where a National celebration was taking place with the country’s best entertainers rocking on a huge stage. We expored the Galleria Vittorio Emanuale II nearby, a glass-domed arcade containg the best high-end shops in Italy. Kathy and I found a friendly ristorante just outside the Galleria, had supper, and headed back to our hotel by tram for a good night’s rest.
The next day, June 1st, was a free day, to do what we wanted, and then meet by the Duomo at 6:45 for a farewell supper. So we took the tram downtown again, explored the beautiful cathedral inside, and then took the elevator to the roof to walk among the gothic spires and get some great views of the city. Afterwards, we decided to tour the Pinoteca Ambrosia, the oldest museum in Milan. It was only four blocks away from the Duomo, behind the famous La Scala Opera House.
The museum, founded in 1618, did not have an outstanding art collection, but the building itself was a joy to view. The most outstanding collection was Leonardo Divinci’s drawings.
Then we had some coffe and a small dessert before meeting our whole group by the Duomo. We had a wonderful farewell dinner on the second level of an up-scale Ristorante nearby, and took the tram back to our hotel.
The next morning, June 2nd, we left the hotel with the group to ride to Malpensa Airport, where we said goodbye to Julia, and all the friends we made on this trip. It was a real pleasure to get to know the young ladies on the team, the coach, Santiago Restrepo, his family, the coaching staff, the guides, and the other parents. Great memories to share down the road.
Then we turned down the corridor to find our rental car, and start the next phase of our European Adventure, on our own for another eleven days!