Italy Day 2
COMO, Italy -- The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team arrived in Milan at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday (12:30 a.m. Mountain Time). The winner, by far of the unofficial ability-to-sleep-on-the-plane contest went to video coordinator Vera Jo Bustos, who said she was about to sleep about four hours of the 8 1/2-hour flight from Atlanta to Milan.
Bustos credited her playing career at Adams State and previous coaching gig at Western (Colo.) State for her proclivity to sleep on airplanes. Several members of the traveling party reported pulling an all-nighter.
The team then took an hour-long bus trip to the mountain city of Como, which is named after the adjacent body of water, Lake Como, in the northern-most tip of Italy. Our tour guide, Richard, said that in good visibility, onlookers can see into Switzerland.
After checking into the Palace Hotel, a three-story structure that fits one person and his or her luggage comfortably in the elevators, the team gathered for lunch about 200 yards from the hotel at about 12:30 local time, or as assistant coach Anthony Turner noted, “there’s nothing like pizza at 5 in the morning (MT).”
On the menu? Pizza! Surprisingly, the base meat was not pepperoni – or even sausage. Ham was the meat offered to the team. The other toppings that were prevalent were mushrooms, olives and artichoke hearts. There were seafood options, and the cooks tried to pass along a couple of tuna-with-mushroom pizzas.
Not surprisingly, there were no takers.
A couple of the players were smart enough to work out a deal to get sausage on their pizza. The fresh mozzarella added to the taste!
After lunch, the team took a tour of “Il Duomo” (“The Cathedral”), whose exterior and interior structures were awesome to see and photograph. Il Duomo stood on the edge of a “downtown” district with shops and dining establishments.
A few of the players were in awe of a mime painted in gold that appeared to be sitting without a chair.
By far, the toughest part of the tour took place after the walking tour of the cathedral ended. The team had free time until meeting in the lobby at 6:15 to go to dinner. Tough – because most of the team decided to take a nap before dinner and discovered how difficult it was to get up after about two hours of sleep.
The tired but game Lobo crew gathered for dinner a couple of doors down from our lunch establishment and had a three-course meal. The “appetizer” was a pasta dish with vegetables mixed in. The main course was veal it was rumored that some of the players do not know what type of meat veal is, but Khadijah Shumpert called it the best steak she’s ever had).
After dinner, head coach Yvonne Sanchez and several other members of the traveling party went up to the top of Como via a small tram-type apparatus, only steeper. Turner reported being able to see the Swiss Alps from the top of the mountain.
On Wednesday, the team takes a boat ride to Bellagio (not the Las Vegas casino) as it adjusts to Italy time in preparation for Thursday’s first game against AS Vicenza.
Due to technical difficulties, we were unable to post a video, but we do have a photo gallery available.