August 21, 2013

Postcards from Italy - Day 1 - Jake Kocher

MILAN, Italy – Every day during the Islanders men's basketball team's overseas tour in Italy, GoIslanders.com will bring you Postcards from Italy – a combination of photos from the day's activities and a brief recap on the events from members of the men's basketball team.

In the first installment, we check in with sophomore Jake Kocher to get his thoughts on the team's first day abroad.

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Upon arriving in Milan after a four-hour flight to Newark and then a 7 ½ hour flight to Italy, we took a short bus ride from the airport and arrived in the center of the city, near the famous Duomo.

The thing that stood out most to me was how much more condensed society is as a whole over here. Everything is closer together, people sit closer together, and the streets are typically one lane each way packed between buildings on both sides.  Also, things seem to be slower. Not that the cars can't go as fast, but people are in less of a hurry. 

After walking around for a bit, my first meal in Italy was pizza from a little café next to the Duomo and it was definitely the best pizza I have ever had.  Once lunch was through we walked over to the Duomo and it was incredible. I have never seen anything so detailed and yet so large in my life. Also the history that has occurred around and in the area is just overwhelming.  We would later learn that it took over six centuries to finish construction of the cathedral, and it made sense, considering all of the sculptures draped on and around the church.

The marketplace was full of all of the Italian brand name companies like Prada and Louis Vuitton as well as several small bistros and cafes. After several hours in the marketplace and walking around the Duomo we went to the hotel for the first time.

The first surprise came at the elevator, realizing only one to two people with luggage can go up the elevator at a time. The next surprise was the room, and once again its size, compared to what I am used to. The final surprise was a pleasant one, and that was the majestic view from our balconies. It was just incredible.

After a couple hours to relax, we went to dinner in downtown Varese at a great sandwich shop. They cut the meat from the entire leg of the pig in front of us (which I could have done without) but it was delicious nonetheless.  Then we finished the night with gelato from a little corner shop, and finally can unwind for the night after the long trip.

Go Islanders!

-Jake Kocher