Danielle's European Diary

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Kansas State senior guard/forward Danielle Zanotti is keeping a diary during the women's basketball team's 10-day trip to Europe. The following entries include the first three days of K-State's tour.

Danielle’s Diary

Entry #1 June 23-24

 

 

Ahoj Wildcat Fans! (That means Hello in Czech)

Well we made it!!! I am writing this diary entry from our four star hotel overlooking the Vlatava River! I’ve officially been up for over 24 hours straight so forgive me if I seem all over the place. Let me start at the beginning of our little journey...

 

After traveling through KC to Atlanta we boarded the biggest plane I’d ever been on, a 767. I was in good spirits after realizing there was a three person seat open next to me and I began dreaming of the nine-hour slumber I was about to get! Unfortunately my cat-like reflexes don’t carry over from the basketball court and a much more nimble woman snagged the seat right from me! But nothing would deter me from beginning our trip in a good mood. All the girls settled in and many of them started cracking the books right away; we are such nerds! We started watching “Fools Gold” on the plane’s TV’s but all of a sudden the stewardess came on over the intercom and asked for “passenger (Ashley) Sweat and passenger Zanotti to please press the stewardess button.” All of the girls’ eyes immediately were on us and we started whispering about what kind of mischief we could have possibly gotten into already. I was crossing my fingers that Sweat and I had hit the jackpot and were the recipients of some VIP bed to stretch out on or at least a sweet tour of the cockpit! No such luck, while dinner was being served we were informed that someone had put in a special order for Sweat and I. But not just any special meal...a low sodium meal for her and a lovely Kosher meal for myself. Yummy! Needless to say I passed on that but we all got a pretty good laugh out of it! Approximately 8 sleepless hours later we landed in Prague. We were tired, maybe a bit delirious, but more than ready to start seeing the sights! Who needs sleep when you’re in Europe?!?!

 

Our travel guides, Johny and Maria, met us at the airport and we took a bus tour around the city. I think we all went into sensory overload with all of the different historical sights around us. It was amazing to see government buildings that have remained since the communist rule and churches that have stood for hundreds of years. After a bit of freshening up (you know we wanted to look our best ;) ) we all went out to dinner at a local pub called Staropramen. Even though Coach Patterson encouraged us to branch out and try some of the local cuisine we all stuck with good ole’ grilled chicken. I’m thinking after today, and one day of European life under our belt, we may get a little more adventurous and sample something a little more authentic! The food was great and we all enjoyed listening to the local music playing throughout the restaurant. But for any of our younger fans that are wondering what the music is like over here...they seem to be big fans of Rihanna!

 

After dinner the entire team walked around Prague’s Old Town District. I think it took us approximately an hour to make it about 4 blocks because we stopped every 5 steps or so to snap a dozen pictures! It seems surreal that we are in such a historical city and we are documenting every last second of it. At the end of the night I convinced some of the girls and a few coaches to go on a Ghost Tour in the Old Town District. Our hopes were high that we would get to hear some really spooky ghost stories and boy did we get what we asked for! It’s amazing how in America we incarcerate murderers but over here they make them into gigantic statues!! My favorite part during the tour was when we went to an old Jewish district and got to look into a Jewish cemetery where the bodies are buried 8 people deep. It was really sad but very meaningful for all of us to get to see a piece of that time period. Tomorrow we go to a World War II concentration camp, so this evening’s stop really piqued our interest.

 

After the tour, all of us decided it was a good idea to turn it in early. We’ve got a long trip ahead of us, not to mention two basketball games to play (can’t forget about those)!!  It’s really unbelievable to think that this game of basketball has taken all of us halfway across the world. We truly are blessed to have this opportunity and it’s even more special because I’m experiencing it with 9 of my best friends! Stay tuned for more exciting stories to come!

 

GO CATS!!!

Danielle Zanotti

 

 

Danielle’s Diary

Entry #2 June 25

 

Hey Ya’ll!!

Well while you guys were probably experiencing REM sleep we were greeting the sun and preparing for our second day in Europe. We started our day by carbo loading for our long day of sightseeing. While the food made me yearn for my mom’s applesauce muffins and some Frosted Mini-Wheats, the dark haired waiters weren’t bad to look at ;) ! Who knows, maybe some of us will meet some cute Czech boys and you guys will have to cheer for a whole new group of girls next year?! Just kidding!

 

After breakfast we boarded the bus for a day trip to Terezin, a concentration camp in one of the local suburbs. While we drove there our guide, Maria, filled us in on some of the Czechoslovakian history and the different government figures that have been in power. I think we were all in awe at the sheer amount of information Maria knows about such a wide range of topics.  Along the way we got a good view of the beautiful countryside. It was definitely a stark contrast to the terrain we’re accustomed to in Kansas! Oh and just in case you guys were wondering, gas is over 8 dollars a gallon here and has been that way for YEARS. We don’t have much to complain about with our 4 dollar gas anymore when you know that huh?

 

Okay back on topic...Terezin was originally a military fortress and as we drove up to it we could see why. The buildings were surrounded by brick walls and a moat, eliminating any view of the interior. On the east side of the compound there was a National Cemetery memorializing some of the 10,000 victims that died inside of the Gestapo Police Prison and the Jewish Ghetto in Terezin. It was very sobering for all of us to be surrounded by reminders of such a horrible period in history. Before we went into the fortress I took a moment on one of the bridges to think about the people who were kept in these buildings less than 70 years ago. You realize how amazingly blessed we are to live like we do when you think that people our own age were kept in that place and dreamt of just walking around the outside like we were doing today. It puts things into perspective, you know? We got to go on an hour tour of the interior of the compound which included viewing rooms no bigger than a small bedroom that at one time held over 60 Jewish prisoners.  Many of us were in tears when they talked about the living conditions in this camp. It was definitely an experience that we will never forget.

 

Afterwards, we definitely needed to do something that would pick up our spirits. So what else would a bunch of athletic, yet extremely girly basketball girls do? That’s right... shopping! As some of you may know I really like fashion (as do many of my well dressed teammates) so we were pretty excited to see what European-style entailed. Well, we didn’t find much...at least nothing that fit into our budget. Unfortunately for us Valentino and Dior was a little overpriced for our pocketbooks. Ashley (Sweat) and Kari (Kincaid) found some shoes but I guess they don’t carry many options in size 11.  Shana (Wheeler), Marlies (Gipson), and I hit up the local tourist shops for some souvenirs. After about a half hour we scored some sweet post cards, frames, and other cheesy contraband. I’m pretty sure that we got ripped off when we gave them free reign with our Visas! I’m also not a fan of the blatant smack talk about the “gullible tourists” that I’m convinced is occurring when the locals look at us, laugh and exchange banter in Czechoslovakian. Oh well! We just smile and act like they are complimenting our muscles that Coach Greenawalt has worked so hard to develop.

 

We all went out to dinner at this fancy little restaurant called Barock. The dcor was very modern European and the food was delicious. Oh, I forgot to mention that it was pouring rain on the way there and we had to make a mad dash for the restaurant so that our well put together outfits stayed dry. After dinner the rain had let up so we went for some zmrzlina (ice cream) down the street. According to Kelsey Nelson it was the best caramel cream ice cream she’s had in her entire life. And take my word for it, it was! Afterwards, some of the girls walked to the Charles Bridge to get a nighttime view of the majestic Prague Castle. We are taking a tour of there on Friday so the rest of us headed back to the hotel for a little R&R. I myself decided to hit up the rooftop pool and hot tub to get some reading done. Ashley and I always have our noses in books. The other girls spent the rest of the night hanging out and emailing family members back home to fill them in on our day’s activities. But don’t worry, you guys are getting a much more detailed and exciting version then them!

 

We play our first game tomorrow, so next time I hope to be writing you guys telling you about an awesome win!

 

Na shledanou (Goodbye), Danielle