#Seawolves Overseas: Costello's third and final installment

Kaitlin Costello

July 22, 2014

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Former Stony Brook volleyball player Kaitlin Costello ’14 is in Europe representing Stony Brook and the United States in the Bring it Promotions Global Challenge, where she is playing for BIP-USA. In her final installment, she talks about the end of a trip of a lifetime. For more her journey, see her blogs GoSeawolves.org. Be sure to follow @StonyBrookVB and @SBAthletics on Twitter and like Stony Brook Volleyball on Facebook at Facebook.com/StonyBrookVolleyball.

Well this is my last entry, which unfortunately means my trip has come to an end. But hey, all good things come to an end sooner or later; we simply have to hold onto the memories.

When I last checked in, we were about to play a Northern California team. Unfortunately, we lost that match and took eighth place in the under 22 division of the Global Challenge. After we lost, we had all day to do whatever we wanted until the final match, the college national team vs. the Slovenia junior national team at 7 p.m.  Of course, this meant we spent our entire last day basically at the beach. Even though there were a few rain sprinkles here and there, we all stayed.

We then went to watch the final match. It was a very intense five-set match, and the Slovenian junior national team took first place. As soon as the match was over, there were closing ceremonies right at the gym, where awards for given out and each team went up to get a picture and a bottle of wine. Right after the awards, there was a huge pool party back at the hotel with a DJ and all. After staying at the pool party for a little bit, my team decided to go down to the beach restaurant and sing some karaoke.

Friday at 8 a.m. came very quickly and we were off to Venice, Italy. We got there, checked into our hotel that finally had free Wi-Fi and then we took a train into the city of Venice.  Venice is absolutely breathtaking but at the same time very confusing to walk through and very exhausting, especially due to the heat.  We got to see the famous Rialto Bridge that is in many movies, per de san Marco, and much, much more. I got to pick out souvenirs and presents for many people back home, so I would say it was a very productive day. We also finally got the famous Italian pizza, and it was all that it is marked up to be— so delicious!

We decided not to eat dinner in Venice but instead come back near the hotel and find a spot. We found a small place at the corner down the road from our hotel, and I got the best burger you could ever imagine! The next day, Saturday, every one had their flights back home and we were all on a bus to the airport at 9 a.m. Evann and I weren’t flying out until 7 p.m., so we stored our luggage, hopped on a bus and went to do more exploring in Venice. We found the academia center of Venice and the Peggy Guggenheim’s collection of art, which was quite interesting. We also ventured off and found the Santa Maria sanctuary and basilica that had free entrance, where I found many paintings that I have studied in my Stony Brook Spanish classes. This got me very excited because I actually knew what they were about.  We then found a spot along the water that had free Wi-Fi and got some burgers and fries. It was very fulfilling. We then came back to the airport around 4 p.m. for a 5 p.m check-in. We had our short, two-and-a-half-hour flight from Venice into Madrid, where we had a 21-hour layover. This at first sounded like a good idea but ultimately, not so much! We didn’t really realize that the city of Madrid was 40 minutes from the airport and would be 30 euros per person one-way to get there—that’s crazy!

So, we ended up sleeping in the airport. That was a first. But we weren’t alone, there were tons of people here all night, and some restaurants stay open 24 hours. We then decided to at least try and site see a little outside of the airport to get some fresh air before our eight-and-a-half-hour flight.

I have had so much fun on this trip learning the different ways of playing volleyball, making new friends, making memories and going on many exhilarating adventures, but I am very ready to get back home. This was an opportunity of a lifetime and I suggest it to everyone, not only athletes that want to play overseas but all individuals that are able to just travel and see the world for at least a small timeframe! I hope you all enjoyed hearing about our adventures, I know I’ve enjoyed reminiscing and writing about them!