Overseas Blog Part Two: Gaffney and Squires
March 7, 2018

Part One: Overseas Blog: Maddie Gaffney and Sydney Squires

With the University of Minnesota just a few days away from their trip to Italy, the Gophers already have two student-athletes who are in Europe. Maddie Gaffney and Sydney Squires check in with their monthly blog about their semester in Europe. 

Gaffney and Squires both are coming off their final season of eligibility in 2017. Gaffney finished the season with one goal and two assists while Squires finished with 14 goals and three assists for the Gophers. Read their experiences through their eyes: 

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Ciao di nuovo amici (Hello again friends)!

We are back, and still extremely busy! It’s been about a month since our last post, and very similar to the last post, it’s been a month full of class and traveling. Within the past month our classes have ramped up as midterms approached just this past week. Midterms meant spring break was following shortly after, so we were able to push through a harder few weeks of school to be rewarded with essentially two weeks off.

Since we last left off we have traveled to quite a few different places. If you didn’t catch our last post, we traveled to Switzerland, Greece, and France all within the first month. The week following Paris, France, we stayed in Italy and spent two of our three days in Florence, and one day in Venice. Our first day that weekend was spent catching up on sleep and homework. The next day we traveled to Venice to spend a day at the Carnival. Venice was absolutely gorgeous, as it is a city that is surrounded by water and connected through bridges all over the city. We got to experience the Venice Carnival as we were able to walk around to experience it a little bit, looking at all the different individuals dress up in many different costumes, and many with very intricate and stunning masks. During our day trip to Venice we took a gondola ride through the water ‘streets’ of Venice, and also saw a glass blowing demonstration, which was absolutely mind blowing. The demonstrator made a vase within seconds, better yet, he made a perfectly executed horse just within a few minutes. It was a day well spent in Venice, but we were happy to be able to sleep in our own beds and get up the next morning and run the hills of the Piazzale Michelangelo together.


 

 


The next weekend, I (Maddie), was unable to travel with Syd to Budapest in Vienna, due to a mandatory class trip to the city of Pisa that weekend. However, the trip was extremely educational, and I was able to see some of the well known buildings that Pisa is famous for, like the Baptistery, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, and The Cathedral. Despite not being able to travel with friends, I decided to do a day trip to Lucca, Italy, and it has been one of my favorite trips so far. The city of Lucca is an extremely small city and it is a city that is walled. So I spent part of the day biking on top of the walls and got some amazing views of the city, after a morning filled with exercise, I climbed a tower, and got even better views of the entire city. The rest of the day was spent touring various churches since that is what they are known for and shopping in their city center. Sunday eventually rolled around, and by then, I was extremely excited for my roommates to get home.

This past week was midterms, so unfortunately, this week we spent a little bit more time on studying and homework to do well on our tests. After a week filled with tests and papers, we were finally officially on spring break! Our first destination was Barcelona, Spain, and both of us agree, it was one of our favorite cities we’ve been to. It gave us a California vibe, as our hostel was just a mile from the beach. The big event in Barcelona was watching the Barcelona Futbol team play, and seeing Messi do his thing and score four goals. Sound like someone else we know? Sydney! I think yes.


Our next stop was Madrid, Spain. It unfortunately rained nearly the whole time we were there, so, we killed a lot of time shopping in its well known shopping center. Safe to say, we probably spent a lot more money than we should have, sorry parents! Before we left Spain, we managed to see a Flamenco show. We have both never seen anything like it, but wow, could those dancers dance. Our last stop was Lisbon, Portugal, we walked around, went on a walking tour, shopped a little more (sorry again parents) and also took a day trip to Sintra, Portugal. Sintra was extremely gorgeous, and was a city filled with green and fresh smells. We spent the day riding around in little car called a Tuk Tuk, and saw the entire city within an hour and a half. Our tour guide definitely knew how to put on a show, as our drive felt like a roller coaster.

The next day we left Portugal and headed back to Florence, and we are currently re-packing to leave the next day to go to Sicily for a program excursion for a week. Here we will take Italian classes through an Italian school, while immersing ourselves in the Mafia culture and Italian culture. After we return in a week, the team will be wheels up and on their way to Italy! We are planning on traveling around with them to Rome and Milan to experience more of Italy with them and watch them play against local teams. We cannot wait!

Arrivederci (Goodbye, see you later)!

Maddie and Syd

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