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<i>Buon Giorno!</i> - Loyola Women's Basketball Italian Countryside Tour - Day Two

Aug. 22, 2008

Welcome to "Buon Giorno!" a daily diary of the Loyola women's basketball team's trip to Italy. Check back to loyolagreyhounds.com for daily photo galleries and updates on the trip.

Day Two - Photo Gallery
Day One Update

Day One - Photo Gallery

COMO, Italy - After a much-welcome good night's sleep, the Greyhounds and travel party were up with an 8 a.m. wake up call at the Hotel Leonardo di Vinci in Erba. An Italian breakfast at the hotel consisted of various meats and cheeses, as well as fresh local pastries, fruit, fresh-squeezed orange juice, cereals, and, of course, plenty of café.

With fuel in their stomachs, the team left for Como, a town of over 80,000 residents, about 20 minutes from the hotel. Upon arrival, the group boarded a private charter boat for a cruise around Lake Como. One of the largest and deepest - the lake is as deep as 650-feet in some parts - lakes in Europe, Lake Como is also full of scenic views and famous people.

The weather on the boat was near-perfect, as a slightly overcast sky did not make it too warm, or too chilly. Calm water prevailed on the ride, as the captain took the team by several small towns that line the lake. Homes are build right to the edge of the water, and rather than having garages for automobiles, the homes have boat garages where occupants can pull their watercraft directly into.

About 20 minutes into the ride, the team got a thrill as they pulled alongside the home of George Clooney. While the actor did not appear to be home, it was worth the view and to take several pictures of the mansion. Among the other homes on the lake are ones owned by Virgin mogul Richard Branson and a huge estate used in the filming of a Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Another villa was used in the filming of Clooney's Ocean's 12, and the lake was the back drop for scenes in a 2006 James Bond movie, Casino Royale.

Lake Como is shaped in an upside down `Y,' and the boat then docked at a small town, Bellagio, where all three branches connect. Built into the hillside, Bellagio has up-and-down terrain that includes beautiful homes, villas, shops, restaurants and hearts. Walking through the area, however, is not for the unfit, as there are steps and slopes everywhere.

After about an hour in Bellagio, where much of the team shopped or had a snack, it was back to Como. There, the group split up with time for lunch and to explore the city.

Como is surrounded on three sides by walls that were used at one time as a fortress to keep invading parties at bay. The lake and waterfront promenade take up the other side of the town and creates a scenic vista for tourists and residents.

The group boarded its tour bus back to the hotel at about 4 p.m. to rest for the night's game. After an hour's ride into Switzerland and the town of Gravesano, the team pulled up to the gym to face the Swiss National Team.

The Greyhounds had moments of great play, but in the end, the National Team was too much for Loyola. The Swiss came away with a 53-39 victory.

Meredith Tolley led Loyola with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Melissa Bangay and Kaitlin Grant added eight and seven boards, respectively.

Tomorrow, the team will say goodbye to the Lombardy region and head to Verona. A tour of the Capulets' home where Romeo and Juliet's balcony scene took place, will be a prelude to a ferry ride to Venice where Loyola will play its second game of the tour.

Be sure to check back for more details of the tour. Ciao!