Jayhawks Abroad | Europe Travel Blog

May 27 | Venice, Italy
by Rachel Hickman

My first time in Italy was nothing short of amazing! The buildings and architecture in Venice were stunning and the streets were lined with shops, vendors selling souvenir, and tourists. A group of five of us girls wandered around the city shopping until we got to the main square. We found an authentic Italian restaurant near the square where we ate lunch. The food was delicious! We ordered calzones, pizzas, and pastas. After lunch we shopped more around the square and found a gelato shop where we stopped for a break. Once again, amazing!

One of my favorite parts of visiting Venice was getting the chance to branch out and spend time with different teammates. Once we reached Venice, our tour guide gave us freedom to roam the city for most of the day. I found myself in a group with Jacqui Mostrom, Riley Foltz, Morgan Christon, and Sara Nielsen. We had so much fun together and built some amazing memories while we roamed the city.

Our whole Kansas group left the hotel on Monday morning and took a pretty and peaceful walk to the train station. From there we got on a train and spent around half an hour getting to Venice. Once we reached Venice, it was walking from there on out.

On Sunday evening we got to add another Jayhawk to our caravan here in Europe. Our bus made its way to the airport to pick up Morgan Christon, a Texas native who had just graduated from high school. We greeted her with cheers and clapping. The team had spent a long day traveling through Slovenia and Italy. Getting to see Morgan and have her join our party gave many of us the energy to get through the rest of the boat ride. We finally reached our hotel and spent a relaxing evening and a nice dinner to get caught up with Morgan.

My time in Europe has been an experience I will never forget. I have gotten to try, see, taste, and experience so many new things. The bonding time with my teammates and coaches has been amazing and I can’t wait to see how these bonds will continue to grow and benefit our team this coming season. I am so thankful for this opportunity that being a Jayhawk has given me.

Kansas Jayhawks

May 27 | Venice, Italy
by Ashley Smith

The travel from Maribor to Bled and Venice was long but worth every minute. When we stepped off the bus in Bled, the scenery was beyond beautiful. I was in awe the whole time. We took a water taxi to the island and stayed for a couple of hours, I shopped, ate gelato (the best I’ve had so far) and hung out with my teammates until it was time to go to Venice for the night.

My favorite part of Bled was the gelato, I had the flavor crème cake and… It was the best dessert I’ve had. Definitely would go back just for the gelato.

Our travel to Venice was pretty cool. I had never been on a train before so today was my first time ever! Venice is so beautiful, all of the people, shops and restaurants were so nice. Traveling and seeing such different places such as Venice, where the water in woven in between the city is so different from what we’re use to and is something that I’ll remember forever.

I’ve been hanging out with everyone, but the one that I’ve talked to the most is Allie (Nelson)! She’s the best person to be around and I love her with all my heart! Something memorable with her is honestly the whole trip! We understand that it’s our last year here so we want to take in and soak everything in while we’re here. We’re definitely not taking this trip for granted.

In Maribor the whole team took a nice morning stroll on bikes to the town’s center. Even though we were told that it wouldn’t be a good idea to record and ride a bike I was being a daredevil and did it anyways … it was a horrible idea. I ended up crashing, flying over my handle bars head first on to the ground, but somehow I didn’t get a scrape, cut or bruise from my fall, which everyone who saw was very shocked about because I fell pretty hard. It was the funniest thing, and what makes it even funnier is that I recorded the whole thing on my phone! I showed the whole team and now it’s just a funny memorable video that we all laugh at.

Kansas Jayhawks

May 21 | Prague, Czech Republic
by Jacqui Mostrom

Day three in Prague has been so fun! This morning the team made a second trip to Old Town Square to spend a couple hours exploring, shopping and eating. We split into a couple groups to explore the city. Riley Foltz, Rachel Hickman, and I went to a local market within the city that had fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more. There were tables after tables of handmade goods and tourist souvenirs. We were able to visit with locals and purchase a couple of gifts for friends and family back home! Afterwards, we stopped for lunch at a panini shop near the market on our way back. The food was nothing short of amazing! Their lemonade was homemade; mixed with oranges, strawberries, fresh squeezed lemonade, and mint. The bread was freshly made and the paninis were grilled right in front of us. We then made our way back to the hotel to rest our legs and prepare for our match against the Czech Republic national team later in the evening.

After having spent a few days here, we’ve been able to try many different types of Czech meals. As a whole, it’s clear that people take special care to eat freshly cooked and quality food. It’s very difficult to pick a favorite, but if I had to I’d say it was the meal we ate after our first international match; a three course meal that consisted of (soup), Schnitzel, and a banana split. I had never had (soup) or Schnitzel, but was surprised by the richness and flavor that they both had. Needless to say, the banana split just topped it all off.

Our first international match was really fun! It felt good to get back on the court and compete again – a privilege that most teams aren’t experiencing at this point in time. The European balls are very different to play with, but we were able to adjust quickly! I was surprised by the level of contribution from our newcomers, Riley Foltz and Sarah Nielsen, they have been so much fun to have on the trip and have been great teammates and competitors. I’m excited to keep competing with them for the rest of our time here in Europe.

The Czech Republic national team was a great match to play for our opening game. They were very competitive. Each set we played against them was an improvement for us. They definitely made us better and we have clear strengths and improvements that we can work on moving forward to our future games.

I would definitely recommend friends and family to visit Prague. The city itself has so much history. The architecture is beautiful, unlike any I have ever seen before. The buildings stand strong and tall even though they are centuries old. I have never been outside of the United States before and experiencing Prague has changed my worldview completely. There’s so much beauty in the world, yet I have only seen such a small bit of it. Prague has opened my eyes to how big our world is, and I can’t help but be thankful just to be here. I think anyone who visits Prague wouldn’t regret it because it has so much to offer!

May 21 | Prague, Czech Republic

May 19-20 | Prague, Czech Republic
by Camryn Ennis

At first I was pretty nervous about the long flight and going out of the United State for the first time, but traveling with the team was a super fun experience and I really had nothing to be worried about!

My favorite thing about Prague was being on Charles Bridge, seeing all the different statues and learning about their meaning, looking at the Ferry’s going down the river, and admiring buildings and architecture that were so unreal and beautiful! Also, one of my highlights was spent in the main area of Old Town Square where a man let me use his bubble making machine it was so fun playing with all the little kids!

We got to eat a lot of different foods. Some people went and found great pasta places, while I went and found a cute brunch cafe where I ordered a crepe! We had dinner at a traditional Czech restaurant that served us foods I had never tried before which was cool!

Walking around today and seeing just a part of Prague was already one of the best experiences I’ve ever had! This trip has already been a great bonding experience for this team, and I feel like new bonds are being created between teammates. I cannot wait to see what the rest of this trip has in store for us!