Jayhawks in Europe: Tayler Soucie

From May 18-30, Kansas volleyball is embarking on a European training trip aimed at combining cultural education with intense practices and competition. The team will play six matches, sandwiched between training sessions and travel destinations in Italy, France and Spain. The Jayhawks have graciously accepted the task of keeping their fans, family and KU volleyball supporters in the loop on what the team is up to on a daily basis. Check back each day of the trip to hear a different player’s perspective. Tayler Soucie wrote about Sunday’s events.
Day 6 – Varazze, Italy to Nice, France to Toulon, France
Bonjour! We made our way to Toulon, France today after a quick morning in Varzzee, Italy and a four-hour stop in Nice, France. This morning, some of us decided to sleep in, while others either attended a small local mass or enjoyed some exploring. Personally, I attended mass. It was quite the experience as the whole mass was spoken in Italian, and the cathedral was very small – small but gorgeous! One of my favorite parts of the trip has been seeing all the cathedrals! The time they spent (or continue to spend) on each building is amazing. Once the mass was over, we headed back to the hotel to pack our bags for our next journey – first stop: Nice.
 At the French hat store with a
friendly local. (Photo courtesy of
Tayler Soucie)
Nice is the second-biggest city on the Mediterranean Sea. It sees about four million tourists a year and is often called Nice la belle, meaning “Nice the beautiful”. There was a flower market with many beautiful flowers and fresh fruit. Along the beach shores is the Promenade Des Anglais, which is one of the most interesting spots in Nice. That also happened to be where we visited. The trip to Nice was about two hours. I think we all fell asleep until Kiki (our tour guide) told us we were in France. Then it was, of course, necessary for all of us to pull out our phones and take pictures in attempt to savior the moment and show everyone back home.
Once we got to Nice, we once again found our meeting place and split ways. While one group headed to McDonald’s craving some familiar food and others hiked up many flights of stairs to see another castle and a great view, my group headed into a local shop to find some French perfume! The 9-15 Euro cost was much better than the typical $20 or more back home. We then set out for some French food to take in some culture. Maggie Anderson wanted to try some rabbit, but us others decided that was too much culture for us! We settled for some sandwiches and casserole that were typical of France. My casserole had breading on both the top and bottom and was filled with rice, spinach, and sautéed onions. It was really good! We even treated ourselves to some dessert! Mine was a tart made from almonds and Claire Carpenter decided to try a lemon tart with strawberries and whip cream. Both were very delicious!
We checked out some more of the local shops (including a hat shop with a very nice French man) and the gorgeous flowers and then headed down to the shore. This beach was different because it was all smooth rocks and not sand. We managed to take a few pictures, even one with a local who was just married (supposedly). By the time we were done looking over the gorgeous blue waters, it was time to head back to the bus for another two-hour drive to Toulon, France. Here, we are staying in a Holiday Inn, finally some comfy beds and little piece of America to give us a good night’s rest.
For dinner, we went to a diner with a very upbeat waiter. He was full of energy and even took a selfie with Kiki when we asked him to take a picture of all of us! Hilarious! Some of us got a hamburger while others tried something new. Anna Church, Maggie and Addie Barry decided on muscles and Janae Hall tried tartare, which is a French dish of raw meat that you add your own spices and oils to. I tried the muscles and did not like them – and refused to try the raw me.t! That texture gets me! However, Janae and everyone else that tried it seemed to love it! After a little dessert, we went down to the center and saw a gorgeous hotel and fountain! I’m not sure what the name of it was since it was a quick visit. With our tummies full and a comfy bed, I think we will all be sleeping well tonight before our long trip to Toulouse, France tomorrow!
 French beaches with
tiny stones – not sand!
(Photo courtesy of 
Tayler Soucie)Au reviour (goodnight)!
Coming up on day eight: Claire Carpenter
Associate athletic director Jim Marchiony, the volleyball senior administrator on the trip, added another historical trip to the recount of the day’s events.  
Historical Spotlight – Colline du Chateau
To make up for that lunch Ray and Pam Bechard and I ate, we took a good, healthy walk up some 300 steps to Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau), which is now more hill than castle. It has a gorgeous view of Bay of Angels below. The Nice medieval castle used to stand on this site, but it was partially ruined in the 17th Century; it disappeared completely in 1706. 
The real attraction, though, is the view of the sea and the city below. Just what you’d expect when you think of the words French Riviera. We took a little different path on the way down than we had on the way up; we thought we might have gotten ourselves a little off course, but when we got to street level we looked to our left and staring us in the face was the place we had eaten lunch.