Jayhawks in Europe: Claire Carpenter

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. Claire Carpenter did the writing on Monday.

 Inside of the Arena of Nimes 
(Photo courtesy of Jim Marchiony)Day 8 – Toulon to Nimes to Montpellier to Toulouse, France
It has been a week since our European adventure officially began. We’re all starting to get the hang of the traveling style. Last night we stayed in a very “American” hotel (Holiday Inn) haha, which everyone was pumped about and took full advantage of the great Wi-Fi and soft beds.
Today has been a long day. We had breakfast in Toulon, France then made our way to Nimes, where we spent most of the day shopping, eating and spending time at the Feria de Nimes, an annual festival held there. The festival lasts four days and it includes bull fighting and horse shows. The arena was beautiful and reminded us of what European culture would actually look like – and was from ancient Roman times!
We got on the road again, visited Montpellier for a few hours and continued on our way to spend the night in Toulouse. It’s been a long traveling day, but we’re ready to play again tomorrow and continue our European fun!
Coming up on day nine: Ainise Havili
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 – Arena of Nimes
The first site we saw was the Arena of Nimes, built in 70 A.D., as an amphitheater and redesigned in 1863 as a bullring; it hosts two bullfights each year, and today was one of those days. The arena seats – are you ready for this, Jayhawk fans? – 16,300!
 Sainte Perpetue Church
(Photo courtesy of Claire Carpenter)There was a bullfight in progress when we arrived, so we could not get in.  I asked an usher if I could go in briefly just to take a photo; he gave me the Dikembe Mutombo finger wave: “No, no, no, no.” At about 2:00 p.m., when the crowd was letting out, an usher let me in. It’s just breathtaking that something that big built so long ago can still be functional as an arena.