May 8, 2012

OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University volleyball team left the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport Tuesday, May 8 to begin its 12-day European adventure. The RedHawks continued to take advantage of the NCAA rule that allows them to practice before the trip, having another solid workout in the morning before boarding the bus to the airport. While overseas, the RedHawks will visit three countries, play five exhibition contests and have countless educational experiences as they learn about some unique cultures. What follows is the Red and White's official itinerary for the trip.

Wednesday, May 9: Miami will complete a long day of traveling, as it will fly from Cincinnati to Dulles Airport just outside of Washington, D.C., followed with a flight to Frankfort, Germany, which leads it to its final destination of Vienna, Austria. The RedHawks will land in Vienna at 2:05 p.m. local time, which is six hours ahead of Oxford. They will head to the hotel and try to get loose after the long flight, as they will only have a few hours to rest before they head off for their first match. Miami will take on VC Simmerring, a local club that trains youth volleyball players.

Thursday, May 10: This day will be used to explore Vienna, the capital and largest city in Austria. The players will take a walking tour of the city in the morning, and have the afternoon to sightsee on their own.

Friday, May 11: The RedHawks will head off for the second part of their trip, as they will take a two-and-a-half hour bus ride through the Austrian countryside and across the border to Maribor, Slovenia. Once there, Miami will sightsee through the city, which is the second-largest in Slovenia. At night, the RedHawks will take on the Slovenian Junior National Team in their second match. That team is made up of the best 17 and 18-year old volleyball players in the country.

Saturday, May 12: Miami will explore the Logarska Dolina park in northern Slovenia on this day. This beautiful landscape is nestled deep in the heart of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and was once the site of a huge glacier during the last Ice Age. In the evening, the RedHawks will take on OK Sempeter, a Slovenian club team, for its third match.

Sunday, May 13: The Kamnik-Savinja Alps are a secondary part of that famous mountain chain and are located in both northern Slovenia and southern Austria. In the morning, Miami will take part in a ropes course activity, followed by a picnic lunch up high in one of the mountains. In the afternoon, the Red and White will put on a volleyball clinic for the children of Maribor.

Monday, May 14: The RedHawks will get back on the bus and cross over into Italy as they travel to Pordenone. The trip will take a little over three hours, but will be broken up with a stop in Trieste along the way. While in Trieste, Miami will sightsee and visit the Miramare Castle, which was built in the 19th century for Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium. Once they reach Pordenone, the RedHawks will have their fourth match of the trip when they take on Porcia Club, a club team that plays in the Federazione Italiana Pallavolo (Italian Volleyball Federation).

Tuesday, May 15: Miami will take a day trip from Pordenone to the historic city of Venice. While there, the team will have all day to sightsee and perhaps take a boat ride down one of its famous canals.

Wednesday, May 16: The RedHawks will hit the road once again to their final destination of the trip, Rome. It's a long trip, nearly a six-hour bus ride. Once again, the volleyball team will break up the travel with a stop in Florence, which is along the way. Miami will eat lunch at an authentic Italian restaurant while in Florence and spend about five hours sightseeing before heading back to the bus to complete its trip to Rome.

Thursday, May 17: The team will visit the Vatican at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. There they will see several historical sites related to the Catholic Church, including a planned stop at St. Peter's Basilica. That evening, the RedHawks will have their final match of the trip when they take on Volleyrò Roma, a famous club based in Rome.

Friday, May 18: Miami will spend its final day in Europe exploring all that Rome has to offer. It will include a visit to the ruins of the Coloseum, which was used as a stadium and amphitheater during the heyday of the Roman Empire.

Saturday, May 19: The RedHawks will return home, leaving at 11:10 a.m. from Rome on a flight bound for the United States.

This trip has a lot involved to it and will test the student-athletes physically, but it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will hopefully allow them to learn and bond as a team as they head into the 2012 season.