Aug. 3, 2011

Freshman Courtney Larson talks about the first few days of practice and the upcoming trip

OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami women's basketball team's historic trip to Turkey and Greece is only five days away. The RedHawks continued to take advantage of the NCAA rule that allows them to practice before the trip, having another solid workout on Wednesday. Miami has a full schedule prepared for its 10-day trip, making sure the student-athletes have a nice mixture of competitive game play, as well as the opportunity to learn about two unique cultures. What follows is the Red and White's official itinerary for the trip.

Monday, Aug. 8 - Miami will spend all of Monday traveling on its way to Istanbul, Turkey. The RedHawks will leave from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport in the morning on a flight to New York's JFK Airport. After a layover, the team will then take a 10 hour, 10 minute flight that lands at Istanbul International Airport. Since Turkey and Greece are seven hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone, by the time Miami lands it will already be Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, Aug. 9 - The RedHawks will spend the morning on a panoramic tour of Old Istanbul, seeing the difference in a city that has a lot of old and historic architecture mixed in with modern high tech buildings. Afterwards, the team will check into its hotel and rest as it adjusts to the time change.

Wednesday, Aug. 10 - In the morning, Miami will visit several historic spots in Istanbul. The current plan is to see the Museum of Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar Market, the Underground Cistern, the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace and the Hippodrome. In the afternoon, the RedHawks will be in action for the first time as they travel to the 12,500 seat Abdi Ipekci Arena to take on the Galatasaray Junior Team. Galatasaray is the biggest sports club in Turkey and its senior teams compete in the highest level leagues in soccer, men's basketball and women's basketball.

Thursday, Aug. 11 - The RedHawks will take a boat tour down the Bosphorus in the morning. The Bosphorus is a strait in the middle of Istanbul that officially separates the continents of Europe and Asia. Turkey is one of only two countries in the world (Russia being the other) that is located on two different continents. Miami will then return to Abdi Ipecki Arena in the evening to take on the Galatasaray Senior Team in its second game of the tour.

Friday, Aug. 12 - Miami will be up early Friday morning to bus over to Istanbul International Airport. A short one-hour, 25-minute flight to Athens awaits to bring the RedHawks to the second part of their trip. Once the team has cleared customs, they will take a bus tour of the city, stopping for lunch at Daphne's, a historic downtown eatery. After checking into their new hotel, the RedHawks will be on their own the rest of the day to shop, eat and sightsee.

Saturday, Aug. 13 - The RedHawks will take an all-day cruise to three different Greek Islands. The ports include the islands of Poros, Hydra and Aegina. The island of Hydra is known for the fact that no motorized vehicles are allowed. People either walk or ride donkeys wherever they need to go.

Sunday, Aug. 14 - In the morning, Miami will take a boat tour of the Corinth Canal, a canal built in the 1880s that connects the Gulf of Corinth to the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. The RedHawks will then bus to the ruins of Ancient Corinth in the afternoon to tour one of the largest Roman townships in the Ancient Greek era.

Monday, Aug. 15 - This is the day Greece celebrates the Assumption of Mary holiday, which means banks, government offices and stores will be closed. However, the RedHawks will still be able to enjoy a full day of activities. Miami will be taking a full-day tour of Ancient Athens, visiting the Acropolis (the picture of which is at the top of the Turkey/Greece homepage), Olympic Stadium, the Temple of Zeus and the National Guards. After which the team will check into a new hotel in the area and spend the rest of the day on its own to sightsee and shop.

Tuesday, Aug. 16 - Miami's final full day in Athens is somewhat open at the moment as the RedHawks finalize their game plans. The team will take on the Athens All-Stars in its third and final contest on the trip, but the game time is not yet set. Miami will use the rest of the day to do some last-minute shopping and sightseeing before returning home.

Wednesday, Aug. 17 - The RedHawks will head home. They will fly from Athens International Airport in the morning returning to JFK in New York. That will be a 10-hour, 55 minute flight. After clearing customs, the RedHawks will board another flight back to Cincinnati, arriving back in Oxford in the evening.

The 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 2011-12 season.