What a day for the Bisons on day one in Italy! The first full ‘day’ was filled with so much excitement and adrenalin. We left Nashville and had a quick trip to Detroit where we had to catch a connecting flight to Rome. The layover was long but the Detroit airport was extremely nice and we were able to wait comfortably. The guys enjoyed their bonding time, everyone found a bite to eat, electronics were fully charged, and Andrew Fleming learned some new skills on a GoPRO.
We boarded the flight and we were on our way. After about eight hours in the air with no issues, we landed around 9:30 a.m. local time, claimed our bags, cleared customs/immigration and began our first full day in Italy!
Our two tour guides, Eric Rasmussen (Basketball Travelers host) and Mattia Trame (Rome native), greeted us with open arms! They took us for a quick bite to eat and then we loaded up and began our bus tour of the city.
During the tour, we were able to see a lot….A LOT more than I anticipated after about 16 hours of sleepless travel. Nonetheless, soaking in all of the culture and architecture was exactly what we all needed to get acclimated.
Rome is a busy city with a large population and a lot of diversity. There is a large number of tourists that wanted to see all of the beautiful sites.
Our first big stop was at the Trevi Fountain. In a word, the Trevi Fountain is GOREGOUS! For those that don’t know, the Trevi Fountain is the most spectacular fountain in Rome that was placed at the intersection of three main roads. Visitors are supposed to throw a coin in with their right hand over their left shoulder and wish for two things: one for love in your life and the other, as is custom, to one day return to Rome. The fountain was surrounded by thousands of people, but most of the guys were able to get up close and make their wishes.
After the Trevi Fountain we moved onto the Pantheon. The Pantheon is a Roman Temple built over 2000 years ago with a domed roof. The architecture of this temple was breathtaking. It’s huge. There were hundreds of people in there just taking in the stunning detail. Several people in our group commented on how amazing it was for something built that long ago to be built so well, and with so much intricate detail.
After a few more brief stops and simply walking the streets of Rome, we made are way to the hotel at about 2:30 p.m. to get checked-in. The rest of the day consisted of catching up on rest or touring the city alone.
Will Ness, Roger Idstrom, Steve Drabyn and myself walked the city a little more in the evening. We found the Spanish Steps, which is another incredible site. It is the longest and widest staircase in all of Europe. It was constructed in 1723 and consisted of 138 steps. Street vendors and tourists made this area come alive as well.
It is safe to say that most people were in bed early on Day 1 after about 24 hours of travel and touring. We were quickly immersed into Roman culture, but there is so much more to come!