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Navy Women's Soccer Euro Tour 2012 Blog - Part Two

The Navy women's soccer team in Madrid.

March 20, 2012

 Photo Gallery

Madrid, Spain - Sophomore goalkeeper Elizabeth Hoerner's second and final installment of the Navy women's soccer team's Spring Break trip to Spain and London. Hoerner covers Navy's second game of the week and sightseeing in Madrid, Toledo and London.

Read Part One of the blog here.

Members of the women's soccer program also met with Clint Dempsey, a member of the U.S. Men's National Team and a forward on Fulham after an English Premier League game. Click on the above photo gallery to see a picture of Dempsey with the team, as well as an assortment of other photos.


Thursday, March 15 | Happy Birthday Talia!
We woke up early today ready to explore the beautiful city of Madrid and pumped for our second match of the trip tonight. After breakfast, we met our Madrid guide, started rolling around the city on our tour bus and learned a ton of interesting historical facts about the city. We covered all the must-see touristy spots by bus from Argentina Square to Columbus Square, then it was time to venture through the city by foot and check out the awesome architectural details on the buildings, churches and statues from a closer point of view. We unloaded the bus and made our way up through Plaza Mayor, where we snacked on some tapas at a fresh market, then through Puerta del Sol, and past the Museo de Jamón ... you can never get enough ham over here, that's for sure! After a long walk as a group, we eventually found ourselves outside of our next stop - the legendary Museo del Prado. We took a team picture in front of the Goya statue, but then it was time for the first adult group picture of the trip, highlighted by Rob Blanck's innate ability to strike a pose for the camera. Once we broke up into our two tour groups, we began strolling through one of the most famous museums in the world. We were amazed by the paintings of El Greco, Velázquez, and Bosch, and the stories behind each one. I think a team favorite was definitely "Las Meninas" by Velázquez because of the way the painting changed from different perspectives. As newly self-proclaimed art historians, we went back to the hotel for an early pre-game meal. However, it was not our typical pre-game meal, as we also had a birthday celebration for coach Carin Gabarra's daughter, Talia, who turned eleven today!

Juego de Fútbol
Tonight we played under the lights at a professional level facility against Rayo Vallecano (1st Division), the reigning champions of Spain's top women's league for the past three years. Warmed up and looking forward to finishing the soccer part of our trip on a positive note, we got of to a great start with an early goal from Paloma Perez. About two minutes into the game Morgan Dankanich crossed a ball into the box from the left, which Perez finished into the upper left corner. Sam Lee finished the second goal in the second half from a cross by defender Julie Schumacher. We ended the game with a 2-0 victory and had the opportunity to talk to some of the Spanish players after the game. After a long day of touring and exploring, and a hard fought victory, we were exhausted and ready for some much needed rest!

Friday, March 15 |Time for some Toledo, Touring and Tapas
This morning we headed straight for Toledo, which was about an hour bus ride from the city. Toledo at one time was the capital of Spain and served as an important military, cultural, and political center of the country. In addition, many of the renowned painters that we learned about yesterday had roots in Toledo, reflected in the artistic influence throughout the city. After briefly stopping at a lookout at top of the hill for a breathtaking view of the city, we toured a sword manufacturing company and watched a man in the process of making a sword in front of a hot fire. The factory that we visited still produces swords for the U.S. Army today ... GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY! However for seniors Kate Herren and Amanda Serfass, I am sure seeing the hundreds of swords provided a little bit of motivation to get back to USNA noon meal formations next week! We also saw the intricate process of creating damascene pieces by hand and then shopped in the factory's store, picking up some great deals on jewelry and gifts to bring home. We wandered through the narrow winding streets as our tour guide showed us places like the Alcazar military fortress, Zocodover Square, and the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo. We had about an hour of free time to check out the sword shops, cafés, and fresh markets before making our way back to the base of the hill to our bus. The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the shops in Puerta del Sol and its surrounding streets before heading back to the hotel. We had our farewell dinner this evening at Restaurante Puerta Grande where it was our last chance to enjoy some Spanish cuisine consisting of tapas and beef. The meal served as a great celebration our trip, our victories, our friendships, and our NWS family! Spain has certainly treated us well with great weather, awesome views, interesting sights and most importantly lots of laughs, but we are all looking forward to London tomorrow!

Friday-Saturday, March 16-17 | Mind the Gap
After one last early wake up in Madrid and breakfast in the hotel, we headed to the airport, and before we knew it, we arrived in London around lunchtime. As expected, the rainy, dreary weather was a bit different from sunny Spain, but it didn't stop us from taking advantage of every minute here! Our tour guide, Lucy, provided us with some basic information on the London lifestyle, traditions, history and language on our bus transit into the city. We learned that for the next two days we would have to ask for "the bill" instead of "the check" at restaurants, we would "draw the curtains " in our hotel rooms, and use "the loo" instead of "the bathroom." With our newly acquired London lingo, and our awesome British accents, we were excited to explore, shop, sightsee and hop on the Tube and double-decker buses after we checked in to our hotel. Between the various groups of players and parents, I think it is fair to say that we were able to cover all of London, Old and New, East to West, within twenty-four hours. From Big Ben to Buckingham Palace, to Westminster Abby, The Tower of London, Kensington Palace, the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, the Covent Gardens, The London Eye, Harrods and Speakers Corner, we were able to check several items off the "must-see" list and still manage to get some shopping in despite the time crunch. We left for the airport around lunchtime on Sunday and really enjoyed our brief stint in London. Fast forward to July and August, we will be cheering on Team USA in the London Olympics as we see some familiar sights on TV!

From Britain to Bancroft
Our transportation throughout the trip has run very smoothly, however our ride to the airport turned out to add a little excitement to our "planes, trains and automobiles" adventure! During our commute to the airport, one of the side doors of the luggage compartment happened to pop open while traveling full speed around a roundabout ... followed by a flying piece of luggage ... resulting in a fairly chaotic reaction from the team to stop the bus! Don't worry, thanks to the valiant efforts of Alex and Hannah Legler, they retrieved the suitcase, made sure no other bags were M.I.A., and managed to cause quite the scene as we laughed from inside the bus. Thankfully, the doors below the bus cooperated for the rest of the commute. We checked in, used up our foreign coins souvenir shopping and only had to deal with a short flight delay. The remainder of the trip went well as we attempted to catch up on our sleep for the week ... and maybe get some homework done. Overall, this trip was a great bonding experience for our team. We learned a ton, tried new food, played well, and most importantly we shared a lot of laughs and enjoyed our time away from school before we hit the ground running full speed on Monday. Thanks again to all of our supporters, fans and families ... we missed you all!

-- Elizabeth Hoerner




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