Back in the USA

We are back in the USA!!

After an awesome trip and an amazing experience, it definitely feels good to be back in our home country.
Starting from where we left off in our last post, Day 5 brought more amazing site seeing. We got to see the Notre Dame church which was spectacular AND we went to Louvre, which is a museum which houses the Mona Lisa painting. Later in the night we traveled to a small town in France for our fifth game. The team didn’t turn out to be much competition, but the after dinner and fun they provided was irreplaceable. Again, France showed us some great hospitality.
Day 6 was a travel day. We drove from France to amsterdam which is about a 7 hour bus ride.  After we checked into our hotel we went to a ” river party” at the house of the coordinator of our games in amsterdam.  His family and his neighbors prepared a BBQ feast for us.  There was so much food and alcohol…..they were joking that their plan was to get us too fat and drunk to be able to play well the next day.  Although their plan didn’t end up working, the hospitality and friendliness of these strange Dutch families was incredible.
Day 7 was our first full day in Amsterdam. We started the morning off by touring the Anne Frank house. This was a very interesting, but sad look back into history. We then spend most of the rest of the day in the gym. The boys team played first, got the win, and then we all did an hour long clinic with around 30 Dutch kids. This was a lot of fun, but also hard since we didn’t speak their language. We, the girls, then had our final game of our trip which ended up being the most competitive and fun game. We were lucky to get to play the U20 National team of Holland. they happen to be in the area for training camp. The game was close the whole way, but USA ended up pulling out the win, 66-64. We ended the night celebrating in downtown Amsterdam, which we found to be a very weird/bizarre/but fun place at night.
Day 8 we started with a boat tour down the famous channels of amsterdam.  Most people however, due to the craziness of the previous night, were rocked right to sleep and missed the entire tour hahaha.  After the boat tour we were given some free time and so we took a taxi to a different part of town and had a delicious lunch at an adorable lunchroom.  We also got our hands on a VERY informative pamphlet about Amsterdam.  Did you know that amsterdam was the first city to legalize gay marriage? I didn’t! After that we took the bus to the Heineken brewery, which was a lot of fun actually! We learned how the beer is made and the brewery has a number of fun interactive activities to do as you learn about beer! For dinner we went to the hard rock cafe.  Overall, we had an amazing time on this trip.  All the discomfort of being in a foreign country was washed away every night when we played basketball.  Everyone was so accommodating and friendly, it was truly a positive experience.
Thanks for reading!!
Neva and Kristina

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