May 14, 2013
PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Each day throughout the team's European Tour, a different member of the Purdue volleyball team will share a journal about the events of the day. On Tuesday, Carly Cramer talked about a unique breakfast, visiting Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral and more.
The day in this beautiful city started off with a breakfast that was a little different, needless to say. This breakfast had about every type of bread to choose from along with a wide variety of cheeses. We knew we had a long sightseeing/playing day ahead of us so we had to carb up for the lengthy day. After breakfast we were on our way to the famous Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. In order to get there we had to go up a very big hill and we all rode in a contraption that I would explain as an oversized ski-lift, which was quite interesting. While walking to the castle we passed a series of beautiful buildings that were absolutely breathtaking. We walked past shops, cafes, and bakeries that all seemed as if they could be on a postcard.
After arriving at the entrance of the castle, we came upon the famous castle guards who cannot speak or move. To 13 college-aged girls, all this sounded like was a challenge. We did everything we could to make him budge and we succeeded. We received a turn of the head as well as a very long blink in response to one of our questions. At this point, we were already on cloud nine and this was just the beginning of the excitement. We then walked further into the castle's courtyard and saw the St. Vitus Cathedral. Next, we walked 285 steps to the top of the castle tower, which were the best 285 steps I have ever taken in my entire life. This twisting, claustrophobic, and dark staircase led you to be on top of the city of Prague, which also happened to beautiful as can be. It showed the entire city, the famous Charles Bridge, the Adam and Eve towers, and most of all, it showed how high up you were! This castle dates back to the 13th Century if my listening skills are correct, and it is amazing how talented these architects were. We were so high that the people beneath us looked like ants. There was also cast iron bars on the window openings just for this purpose. It is amazing to think about how people think we (Purdue volleyball players) are talented when in the big scheme of life our talent is so minuscule. After seeing that view of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, you never want to leave that sight. None of us wanted to come down from that 285 step trek, but going down was much more enjoyable.
After meeting back with our group we were then allowed to go off in groups to tour on our own for the remainder of the time. The group I was with, which consisted of Catherine, Griff, Ray, Annie, and Kate, decided to go into the St. Vitus Cathedral (to see the inside and not just the tower). This was hands down the most beautiful and wonderful church I have ever been to or seen. There wasn't much to be said other than taking in all of your surroundings. After the cathedral, we were determined to find a nice little eatery for lunch and we did. We then found some nice little souvenir shops that had everything a tourist like me loved. Next on our list was to make our way back to the hotel and get some rest before our first match.
Once we arrived to the gym we got all suited up and had combined warm-ups with the Czech Junior National Team. This was a struggle for us at first, but we adjusted well. To start the match we were slow and not playing our best and lost the first set. The second set went better and we fought hard to win closely by two points (27-25). We played very well in the third set and won again (25-22) ... this was by far our best set. The fourth set we had our best start and we were up 11-6 and then slowly lost the lead. After losing the lead we then lost more points, which put us in a tough spot to come back. We ended up losing when we should have easily won. The fifth set was not the best either and we lost. Nobody was happy about this and we were all disappointed. We know tomorrow will bring a new day and the sun will shine again. We will play better tomorrow and can't wait to play them again.
Lastly, we went to dinner at a very nice, pizza, pasta, and salad restaurant, which was of course delicious! This trip thus far has been surreal to me. I never thought in a million years I would be seeing the most beautiful cities in the world and playing the sport I love against foreign teams. I cannot explain enough how spectacular the views and the food are, but I can tell you that I know I will come back to Purdue with more knowledge than I left with.