One the most memorble parts of the trip was the visit to the D-Day beaches in Normandy.
The University of Dayton men’s basketball team returned home Thursday from a successful European exhibition tour. It was a trip that covered 10 days, four wins and over 4,000 miles traveled, but the real benefit goes beyond the measureables.
“It was a fast 10 days,” head coach Archie Miller said. “It was a long trip but at the same time a worthwhile experience. Our guys got a lot out of it. When you spend time together in airports, on buses traveling city to city and visiting the places we were at, you can’t help but get to know each other. And I don’t just mean us as coaches getting to know the players. It was a chance for them to learn about us as well. That will pay dividends down the road.”
The final European diaries follow:
August 14 – Luke Fabrizius
Today was a long travel day, but we got to see some amazing things. We hopped on the bus early in the morning and began our five-hour drive to Normandy. The towns near Normandy and Normandy itself were really cool to see. The roads were extremely narrow and the buildings are right up against the roads. We picked up a tour guide in Bayeux and drove to the American Memorial created for the lives lost during the D-day invasion. It was one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. The entrance had a wall with nearly 1,500 names of soldiers who were missing and never found. Then, there were 10,000 crosses representing soldiers that were buried. These were only 40% of the American casualties that occurred during the D-Day invasion. The graves sat up on a cliff that overlooked a beautiful beach. It gave me the chills to stand there and think about the history of the site, and how so many soldiers gave their lives for our country. From here we traveled to Omaha Beach, one of the beaches where the first invasions occurred. After returning to Bayeux for dinner, we traveled back to our hotel. It was a really neat hotel tucked away in a little forest surrounded by farms. We went swimming in the pool and rocked the robes that the hotel provided us. We then got some sleep so we were ready for the ride to Paris.
August 15/16 – Matt Kavanaugh
We are all excited to go to Paris, but no one is more excited than Alex. I don’t think he has even blinked the whole bus ride here. Once we arrived to Paris, the bus tour was very cool. Seeing the old buildings and of course the Eiffel Tower were some of the highlights. This was definitely the tour with the most picture-taking. After the tour we had the next 36 hours to ourselves. (We went) shopping on the Champs Elysees and hung out at one of Alex’s favorite spots. It was a very expensive day, but hey…it is only money! During the evening of our second day in Paris, we went on a canal boat tour. It was awesome to see the city at night. The Eiffel Tower was lit up and was a spectacular sight even from miles away.
August 17 – Beth Flach, Academic Coordinator
Today, a small group of us (Tim and Arlene Wabler, Bob Dunn, Eric Farrell, Nate Seymour, Luke Fabrizius, and Brian Vonderhaar) went to the city of Montmartre to see the beautiful church Sacre-Coeur. We all experienced buying Metro tickets and taking the subway to reach this destination. Sacre-Coeur, which means Sacred Heart, sits at the highest point in the city. We walked up many steps just to get to the church, but it was well worth burning the calories and the leg muscles to view this church in person. The interior of the basilica was magnificent. After touring the interior of the building, we decided to take the challenge of climbing over 300 steps through a narrow, winding tour to reach the top of the dome. Seeing the city of Paris sprawling out before us, with a 360-degree panoramic view, was surreal. We then descended down into the crypts. I had never been inside a crypt and it felt cold, damp and a tad bit creepy, yet very spiritual at the same time. The architecture of the entire building was quite impressive and led me to think about how difficult it would be to complete any of the churches and cathedrals we saw during this trip. Around the corner from Sacre-Coeur is the Place du Tertre, a very charming area full of artists and cafes. We all sat down to admire the sites (and truly to rest our legs from the 600-plus steps we climbed) and have a famous cup of coffee and some crepes. All of the European cities have been enjoyable and the more relaxed culture of coffee breaks, longer lunches and socialization is something I would like to incorporate better into my own life. The day continued with more sightseeing and enjoying the company of one another while in Paris. That evening concluded with another Flyer victory on the basketball court. It has been gratifying to watch the team learn about new cultures, history, art and architecture, food and bond as a unit. This trip has been one that is jam-packed with memories that will last a lifetime and will never be forgotten by any of us. We all are so thankful to have had the opportunity to see the world while representing the athletics department, Flyer basketball and the University of Dayton!