Big Ten Foreign Tour Diary
July 19, 6:35 p.m. local time (11:35 a.m. CT)
After a long late-night flight from Chicago to Copenhagen, the Big Ten Foreign Tour begun with the first of three days in Denmark. A one-hour delay out of O'Hare forced the departure flight back until 11 p.m. CT, but the non-stop flight took eight hours and to everyone's delight, all the luggage had arrived. Shortly after receiving our luggage, we met Neal, our Basketball Travelers contact, who briefed us on the language, the currency rate and the Tour's schedule while we took a 20-minute bus ride from the airport to the hotel.
The hotel is right in the heart of Copenhagen and is surrounded by a 7-Eleven, Hard Rock Café and a McDonalds. Looks like we'll have a tough time getting accustomed to the international lifestyle...
After getting settled in the room, we headed to the train station, which is also next door, to exchange money and purchase calling cards. We then took a tour throughout Copenhagen's "walking streets," which were New Orleans-narrow, but the shops provided a Michigan Avenue-feel. This evening we are heading to Tivoli, which is one of the world's oldest amusement parks and is located directly across the street from our hotel. The travel party is hungry and interested to see what Tivoli has to offer. We're also starting to fade as many of us did not sleep well on the plane trip over.
July 20, 9:41 a.m. local time (2:41 a.m. CT)
Last night was a relaxing one. After individual shopping, we got back together and head to Tivoli, which is one of the world's oldest amusement parks. The group divided from there with packs of 4-5 searching for dinner. Katie Gearlds (PUR), Rene Haynes (MSU) and A.J. Glasauer (NU) all came across some spicy hot dogs, while Rene and Brianne O'Rourke (PSU) loaded up on some french fries and other "American" items. A.J. and Erin McCarthy (ILL) tested the ice cream for dessert, while Rene and Katie failed to win a prize at the "dart throw" game (see photo gallery). A few of the brave, including Brianne and Rene, tested Tivoli's multi-loop and twisting and turning roller coaster. It was a long night and hopefully we were all able to get some rest.
We are up an ready to go this morning after breakfast at the hotel. We are going to be taking a bus tour of the city and surrounding areas this morning and will then leave later this afternoon for our first game.
July 21, 1:49 a.m. local time (6:49 p.m. CT)
Victory...how sweet it is. We are turning in after a long day and night, which included a big 80-59 win over Copenhagen Select. We were supposed to play the Danish U-18 ballclub, but I guess there were conflicts with the players' summer schedules. It was great to finally get out and play.
Prior to the game, we started off the day with a nice breakfast in the hotel. We then took a three-hour guided bus tour throughout the city of Copenhagen. We saw many amazing buildings, including the Royal Palace, Parliament, the Stock Exchange and the home of Hans Christian Andersen. We returned to the hotel for a little nap time and met back up as a team for the pre-game meal at a diner across the street from our hotel. It was a place that "specialized" in American food, so everyone had their favorites such as ribs, burgers and turkey clubs.
Most of the players went out to dinner following the game this evening. A few came in to type up their personal online diaries, so make sure you check those out. For now, it is off to bed. We are doing a walking tour at 10:30 a.m. and it also sounds like we will be seeing Copenhagen from the water as well.
So far, so good. Food - decent. Hotel - nice. Weather - unusually warm (80s+). Everything - EXPENSIVE! Check out the photos. We'll add more tomorrow.
July 22, 12:16 a.m. local time (5:16 p.m. CT)
This morning we woke up to rain, but as soon as we left the hotel, it all stopped. We first went and took a boat ride through the canals and harbors of Copenhagen. We saw the beautiful new opera house from the water and visited the Little Mermaid once again, but from the water angle. Following the boat ride, the group split up and went their own ways, mostly to do shopping of course.
A few of us went to the Round Tower, which is an unbelievable structure built back in the 1600s. You walk around in circles (hence the "round") until you reach the top where you have an amazing few of Copenhagen. You are so high up, you can even see Sweden from there.
Everyone was on their own for the pre-game meal and we loaded the bus around 5:15. It takes about 45 minutes to get up to Horsholm, where we have played the last two days and will play tomorrow. After the game we had pizza and cokes with the Horsholm team and then headed back to the hotel.
Not sure what's in store for tomorrow, but we have a 3 p.m. local (8 a.m. CT) game tomorrow and will then board a ferry to take us to Malmo, Sweden. We'll spend two nights there and then travel by bus SIX HOURS to Oslo, Norway, where we will spend three nights and play our last game.
FYI - Herring for breakfast is simply not cool.
FYI2 - In case you don't like our recaps, photos, or just can't speak English, perhaps you would like Denmark's coverage by clicking HERE. Pretty cool!
July 23, 12:09 a.m. local time (5:09 p.m. CT)
The Tour team made its way to Malmo today after a 32-point victory over Horsholm - the team we played on Friday. They replaced the Copenhagen All-Stars, who were originally scheduled.
Prior to the game, the players had a few hours for last-minute shopping in Copenhagen. After the win, the team stopped at McDonald's for a bite to eat and then it was onto the ferry, bus and all (ask Coach Grentz about that one), and we were off to Sweden. It was a 25-minute ferry ride across country lines and then a 45-minute bus ride into Malmo.
While we were on the ferry, we came across the exact same cruise ship that we will be boarding in Oslo that will take us back to Copenhagen on Thursday. The ship is huge and we are definitely looking forward to that.
Once in Malmo we all split up. We'll have to get those player diaries updated and find out what they did. Stay tuned.
We left early today for some factory outlets, but the bus ride was much longer than we had originally anticipated. We traveled to Orrefors and the Kosta Boda crystal factories. They had a lot of nice items for sale and several of the players made purchases.
On the way back we stopped in the town of Helsingborg, which is where the ferry dropped us off at from Denmark yesterday. We visited an unbelievable castle that looked out onto the village and we were so high, you could see back to Denmark. We even ran into a gentleman outside a small café who was wearing an Ohio State basketball shirt of all things. We made sure to get Tamarah in the picture with him, so look for that on the photo gallery.
Once we got back to Malmo, we had a few hours to shop, but most of the stores were already closed since it was Sunday and approaching 5 p.m. Everyone was on their own for dinner and the rest of the night. We're sure to hear some stories tomorrow on the LONG bus ride to Norway.
We are looking forward to getting to our third country, but unfortunately it's going to be the most expensive one. Oslo will make Copenhagen look like some cheap town!
July 25, 1:45 a.m. local time (6:45 p.m. CT)
Welcome to the place of 20-plus hours of sunlight! It's Oslo and it is beautiful. We made the 10-HOUR bus ride from Malmo, Sweden today but it was tough. We had to stop three times, we encountered some construction and we were the suspects in a hit-and-run that eventually got us pulled over by the police. Do we have your attention yet? Good!
While in Sweden, our bus was apparently "knicked" up front by a car that was trying to cut in front of us when a construction zone went from two lanes to one. Our bus clearly had the lane, but apparently this guy was a little too anxious and squeezed his way in. We didn't even know we were hit. Approximately 30-45 minutes later, we were cruising along and all of the sudden a Swedish police officer stepped out from his car on the shoulder, walked out into traffic and either gave us the Heisman or his "stop in the name of the law" sign. We pulled over and believe it or not, the car that caused the problem, pulled in behind us and claimed we hit him. Apparently he called the cops after the incident and told them the description of our bus so they could set up for us. No worries, the cops sided with the All-Stars and we were on our way. The other guy was just crazy!
Oslo we're here. It's off to the train station to exchange money. From Kroner to Kroner to Kroner...we can't keep up. By the way, if you're going to travel to Europe, make sure you hit up the train station. Those things have everything you can imagine, including Viking hemets and reindeer coats!
After a great dinner (the salmon was quite fresh thank you), we walked down to the pier and took in some sights and shopping. Please tell us how it can be 10:45 out and it's still light out???
BUSY DAY tomorrow... A guided bus tour, a castle, the changing of the guard at the King's House and to cap off the afternoon, a visit to the Holmenkollen Ski Jump... Skouby might have to go for a little ride!
July 26, 1:38 a.m. local time (6:38 p.m. CT)
It's been another long day of sightseeing, but definitely a good one. We began this morning with breakfast at the hotel. Hey Leslie (MINN), are you sure that is a big block of peanut butter??? We're thinking that's the goat cheese!
On the bus for a tour around Oslo, we began heading out to the popular Vigeland Sculpture Park. On our way there, we were detoured a bit because the road that we were on was blocked off by the police, due to the fact that was where the Israeli Embassy was located. There is a lot of crazy stuff going on in the world right now. Not a surprise they had that one blocked off. We then passed a popular soccer field park that doubles as an ice rink most of the year when the wintry mix hits Oslo. We learned that the park was where three-time Olympic gold medalist and Oslo native Sonja Henie first began her figure skating career.
As we pulled up to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, we were told the amazing story of Gustav Vigeland. The Norwegian artist was an accomplished young talent who was sent across the world to study the works of other greats such as Michelangelo. The funding of his travel was provided by Oslo and in return he provided several sculptures that would be owned by the city. In appreciation of his work, Oslo donated a public park to Vigeland for him to design and call his own. You want to talk about dedication...this guy puts 192 full-size sculptures (see photo gallery) and more than 600 figures in the 80-acre park, all of which he designed by himself. Yes...all alone...for 40 years. It is amazing and we think all the student-athletes really took to the history and artistic elements of this park.
It was then on to the famous Holmenkollen Ski Jump, site of the 1952 Winter Olympic Games. Unbelievable! You can come across an Olympic track, a swimming pool or an ice skating rink and think it's pretty cool. It's not the same at a ski jump. The word "awesome" does not even describe it. Several of us also tried the simulator, which was also something to experience! From the ski jump, we toured the hills and highpoints of Oslo with breathtaking views over the city. We stopped back at the hotel for a quick lunch and then it was off to the Viking Ship Museum. I think we all initially thought we were going to see enormous ships, but a lot of the Viking ships were smaller. Most of us were left wondering how in the world those boats survived the rough seas.
Off to bed we go. We are touring a castle tomorrow and oh yeah, we have a game here in Oslo at 5 p.m. local time. It's the final game and the ladies are pumped. We're looking for another undefeated tour!
July 28, 12:18 p.m. local time (5:18 a.m. CT)
Sorry it has taken so long to write back and we actually don't have much time to catch you up. We leave for the Copenhagen airport in 10 minutes! We won our last game in Oslo and enjoyed our stay in Norway. Last night was awesome because we took a cruise ship from Oslo to Copenhagen. It was a beautiful night out and very peaceful. We arrived in Copenhagen this morning around 9 a.m., and have been shopping ever since. It's a little rainy here today, but who cares, the trip is almost over.