May Volleyball Gazette Jr age Tour Italy

Volleyball Gazette

May Issue 2020 Italy Tour

 Required Forms & Photos

In this month’s issue of the Volleyball Gazette you will find a link to several REQUIRED FORMS for travel. 

PLEASE NOTE.... ALL Travelers regardless of AGE.... MUST provide a Photo to our office... The photo should be a front facing photo for easy identification (this is required that we have it with us... in the event that you go missing... we will have this photo to give to the authorities...) .. But ... please... do not go missing (smile...)

Keeping a Journal....

It is advised that each of our travelers keep a daily diary or daily journal.  We will be traveling to  so many beautiful places and seeing so many beautiful monuments, cathedrals, sites and attractions ... it will be impossible to remember all the details.  If you jot down a few details about the senses, feelings emotions ... and even the smells .... It will bring back to you the memories of the trip ....
I wish I had done this on some of my trips ... I now look back on some previous photos and try to remember exactly why I took that photo ... or even where I took it.... a journal will help re-capture those memories.

These are a few notes from one of my "return" journals on a previous tour...

"It is 4:00 AM... 2 days after our return to the USA....  (this is the latest I have slept in for the past 2 days…. (JET LAG upon the RETURN of the trip…is brutal...) one should give themselves about 3 days to get BACK TO "LOCAL" EARTH time… Symptoms are … your brain feels like you are in a thick fog…. Normal thought process is slow…. You will find yourself waking up and wondering what city, you are in, what time zone you are in…. or even what country you are in ...... you will fall asleep at 2:00 (in the afternoon) and wake up 2 hours later, even more tired than when you went to sleep….. people will talk to you and you will answer them through some form of ...... one way mental telepathy but nothing verbal ever comes out, (keep in mind.... this does nothing to enhance personal relationships….)" but after about 3 days ... the fog clears ..... and you are back to the USA.... both mentally and physically....

 OK … so I may be exaggerating a little…. But EXPECT the JET LAG  upon our return… and warn those around you of the pending results…..

RANDOM THOUGHTS / MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION

WEATHER… from LAST YEAR'S trip

Venice, about 85 degrees, Rome 80-85 Grosseto about 80 Florence 85-90.

 LUGGAGE…..

If there is ONE important item to consider … it is YOUR LUGGAGE….  DO NOT OVER PACK!!!!! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR IT AND  WILL BE MISERABLE if you overpack  … and I and those around you .... will be UNSYMPATHETIC!!!!   In every newsletter I have emphasized the point of packing light.  If you did not get the point of all of the subtle hints ...... here it is...….. DO NOT OVER PACK!!

EVERY TRIP …. Too many players over pack… they bring too much STUFF…  (I have to plead guilty too …on my last trip I had 2 tee shirts, 1 pair of walking shorts, and a pair of Volleyball shorts that I DID NOT EVEN WEAR….) yet I did carry them all over Europe…

You will be allowed 1 suitcase or back pack (suitcase MUST have wheels)
You will be allowed 1 carry on (your tour issued backpack for example)
You will be allowed a personal item (purse etc)

 LUGGAGE SURVIVAL SKILLS….

Review the items you have packed…
Take out at least 1/4th of the stuff you have in there …
Walk around the neighborhood with your suitcase or backpack for about 30 – 40 minutes if you have no problems then you have it just about right….

Clothes Washing … By Hand...?

By hand? (I know this is a foreign concept to those under the age of 30... and I understand that this is something your MOM normally does for you.. in that “big white washing machine thing” in the  basement.  

Each night (or every other night) take 10 minutes before going to sleep and hand wash some of your clothes (underwear, sox, practice gear, shorts).  They will be ready to wear the next day….

 EXTENDED USE CLOTHES….

Get use to wearing the same pair of shorts more than one time…. ALTERNATE your walking shorts…  Just because you have worn them does not mean they are DIRTY…. Wear the blue pair on Monday, the black pair on Tuesday, and the Green Pair on Wednesday, on Thursday you are ready to do it all over again.  Wash every other day you can make it with only 3 pair of shorts…

Sweatshirts have 2 sides to them…. One side gets something spilled on it… turn it inside out… voila .. a new clean sweatshirt…. (Ok ... this may be a "guy thing" ... but when you are traveling.... who cares....

 SURVIVING ON $25.00 - $30.00 PER DAY

Europe is expensive…and the US dollar is not as valuable as it was last year....  you can spend... AS MUCH AS MOM AND DAD GIVE YOU … and more…. Learn to be frugal….

Sitting down at a restaurant is more expensive than picking something up along the way… Gyros (pocket sandwich’s are GREAT…. ) I live on the these when in Europe, they are about $3.00 - $4.00 and are a FULL meal.  For the unadventurous there is McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut etc… very PLASTIC, very  unadventurous, boring, (I would like to limit the number of times you can eat at these plastic food factories… to FORCE you into some NEW EXPERIENCES…. )  But I know when you are hungry, tired it is easy to go in and say” number 3 please with a coke”.  Most of these MENU DEALS… will be about $7.00 - $9.00

 Restaurants.. most have a sitting charge ($1.00) and if you are in a group of  .. 4-5 persons they may also charge you a “pre paid TIP” fee.   Getting the “TOURIST MENU” is normally a good deal…. They will serve you a starter plate, a main course (fish, chicken, beef or pork....) and usually a desert of you choosing (remember in some parts of Europe they consider a plate of apples and bananas as "desert").  The Tourist menu vary in price from $10 - $15 at a reasonably priced restaurant ... and considerably more at the higher priced ones .....(they normally have 2-3 different tourist menus to choose from.  If you do not know what something is… ASK … you are not the FIRST AMERICAN the waiter has ever seen.  He is a professional waiter, and usually will speak more English … than you do in his language.   Pasta and Pizza are always a SAFE BET if you do not recognize anything else on the menu.. 

True Story....

One year while in Paris we (coaches) were going to eat at a reasonably nice restaurant.  The menu was entirely in French, given the fact that none of us really spoke much French .... we decided to look around at what some of the other folks in the restaurant were having (after all if they were ordering it ... it must be good).  I noticed the waiter bring a well cooked beefsteak to the next table and decided to have the same thing, a while later the waiter walked by with a very nice fish plate, one of our coaches decided that looked good and decided to order that.  A while later the waiter walked by with a large Bratwurst / sausage looking thing on a plate of French fries and our other coach decided to order that.  Great we were all set..... Proud of our accomplishment and avoiding the French Menu we had a glass of wine and waited until dinner was served. 

I was the first served and proceeded to cut into my steak (I asked for it to be cooked well done and it was still a little on the rare side.... those silly French chefs love to under cook the meat), but the flavor was good and I was happy with my "selection".  The other coach cut into his cooked fish dinner and said it was "excellent".  The third coach cut into his Bratwurst looking sausage and noticed that it was a little difficult to cut into, but proceeded to cut and cut and cut until he was able to cut through the sausage and take the first bite.  We all watched with anticipation as he started to chew, and chew, and chew and after about 2 minutes of chewing we asked him "how is your French Bratwurst", (it was not really necessary to ask, as the look on his face said it all).   "I am not sure....He said; It tastes familiar... but I m not sure what it tastes like".  He said "here you take a taste" so as good sports, good traveling buddies and remembering what his face looked like  we each took a "small taste" of his dinner.  Instantly we both spit out the sample and took a drink of water...... he said to us "well what do you think it tastes like?"  Good manners in a public restaurant did not allow us to say what it really tasted like.... but let me tell you what it was, and you can guess what it tasted like.   Our coach had ordered "PIG INTESTINE" ... that's right pig intestine stuffed into a Bratwurst like casing ..... and we all know what goes through the intestine .... that is what it tasted like.  As we wiped our tongue off, and drank a little wine to get the taste our of our mouths, we looked around the restaurant and noticed that about 1/4 of the people in the restaurant were eating the same thing...... So much for the sophisticated French Cuisine. .... But ... it makes a great story....

Seeing the sights….

Most all Museums, and churches are free to go into.. Venice; the Doges Place entry is about $6.00 (where the King / Ruler lived) the Venice Museum entry is $5.00. Rome; Vatican museum entry (Sistine chapel) entry is about $6.00, Roman Coliseum is about $10.00 to go inside.... most everything else is free.

Many of our players will NOT want to go all of these attractions. 
Suggested LIST… (geared toward what would be fun for “teenagers”)

Vatican Museum, St Peters Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, Ancient Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, Pt. Vecchio Bridge, Grand Canal,

STAYING SAFE..
I am happy to report that last several years we have not have any successful pickpockets, nor any money exchange problems…. That does not mean we can let our guard down…. WE are AMERICANS… we have money… and most of us are CLUELESS to the BIG CITY WORLD…. These are three reasons that Americans are GREAT targets for the pickpockets… I will talk more on this subject when we have our group meeting … I will say we can “relax – but not be careless”  Money belts or Money pouches under your shirt are REQUIRED!!  IF .. YOU DO NOT HAVE A MONEY BELT OR MONEY POUCH ...... YOU WILL HAVE A GREATER CHANCE TO BE PICK POCKETED!!!

UNIFORMS / SWEATS / etc…

You should received all of your tour gear by the 2nd week of May.  Players will receive 1 tour tee shirt, 2 numbered uniform tops, and an athletic back pack . (please bring your own black spandex short)

All traveler will also receive a laminated "where to go if I get lost card" it will have the name and address of our accommodations in each city.... If you do "get lost" just show it to a taxi driver ... they will bring you home....

On the tour member website you will see the 2016 tour logo for this years commemorative sweatshirt.
The sweatshirts are White Hoodies with a color logo on the left chest and the full center back...
These are optional sweatshirts, the price is $35.00
Deadline for ordering them has past. (however we may have a few extra printed if you still want one but did not order one)

AIR TICKETS..
General Information:
You have been sent electronically your specific Air Itinerary.  You will have a confirmation number and will be able to access your ticket through the various airline websites.  You will be able to add your frequent flyer numbers, request specific seats and even specific meals.  Airlines have gone to E-tickets, all you need to do is to go to the airline ticket counter and present your passport.  They will issue your tickets and boarding pass at the check in desk.   Be sure to ask if your luggage is being check THROUGH to Italy .  You will not see your luggage again…….. (just a little travel humor….) Let me re-phrase that… You will reclaim your luggage in Italy.  Make sure you do NOT pack anything that you MAY need before Italy (i.e. medications passports etc…)

CHANGING MONEY..

I used EXCLUSIVELY the ATM machines.. It works WONDERFUL.  No standing in lines, no walking around “looking for the BEST RATE”, no translation problems with the person working, no hidden extra charges, (my bank charged me about $1.50 for each of my transactions) and received a GREAT exchange rate by my bank.  I would HIGHLY recommend using an ATM card while on tour (it will need to say Cirrus or Plus or Interlink  on the back of the card).  These cards have a 4 number pin.  Check with your bank to see if your ATM card is compatible in Europe.

Credit Cards...
Yes .. "don't leave home with out it.... but be sure that the credit card company knows that you will be using it in Europe.  Call the number on the back of your card and tell them that you will be using your card in Europe.   They will ask when you will be leaving and when you will return.  (do this before you leave..... it is very awkward  to do this after you have made a purchase ... and your card was refused ....)

Review .... of What to Bring .....

The following may assist you with your final planning, and what to take on the tour. 

Remember...

1.  YOU carry what you bring!

2.  One check in backpack, OR Suitcase (LET ME EMPHASIZE.... a SMALL Suite case!!!!!) Should not weigh more than 35 pounds

3.  One carry on / athletic bag that is provided.

Please DO NOT BRING 5-6 smaller bags, YOU will STRUGGLE the entire trip.

Documents:  

 Passport & a Photo Copy of it  Photo copy of your birth certificate

 Photo copy of your drivers license     Misc. Insurance paperwork

Personal:  

  Toothbrush / paste / floss ... etc.Hair care products shampoo etc.  Make up (minimal)  

DEODORANT  All PERSONAL toiletry items  Sun Tan Lotion / Block

Medications:

Eye Ware / Sun Glasses /contacts  Anti Acid Tablets  Band-Aids  

Prescription Drugs in their original container Aspirin / Advil   

Money:           

 Small amount of   US currency Suggested Amount $25 - $30 per day 

  Money belt or Neck pouch

Charge cards Visa / MasterCard or Debit Card   Calculator (optional) 

   Photo:       

  Camera Camera Bag (optional)  

Entertainment:     

Phone is optional - make sure you are aware of the international charges for just having your phone.... "on" in Europe.  Some players are shocked to see an $800 fee for using their phone in Europe.Journal to write your daily log

Clothing:  

Underwear 5 - 7 days Sweatshirt / light jacket Tee Shits 7 - 10 

Jeans or other long pants Several pair of Walking shorts   Bath Towel (optional) the hotels do have towels

1 casual / nicer “outfit” optional  Volleyball Shoes Walking Shoes

Swim suit Sandals

Church Clothing:

Remember....  to be allowed into the Churches... LONG pants for men (yes you can wear your sweat pants) and LONG pants or Dresses for the women are required, additionally “halter tops,  tank tops, tube tops, swim suit tops etc...” will not be admitted in the Churches of Rome!!!   Dress appropriately.

Miscellaneous:

1 small plastic garbage/laundry bag Sewing kit (optional)  

1 suitcase or Backpack 1 athletic type bag (provided)  

Laundry Soap (clothes washing)1 light cord for hanging laundry  

Snacks for the long flights and Train rides Gum for the flight (ear pressure)  

What NOT to Bring.....

Valuables:Excessive Flashy Jewelry Large Sums of CASH  

Absurd: Guns / Drugs Alcohol / Tobacco

Miscellaneous: Large Radios Non compliant electrical devices (hairdryers - curling irons etc)  

Luggage: Extra Baggage  

Attitude: Bad Attitude Prejudice  

GIFTS….
Each player should bring with them a small inexpensive EXCHANGE gifts, to be given to ONE of the opponents before the match.  Sometimes you will receive a gift in return (sometimes this does not happen … not all teams nor players that we will be playing are as affluent as we AMERICANS are, Don’t take this as an insult .. it is simply and economic issue)
Bringing 10-12 small items will not take up much space in your luggage ....

 Accommodations

Our accommodations in Europe will be in tourist class hotels and youth hostels.  The accommodations are centrally located, safe and comfortable.  They have been chosen for are located in the central area of the cities, which will allow us to easily to see the cities and to quickly and easily return to our accommodations at night.  The accommodations are not 5 star hotels with an abundance of amenities.  As a matter of fact they have few amenities.  The only time we will be spending in the accommodations is for sleeping, changing clothes and showering. 
For the Adults .....Think of your college dorm days ..... Spartan conditions ... but you had fun...

For the Adults.... that have requested to up grade their accommodations we have made your reservations for you.  You will be credited for the difference between the basic and the upgraded accommodations.

Rome                    Hotel Mariano 2-3 star hotel- 5 minutes from the train station

Grosseto               Hotel Ricci 3-4 star hotel 
                               Via Francesco Baracca, 58100 Marina di Grosseto 2 blocks from the beach

Florence                Hotel Club 3-4 star hotel - 5 minutes from the train station

Venice                  Calderan Hotel 2-3 star hotel Venice 10 min. walk from the train station Some families have upgraded to a nearby hotel.
 

MISSING FORMS / EMERGENCY INFORMATION

SOME OF YOU… are missing the REQUIRED travel information … PLEASE if you have not yet sent to me the …

Photo, Permission to travel form, Emergency contact information, Passport #, etc…

PLEASE DO IT ASAP…..

More later …..

John

Volleyball Tours to Europe and Brazil

Contact Us; info@volleyballtours.com  425-255-8102

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