Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Scottish Rockettes' Italian Adventure 

Posted by Sasha at 10:34 AM ET

Pauline's Italian Beach Volleyball Diary – 16 June 2007
Scottish Rockettes

Friday 8th June, 2007
I can't begin to describe how excited we all were to be heading off into the sunshine to perform at the beach volleyball championship in Italy. Myself, Carole Anne, Claire, Deone and Annemarie were over the moon.

Friday morning came and I bounced out of bed with excitement, finished some last minute packing and off to the airport I went. Our first flight was delayed by about two hours but by the time we had breakfast and sat chatting it was time to board. We arrived into Stanstead later than expected due to the earlier delay and with all the security checks in London we were cutting it fine, no time for duty free sob sob. We check the departure board and it said Bologna boarding. OH NO, we started running through Stanstead airport like something out of 'Home Alone'. We reached the gate to find out our flight is delayed by an hour or so, ssssssake. The airport was absolutely mobbed, so we found a wee area on the floor, sat down and had fun playing with Deone's Nintendo. An hour or so later we get the call to board, for some reason we ended-up at the back of this massive queue. It's free seating on Ryanair flights so we didn't think we'd be sitting together. I remember thinking; "this is going to be a very long flight with nobody to talk to". The next thing another announcement was made, our gate had changed so that was me, barging my way through the crowds like an absolute demon, let's go lassie's we're getting to the front of this queue, I'll make sure we're sitting together. The girls just followed along laughing, hee hee.

Before we knew it we were boarding, all sitting together and off we went to Bologna. 2 hours later we touch down in Bologna, the excitement begins to kick in. Now with it being Italy I was expecting to see some amazing shops in the airport like Gucci and Prada, oh no, the airport was about the size of my flat, okay slight exaggeration but its got to be the smallest airport I've ever seen. As for the amazing shops, there wasn't one shop in sight, not even a sweet shop – I was well gutted!

We make our way to the baggage reclaim then it's off to find our driver. There he was, our little friendly Italian driver patiently waiting for us. He loads our luggage into his car and sets off through the streets of Bologna to our hotel. Half an hour later and still not one hotel in sight, all we could see was very small building and very narrow streets, just the way you would imagine Italy to look. It's a gorgeous place with lovely sights but hey, still no hotels so where are we gonna be staying? Carole Anne starts laughing, she had us shacked up with some old woman with lots of chickens running about her back yard, just like in the Olivio advert. We sat in suspense… 15 minutes later our driver pulls up at some very nice apartments, aaaaaahhhhhhhh sigh of relief! By this point we're all really tired, it's close to 1:30am and all we can think of is our bed. We got settled, picked where we where going be sleeping then off to sleep, night night zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


7am – Carole Anne's alarm goes off, we all get out of bed, showered, changed and organised for the day ahead. Again our driver picks us up and off we go to the beach. The sun was scorching, to put you in the picture it was 27 degrees at 9am, Jeeeeeezo imagine what it's going to be like at 2pm, aaaahhhh this is the life!!

We arrive at Coco Loco beach which is absolutely beautiful. We get introduced to the Event Manager who lets us know the plan for the days ahead. Our first performance was at 3:30pm, and it was only 10am so we decided to go to the beach restaurant and get some breakfast, may I add all expenses paid, I could get used to this!!! After breakfast we decide to lie on the sunbeds the lovely barman had left out for us.

After some sunbathing we got our outfits organised and off to the changing room to get ready for the games starting. We still had time to kill so we decided to go to another part of the beach to stretch off and warm up. I turned around and Claire was standing next to a wee blue hut – we decided she looked like a life guard and when we tell her this she burst into a run with some orange thing under her arm, honestly you'd have thought it was a scene from Baywatch. Then one of the American players spots her, runs over towards her, falls to the ground and shouts out "save me, save me". The four of us fall to the floor with laughter; I have never seen anything so funny, my poor wee jaws were sore with laughing so much.

Quarter past three and we all decide it's time to head back and get organized for our performance. The nerves were kicking in big time. Dancing on sand is something we've never done before so to say we were nervous is an understatement.

The teams start playing and we all wait patiently, telling each other how nervous we are. When the total score reaches 21 that's us on, the score gets to 20 and we all get ready, even more nervous at this point but also very excited. 21 – That's us, we run on and get into position, the sand burning our feet but we don't have to wait long the music starts and off we go… the only way I can describe our first few performances is a bunch of drunken girls dancing about hee hee!!! It was then we realised that dancing on sand was very difficult; remaining balanced in soft sand required an incredible amount of effort. But remember this was all very new to us and we'd never danced on sand before so like anything else, we had to get used to it. The first few routines were a bit on the wobbly side, but after getting a feel for it we were totally fine – we were pirouetting, leaping and splitting as if we were on the basketball court.

7:30pm and all the games are finished for the day – dinner time yippee!! We all sit having dinner chatting about our day. Every one of us had sore calf muscles, I can only imagine this was due to the difficulty in keeping our balance on the sand.

10:30pm – time for our driver to take us back to our apartments. We're all still head-to-toe in sand. We all got showered, plastered on more fake tan for the following day then off to sleep, night night zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


7am – Carole Anne's alarm goes off again, NO it's not that time already is it? Yip it's time to get up, shower and get ready for the day ahead. Again our driver is sitting at the apartments waiting patiently for us. We hop into his car and set off to the beach for another day of dancing in the sun. Sunday seemed a lot warmer than the day before, factor 25 all around!

Sunday's games were starting slightly earlier, 11:30am so again off for some fresh fruit for breakfast then back to sunning ourselves for a couple of hours. Being a bit of a sun worshipper I was in my glory, Annemarie wasn't so keen she kept herself in the shade most of the time but the rest of us sat out in the sunshine.

11:30am and time to get started, same plan as before but not so many games so a pretty easy day ahead. By this point we were pros at dancing on sand, well apart from the point where Claire done a kick and kicked sand in my eyes and I couldn't see, only for a few seconds but I reckon it would have been funny to watch.

We break for lunch around 2pm for a couple of hours then it's time for some pictures. We got lots of pictures taken with the organizers, the DJ and some of the volleyball players then it was back to the games. Before we knew it, it was the last game of the day, the final. I look round and couldn't believe the crowds on the beach – the atmosphere was amazing!

After all the games had finished and the presentation was over we got changed and head back down to the beach, PARTY TIME and the Italians certainly know how to enjoy themselves!!! One of the USA players brought over two buckets of cocktails. Now when I say a bucket I mean a bucket that comes with a spade, the kind you fill with sand. Each was filled to the brim with mojito cocktail and both buckets had around 20 straws in each. It was very strong so us girlies were only taking the odd tiny sip but it was very tasty and very refreshing.

After some good conversation and a few sips of our mojito someone suggested we go play the USA players at volleyball, yip I'm up for that – this should be fun! Myself, Deone and Annemarie go with Said, one of the USA players. Carole Anne, Claire and some Italian guy go with the other, Esteban. What a laugh – I wasn't the best; I kept catching the ball and getting shouted at from the other team. Although I did do a pretty impressive dive and actually got us a point. Annemarie was great, I reckon she plays volleyball in her spare time. Deone was actually not that bad either but Claire and Carole Anne were just as bad as me – sorry girls but we were rubbish!

9pm came and it was time for dinner, I had the most amazing muscles mmmmm yum yum. After our delicious dinner and some good chat, it was time to leave Coco Loco beach and head back to the apartment. We were all so tired, we got showered, packed up our cases then off to bed again.


7:30am – Carole Anne's alarm goes off again, we all get organized then it's off to Bologna airport to fly home. We arrive at the airport, get checked-in, head to our gate and before we knew it we were boarding our flight to London.

Two hours later we touch down in Stanstead and all I can think about is the duty free. Stanstead wasn't that busy so we were through security in no time. Excellent, we all headed for duty free. Once we all left ourselves totally skint it was time to go to our gate to fly back to Glasgow.

Flight boards and we're off home!!

What a fantastic time we had in Italy, I loved every minute of it, especially the experience of dancing on sand, not easy but we pulled it off. I'm really thankful I got the opportunity to go. The Rockettes performing on a beach in Italy, all expenses paid, you really can't beat that!

Can we just say a big thank you to everyone who looked after us over the weekend… it was great to meet you and we look forward to seeing you again.

Lots of love,
Pauline xxx

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