Judges Abroad is a series of blog posts written by Brandeis student-athletes on team and individual study abroad trips. To read more blog entries, click here!
The Brandeis Women's Basketball team heads to Spain and Portugal in August 2019! Follow the team's exploits here, with our social media feed, photo galleries and blogs!
Blog Entry 4: Amber Graves '20
Hola amigos! Amber Graves '20 here, picking up where Lauren left off and writing to you from España! We were so lucky to enjoy our last few days in Seville, Spain, where we’ve had lots of free time to explore the city and all it has to offer. Since we arrived in the early evening on Sunday, we had the night to explore the city and grab dinner on our own. Jillian, Kat, Katie, Kerry, Maya, Shannon and I went with Kat’s mom to a DELICIOUS tapas restaurant that was just a short walk from our hotel at The Metropol Parasol, referred to by the locals as “The Mushroom”. We got to share a bunch of different dishes - the beauty of tapas - and my two favorites were the ham garlic bread and Spanish meatballs. Our waiter was an absolute hoot, and he even ended our meal with a free tasty treat. Needless to say, we felt properly welcomed to Seville! After dinner, we met up with the majority of our teammates at a small restaurant to play billiards and soak up the social scene before curfew! We all loved the energy and atmosphere at night, especially on the dance floor. Spaniards sure know how to dance!
Monday morning’s alarm definitely came quicker than expected, but we were all pretty excited to explore Seville on a walking tour with our beloved tour guide, Pedro, and his local tour guide friends, Maria and Carmen. Despite the dry heat, which was about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, we walked through the historical center of Seville to the Cathedral of Seville. Before touring the Cathedral itself, we walked through the beautiful palace and garden on the grounds of the Cathedral. This was by far one of the most beautiful places we’ve been so far, and I was absolutely in love with the intricate stone, beautiful tile, and stunning architecture of the buildings. For all the Game of Thrones fans out there, the palace and gardens are actually the set of House Martell in Dorne from the show. Super cool fact, even if you aren’t familiar with the show, like me. After a quick café y baño break, we continued on to the Cathedral, where we learned a multitude of Spanish history from Carmen and Maria. We even got to see Christopher Columbus’s tomb within the Cathedral, although rumor has it if his remains are actually there or in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Personally, my favorite room was the gifts room, where beautiful gold, silver, clothing, and other valuable relics that had been gifted to the monarchy over time were stored. We ended the tour by walking up the tower of the Cathedral, which provided a Birdseye view of Seville and plenty of photo ops. After free time for lunch, shopping, and exploring - which I, along with many teammates and the Foulis family, spent lounging on the rooftop pool of our hotel - came the best part of the day, the clinic!
We had a great time at the clinic with CBS Femenino, a major basketball club of Seville. Going into the clinic, we were unsure what exactly to expect, but it ended up being a great experience in merging the cultures of both teams while learning from one another. For the first half of the clinic, players from both our team and CBS Femenino were coached by our coaches, Carol and Scott. For the second half, the coaches of CBS Femenino took over, and then we played two shooting games to end the clinic! Interestingly enough, most of the drills are universally used, so we got into a good flow pretty quickly. It was pretty fun explaining our drills to the other team and working to overcome the language barrier between us in order to play together. This was definitely one of the coolest experiences from the trip so far, since it was direct exposure to Spanish basketball culture. After the clinic, it was pretty late, so Maya, Kim, and I raided the local grocery store and snuggled up in bed for a Netflix and snacks night. We have one more day to explore Sevilla on our own, enjoy a nice Flamenco show and farewell dinner, and then a nice 4am wake up call to head back to Brandeis!
¡Muchas gracias y hasta luego!
Blog Entry 3: Lauren Rubinstein '20
Picking up where Sophie left off! This is Lauren Rubinstein ‘20 here to continue to share our trip to Portugal and Spain. On Saturday we had a fantastic day. It started off with a late sleep-in which was much needed after all the hills Lisbon has to offer during our many tours. We then went downtown where we went on a mini walking tour. We were able to see some amazing art on buildings, statues, and different monuments. The first building we saw was the Church of Santos Domingos. Its high ceilings and decorative walls were unbelievably beautiful. After some more climbing of hills and burning of calves, we made our way to Museu Arqueologico do Carmo which held many archeological structures as well as two mummies. They were intriguing and creepy all at the same time. We were then given free time for most of the afternoon, and I personally went to get lunch at a great tapas restaurant and then took a Tuk Tuk - a scooter with a carriage on the back - that drove around the city and to the highest point of Lisbon which had an amazing view. We finished the day at Castelo do Santa Cruz which sat above the city overlooking the water and all of Lisbon. It was stunning. Saturday left me as well as all of BWB’s feet extremely sore but we can all agree the walking was totally worth it.
Sunday was spent taking the 6-hour bus ride from Portugal to Spain. We made a few stops on the way, which included a service station where Kat Puda ‘21 and Sophie played some air hockey. We stopped briefly in Algarve, a coastal town where Eva Hart ‘18, Camila Casanueva ‘21, and Sarah Jaromin ‘19 and I put our toes in the sand. Back on the bus, everyone napped all the way to Spain where we arrived a little before 6. The journey continues here in Spain and I can’t wait to see what we experience next!
Gracias y adios!
Blog Entry 2: Sophie Trachtenberg '21
Picking up where my fellow teammate Kerry Tanke '22 left off, the journey from Porto to Lisbon included a multitude of stops along the way. First was Coimbra, home to a world-class university that captured my heart with its grand marble pillars, intricate statues, and breathtaking views. Some of its students bore a typical Portuguese dress known as Praxe, which resembles somewhat of a cape, and acts as a symbol of respect within the education system in the country. Next came Fatima, an important Christian pilgrimage site, and afterward a short stop at the Batalha Monastery. Then we were off to Nazaré, a picturesque beach town complete with windy cobblestone streets and seafood on every corner. After a lunch filled with crab, mussels, clams, and shrimp, I went off with Sarah Jaromin ‘19, Hannah Nicholson ‘20 and Gillian O’Malley ‘19 to attempt to hike to the top of a cliff that overlooks the town and the Atlantic Ocean. Our guide Pedro pointed us in the direction of the stairs, and we began the trek up the steep incline. The view from above was mesmerizing and certainly worth the hike, making this town one of my favorite stops thus far. After a quick stop at Óbidos to admire another one of Portugal’s many castles from the Medieval era, it was finally time to settle down in Lisbon for a few days.
The following morning presented us with some friendly competition, as game-day against Club Beleneses had arrived. The hosts included some of the top players in Portugal, making the game challenging yet rewarding to be able to show Europe what Brandeis Women’s Basketball is all about. After the game, we headed into the town of Belém for lunch, a tour of the Jerónimos Monastery, and some free time by the water. As a group, we gathered to try natas, a traditional custard-filled pastry that is enjoyed across Portugal. To end the day, I was able to grab some all-you-can-eat sushi near the hotel before heading to Pink Street, an area of Lisbon that is filled with restaurants that sit atop a painted pink alleyway. We stumbled upon a quaint bookstore-restaurant with live music coming from the back. The two-man show performed songs in Portuguese, English, and Spanish, encompassing the multicultural landscape of this fine city.
The highlights continued as we climbed up to the Palácio da Pena, a Romanticist palace that was once home to King Ferdinand of Portugal, as well as the nearby Castle of the Moors, in which we were able to hike to the top and take in the beautiful surrounding countryside. Afterwards, we spent the rest of the day at the much-anticipated beach in Cascáis, having the afternoon to relax, swim, and enjoy the sweet Portuguese sunshine. Per usual, the day ended with a cup of gelato before heading back to the city for the evening. This place simply continues to amaze me, and it is almost surreal that I am here to enjoy it with my best friends and teammates. Stay tuned for more about our adventures before we take off for Spain!
Blog Entry 1: Kerry Tanke '22
So as many of you may or may not know, the women’s basketball team and I are in Portugal/Spain for 11 days. We left Saturday and it has been an unreal experience so far. Granted, the time difference has definitely been something to adjust to, that’s nothing freshly brewed iced coffee in a café can’t fix.
The first full day we were in Porto, which is a city next to the Atlantic Ocean, so it was a little chilly for sure. We walked around the city with our tour guide Pedro Pedro - yes, that is his actual name! It was truly stunning with every building being unique. Enjoying a restaurant on the riverside of Porto, my teammates and I took in the warm sun and beautiful views while eating some croquettes.
The day after that we went atop a mountain in Braga, which is a city about 45 minutes North of Porto, and toured around one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in Portugal. Katie (Goncalo '20) and I sat and enjoyed some cappuccinos along with fresh strawberries while overlooking the city, truly serene. We then went to Guimarães and toured the eclectic city and climbed atop a castle built for their old century ruler. After walking around the castle and palace we traveled downwards into the historic center of town and enjoyed some free time where a lot of us enjoyed some shopping. The following day we went on a boat cruise on the Rio Douro, which is the river next to to Porto, and got dropped on the other side which is the city of Vila Nova de Gaia. This was definitely one of my favorite cities that we’ve been to so far as I bought a necklace and colorful hat. For lunch, my teammates and I found a small, hole in the wall restaurant that ended being possibly one of the best meals I have ever had. I started my meal off with an iced coffee and ended it with Bacon, Chicken, Pesto, Fried Egg, and an Avocado spread pancakes! It was unreal.
Later that night we played our first game against a club team in Portugal, even though we lost it was an awesome experience to be apart of. The style of play is extremely different than how we play in America so it was interesting to see how they do basketball in Portugal. The girls were extremely nice and after the game we exchanged shirts to then take a big group picture of all of us, it was sweaty for sure.
Anyways, today we are on our way to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, and stopping at a ton of small cities on the way such as Coimbra, Fátima, and Nazarés. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store for us.