Sophomore forward Kellie Watson and the Irish visited some of Rome's holiest landmarks, including The Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica, on Monday.

Kellie Watson Diary Entry From Europe - Day 10

May 18, 2009

Editor’s note: During the Notre Dame women’s basketball team’s 10-day foreign tour of Europe, sophomore forward Kellie Watson is filing a daily diary with Michael Rothstein of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. Following are Watson’s thoughts on the trip with a link to her entry also available on the Journal-Gazette’s web site.

We woke up at 7:30 a.m for our team run on our final day in Rome. We kept it light and ran a few steps leading up to famous landmarks in the city. We were only out for about 15 minutes and then came back to eat our breakfast.

At about 9 a.m we boarded the bus to travel to The Vatican. We got there and met our tour guide, Giancarlo, once again. He gave us his typical passionate intro to the tour for the day, and then led us into one of the smallest countries in the world. We looked at the many sculptures that made up the museum part of the Vatican, as well as the intricate designs on the walls and ceilings. We saw mosaics, tapestries, statues, and maps that were hundreds and hundreds of years old.

The second part of the Vatican tour took us to the Sistine Chapel. We saw Michelangelo’s fresco ceiling and wall. It was amazing to see how intricately it was painted and to the scale at which it was. We weren’t allowed to take pictures or video in the Sistine Chapel, so it is just a view that we will have to hold to ourselves for the rest of our lives. After leaving the Chapel, we moved on to the biggest Church in the world, Saint Peter’s Basilica. We viewed Michelangelo’s Pieta, one of the most famous sculptures in the world. We saw where the Catacombs of the previous Popes are and we able to see how big that Basilica is, compared to all the others in the world.

After the tour of The Vatican, we boarded the bus to head back near our hotel. Some of us went back to the hotel, some of us shopped, and my group went to actually watch “Angels & Demons”, in English, in the theater. It was extra amazing because that movie is actually set in Rome. We saw virtually every landmark that was in the movie, at some point on our Roman tour. We were able to recognize the Pantheon, Saint Peter’s Basilica, The Vatican, a ton of fountains, and numerous churches and squares that were in the movie. One of the murders in the film actually took place literally 50 feet from the theater we were watching the movie in. The movie itself was great, but it definitely added to the experience to see it while on tour, and in Rome.

The night consisted of our last team dinner in Europe. It was amazing to be with everyone for one last time. We had great talks, and discussed our favorite parts of the trip. Everyone had an amazing time and we bonded so much over the course of these 10 days, it was just an unbelievable experience. We all had a great time and are so thankful that we were given this opportunity.

Tomorrow we head to the airport at 8:15 a.m to board our 10-hour flight. We will all be very sad to leave, but at the same time excited to get back home to spend the few days we have for break with our friends and families.

I hope I kept you all entertained for the last 10 days! Thanks to Mike Rothstein and the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette for allowing me to be your tour guide around Europe. See you next season and GO IRISH!!!!!

Kellie Watson