May 20, 2009
Editor’s note: During the Notre Dame women’s basketball team’s 10-day foreign tour of Europe, senior guard Melissa Lechlitner filed a daily diary after talking by phone with the South Bend Tribune’s Curt Rallo. Following are Lechlitner’s thoughts on the final day of the trip.
Ciao! Today we woke up, ate breakfast, and then went straight to the Vatican. For Notre Dame, a Catholic school, it meant so much to all of us.
The Sistine Chapel was the most amazing thing I saw on the trip. Knowing the history behind it, and the work Michelangelo put into painting it, to be underneath the ceiling is awesome. It’s truly one of the most amazing things I’ve seen. It was spiritual, motivating … everything.
When I was in middle school, I remember watching a documentary on the Sistine Chapel. I don’t know if it was exactly true, but the story was that it took Michelangelo 11 years. He was commanded to do it by the Pope. Michelangelo was a sculptor, and to switch careers, and then create a masterpiece … It’s insane to stand underneath the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It was amazing to take it all in. It’s not a normal painting. It’s not a few inches by a few inches. It’s the entire ceiling. It’s enormous. I can’t imagine how he painted it.
We saw everything at the Vatican. Unfortunately, the Pope was not available for gelato. But everything we saw was breath-taking. We were in St. Peter’s Square, and saw the Pope’s balcony.
After the historical tours, we did some more shopping. We may have gotten some more gelato. A few people went and saw “Angels and Demons.” I didn’t go. I finished up some souvenir shopping. People said it was awesome to see the movie, and then walk out of the theatre and say, ‘Oh, yeah, we saw that and saw that and saw that.’
We went out for a farewell dinner, and enjoyed al fresco dining. It was a gorgeous night. We had a great dinner. First, we had a pasta. In Italy, the appetizer is always a pasta. Tonight we had a penne with mozzarella and tomatoes. The main course was some kind of beef. For dessert, we had tartufo. It was amazing. It was like a vanilla ice cream with a chocolate mousse outer layer.
This was a once in a lifetime trip. I’ve been overseas, but I will probably have no other opportunities to go on a trip to Europe with my best friends, basically for free. We did it all. There was no other time to squeeze in anything. I took a million pictures. It was a trip that made memories for a lifetime.