Florence Basket of Italy’s Experience with us in the UK!
The Florence Basket Girls u14 team began their tour to London at Pisa Airport, which would be the first international tour for the 10 girls and 2 coaches involved.
Arriving at Luton airport late on a Thursday evening, the girls were met by their BTM rep who accompanied them to their minibus to take them the short distance to the Hemel Hempstead Travelodge, their base for the tour. Our rep helped them check in and the girls went to bed excited about their London excursion the following day.
After an early start and a healthy breakfast, the group left for London by train and underground to head towards the “Changing of the Guard” at Buckingham Palace. This popular tourist attraction had the girls very excited and was their first experience of historical British tradition.
On a beautiful sunny day they made their way to Piccadilly Circus where more photo opportunities at the statue of Eros were followed by souvenir shopping. From there they made their way to have lunch in Trafalgar Square, before heading down to see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, with an obligatory photo outside of a British red phone box on the way.
The river boat trip down the Thames from the London Eye to Tower Bridge provided a welcome break from the walking and a final relaxing stroll and Starbucks at the Tower of London concluded a packed and fun London excursion day for the girls.
After getting back to the hotel in the late afternoon they had a snack before heading off to the local club Oaklands Wolves to share a team practice with their Girls u14 team. With the Italian and UK coaches working together to run the session, the Italian girls had a great time mixing in with the Wolves girls and practicing their English.
After returning to the hotel and having dinner, the girls got an early night to prepare for the mini tournament BTM had organised for them the following day.
Their first game was against Richmond Knights, one of the fancied teams for this year’s English national championship. After a close start where both teams traded baskets, the Knights ended up proving too strong for the Florence girls and ran out 30-18 winners. They then enjoyed a break before the next game where they had the chance to watch the English Boys u14 preseason tournament that was running alongside the girls one.
After lunch they played Oaklands Wolves, last year’s U14 National Champions. It proved to be a thrilling game with Florence taking an early lead and then Oaklands going ahead. Just as Florence fought back and thought they had secured the win, Oaklands managed to take the game into overtime and steal the victory 30-28. Both teams were excited with the great game and the friendships they had made during the last few days.
The girls returned to the hotel for a late afternoon rest before visiting the local town of St. Albans, an old market town with an Abbey dating back from the year 1077. The hungry girls were more than happy to dine at the local Nandos, a very popular restaurant that serves Portuguese style chicken dishes with various peri-peri marinades. The unlimited soft drinks went down well, and the girls were on a high from all the activities of the last few days.
After dinner we took the opportunity to pick up some English snacks and sweets at a local mini supermarket, before having a lovely evening walk in St. Albans town and finishing up in the fantastically lit Abbey. The girls were happy to return to the hotel and spend some time together before their final night in London.
After enjoying a lie-in many of the girls had decided to try an English Breakfast, and sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs and hash browns were enjoyed by many of them. They couldn’t quite get the popularity of baked beans though. After breakfast they packed their bags before heading to the airport for an early afternoon flight back to Pisa.
As with all of our tours, when they returned to their parents they were super excited, telling them of all the experiences they will hopefully treasure for a lifetime. Arrivederci Florence Basket, we loved hosting you in London.