Along The Italian Riviera with the Penn State Alumni Association

A group of 22 Penn State travelers explored the Italian Riviera from Oct. 27-Nov. 4, 2007, in a Penn State Alumni Association tour. You can experience the region’s beauty and history vicariously by reading dispatches from such places as Sestri Levante, Portofino, Genoa, and the Cinque Terre.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

We're Almost There!

Greetings from the Munich airport, where we have arrived safely after an overnight flight from Dulles and are now waiting for our flight to Florence. Our excitement at having the trip be underway is dampened a bit by having heard the outcome of last night's Penn State-Ohio State game. Right now one of the Penn State passengers is reading Neil Rudel's account of the game on my BlackBerry while I post this blog entry on my laptop.

Our flight left Dulles last night around 9:15, so we were able to follow the action of the first quarter while sitting at the gate and for a little while after we boarded the plane. A friend of mine was at the game, in the club seats section, and sending me updates from her BlackBerry to my BlackBerry, so I could pass them on to the other Penn Staters. A sampling of her e-mails to me:

--"The team just arrived at the stadium. Could not tell if #14 was the good Anthony or the bad Anthony."

--"OMG...there are 2 Buckeyes in the row in front of us. This is sacred ground for heaven's sake!"

--"Getting messages out of the stadium is impossible! Of course every student is text messaging..."

--"Good sign - the drum major landed both flips! They did a 2005 video of the OSU game that brought down the house."

Bob Secor, one of the Penn State travelers, brought a portable satellite radio on the trip and was listening to the Steve Jones-Jack Ham broadcast on his headphones. So we'd get periodic updates from him as well: "Ohio State kicked off" ... "Ohio State has a third-and-five" ... "Ohio State, 3-0."

I think Penn State had just fallen behind 17-7 when the flight attendant announced that it was time for us to "turn off and stow all electronic devices." So we spent the entire overnight flight not knowing the outcome of the game. The minute we landed in Munich, I turned on my BlackBerry and found this e-mail from my friend at the stadium:

"Well, there's no way to put lipstick on this pig. It was OSU 37 PSU 17. We were badly outplayed. Wallace did have a KO return for our last TD.... It was not a good showing for PSU on national TV. You made a wise decision to go to Italy instead of to the game."

We're all disappointed, but we figure soon we'll be on the Italian Riviera, eating pesto, drinking Italian wine, and saying, "Football? What's that?"

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