DAY 4 – THE FLOCK FLIES TO ATHENS
As sad as we were to say good bye to the beautiful city of London, everyone was equally excited to get Athens for the second leg of our trip. The team bus departed the hotel in Canary Wharf at 8 a.m. for the hour-long drive to London Heathrow International Airport, winding through the busy streets one last time.
The three and a half hour flight to Athens took off just shy of 1 p.m. and, by the time we all cleared customs, gathered our luggage, loaded the bus and made it to our hotel, it was nearly dusk and time for dinner. Everyone quickly dropped off their bags in their rooms and made their way to one of several restaurants on the hotel property, which is located right next to the Aegean Sea.
We were only teased by Athens beauty on the drive to the hotel, but will get a full taste Thursday morning, as the travel party will make our way to Acropolis for a walking tour of the Parthenon before some time to enjoy Astir Beach.
While in Greece, the Ducks’ second exhibition game is scheduled for Friday night at 8:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. PT) against EFAO Zografou BC (no broadcast or live stream) with the final contest taking place Sunday afternoon. The team will take to the water on Saturday, with a full day on a boat cruise on the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea.
DAY 5 – ACROPOLIS, PARTHENON & ASTIR BEACH | PHOTO GALLERY
Decked out in custom Oregon Athens t-shirts, the bus full of Ducks departed the hotel at 9 a.m. for Acropolis. Upon arrival, the travel party was split into two groups and given their own tour guide to take us up the steps to see the Parthenon and other ancient columns at the top of a steep hill. Even on a day that reached the upper 90s, the attraction was swarming with tourists, as Acropolis is one of Greece’s most sought-after destinations.
We slowly made our way up marble steps all while learning about how this massive structures were built over 2,500 years ago, along with some Greek mythology. We were able to look down into an ancient theatre and see several columns before reaching the summit where the Parthenon stood.
After reaching the top, the tour guides allowed everyone to explore all the different ruins at the top of the hill and take photos. It’s hard to wrap your mind around how something so beautiful, vast and intricately detailed has stood for so long.
We then all made our way slowly down the mountain and walked into the town center, where we were all able to find some authentic Greek food for lunch and visit all sorts of shops for souvenirs.
The bus then took us to the beautiful Astir Beach. The sand was so soft (and hot!) but the water was the perfect temperature and calm. The beach sat in the middle of a small peninsula and all around us were hills filled with olive trees and islands in the distance. A sun-soaked crew then returned to the bus and back to the hotel to clean up and eat dinner.
A quick trip to see Poseidon’s Temple is on the itinerary for Friday morning before returning back to prepare for the second exhibition game of the trip, which is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. PT) against EFAO Zografou BC (no broadcast or live stream).
DAY 6 – TEMPLE OF POSEIDON & GAME DAY #2 | PHOTO GALLERY
Another day in Greece and another ancient monument to discover – this time we traveled south down the coast to the Temple of Poseidon. We were treated to stunning views of the Aegean Sea and surrounding mountains for the entire 30-minute bus ride.
The Temple of Poseidon – the Greek god of the sea – sits atop a tall hill but the trek up it was a lot easier than hiking up to Acropolis on Thursday. The bus was able to take us nearly all the way to the top, and when we reached the site, we were surrounded on three sides by stunning blue water. The team was able to explore the area and take photographs of the columns and the sea.
A short ride away was a little town filled with restaurants, cafes and shops, and everyone was given time to explore and find some authentic Greek cuisine for lunch. Most got gyros, skewers, salads and pita bread – and they were absolutely delicious
Since it is a game day after all, the team headed back to the hotel in the early afternoon to rest up and eat a good pregame meal.
The Ducks traveled about 45 minutes into the heart of Athens to face off against Greek club EFAO Zografou B.C. (EFAOZ B.C.). The gym was decorated with banners of the most famous Athenian basketball players: the three Antetokounmpo brothers.
UO handled its business on the court, taking down the Greek side by a score of 114-38. Freshman Sofia Bell led seven Ducks in double figures with 21 points, draining 5-of-9 3-point attempts. Ula Chamberlin, Peyton Scott and Grace VanSlooten each scored 14 points while Sammie Wagner turned in a double-double with 10 points and 14 boards.
As a team, Oregon shot 59 percent from the field and tallied 44 assists on 47 made field goals. Kennedi Williams dished out 13 assists while Scott added nine helpers.
The Ducks have one more game on tap during their foreign tour, a game against Eleftheria Moschatou on Sunday at 4 p.m. (6 a.m. PT) before jetting back stateside on Monday,
Saturday is a day many have looked forward to since we got to Europe, as an all-day boat cruise on the Saronic Gulf and Aegean Sea is on the agenda. We will get the privilege of seeing the picturesque countryside from the seas while getting time to swim in and experience one of the world’s most beautiful bodies of water.
DAY 7 – BOAT CRUISE IN THE SARONIC GULF | PHOTO GALLERY
Wow. There’s not much more to say other than wow. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend a day in Greece than an all-day boat cruise around the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. We were all warmly greeted on The Bounty by Captain Steilos and his crew at 10 a.m. for a day we won’t soon forget.
The three-level vessel dawned with a white and green “O” flag set sail eastbound to the island of Aegina, coasting over crystal blue waters with the cityscape of Athens and mountains behind us. After about an hour journey on the sea, we disembarked to explore the island, stopping at local shops, bakeries and cafes to experience this small Greek town.
Once back aboard, Captain Steilos dropped anchor a few hundred meters from shore so everyone could take a dip in the stunning water. Some were brave enough to jump or dive from the top level and, with the sun shining down, the water felt incredible.
While we swam, the crew prepared lunch on the grill and in the kitchen. We were all treated to some of the best food on the trip – or ever – with a full spread of chicken, beef, lamb, pork, potatoes, salad, rice and other authentic Greek cuisine. The staff on board was so accommodating and attentive, they really went above and beyond.
After a few hours, The Bounty set sail for a remote cove for some more exploring and time in the water. Much of the travel party took the opportunity to squeeze in a little cat nap during the ride, powering up for some more fun in the sun. When we arrived at our anchor point, we were surprised to be greeted by a few Duck parents who made the trip overseas and who were on a boat of their own enjoying the same spot.
Some swam to a small beach near some caves and a cliff to explore, but most swam and relaxed in the calm waters. As the sun set, the boat’s crew raised the anchor, untied from the rocks and set course back to the dock.
We all want to especially thank the Fast Break Club for helping make this part of our trip possible and so memorable. It was easily one of the best of our trip and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Sadly, Sunday is our final full day in Greece, which also brings our final game day. The Ducks will take on Eleftheria Moschatou at 4 p.m. (6 a.m. PT) before a farewell dinner later that evening. Finally, Monday will be a long journey back to Eugene for the Ducks.
Be sure to check our Instagram page, as a different Duck will have control over the team’s Instagram story to give a behind-the-scenes look at the trip. Check back here daily for updated blogs after each day’s activities. For even more content, follow Oregon women’s basketball (@OregonWBB) on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Facebook.