NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt lacrosse returned to the United States last week after a weeklong international tour with stops in Prague, Czech Republic, and Berlin, Germany.
After a nine-hour flight from JFK to Prague, the lacrosse team arrived midmorning at their hotel in Old Town Prague. They enjoyed a walking tour and then a traditional Czech dinner—garden salad, choice of chicken, duck or beef, and red cabbage followed by a regional dumpling treat called knedliky.
Bright and early, the Dores embarked on a 10-mile walking tour of Prague. They visited landmarks including the National Museum, Dancing House, Old Jewish Cemetery, the Astronomical Clock and Charles Bridge.
The afternoon was spent relaxing before heading to the city park to play an international friendly game against the Czech Republic National Team. At halftime, they put on a lacrosse clinic for 50 neighborhood girls and boys, and after the game they enjoyed a traditional Czech barbecue with the hosting team.
“It was an amazing experience playing against the Czech team and coaching the clinic,” rising senior Ellie Hilsabeck said. “It’s really cool to see the game growing so much in other countries and how enthusiastic they were about playing with us. We all loved being able to help further the growth of lacrosse by coaching the young girls and boys who already love the sport.”
Friday morning the team got an exclusive tour of Prague Castle, an ancient symbol of the Czech State and one of the most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic. The tour included St. George’s Basilica, Golden Lane and Old Royal Palace. After a free afternoon, the Dores came back together for a sunset cruise along the Vltava River.
For Vanderbilt’s last day in Prague, the student-athletes were given five choices of activities to participate in during their free day, including a hike up the mini Eiffel Tower, paddle boarding in the Vltava, visiting small towns on the outskirts of Old Town Prague, visiting various museums throughout the city and shopping in the farmers market.
Sunday the Commodores headed out on a four-hour bus ride to Berlin. About 90 minutes into the drive, they stopped at Terezín Fortress, which was a war prison during the 19th century. Terezín Fortress imprisoned political opponents of the Nazi German regime, Czech resistance members, those who helped members of the Jewish community and more. It served as a transition location, where prisoners were held before being sent to concentration camps, however, thousands of prisoners there died of hunger, torture, illness and poor hygiene.
The Commodores then visited Dresden, Germany, and enjoyed a relaxing lunch. Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic touches. Toward the end of World War II, the city was bombed and most of the city center was destroyed.
On Monday, the Dores spent the morning on a bus tour of historical sites throughout Berlin, including the Berlin Wall, the Soviet War Memorial, the U.S. Embassy and more.
Vanderbilt concluded its international trip with a bike tour through Potsdam, Germany. Potsdam was the residence of many Prussian kings and the German Kaiser until 1918. The city is widely known for its palaces, lakes and historical and cultural significance.