August 13, 2014 8:32:45 PM
Editor's Note: The Mississippi State women's basketball team is completing its International trip to Belgium and to France. Senior guard Martha Alwal reviews the team's final hours in France.
Wow it's hard to believe that we are wrapping up our last night in France. It's been a long trip and I'm ready to go home, but it has been such an amazing experience this past week with my teammates.
I am so glad that our last two days on the trip have come in Nice. This is by far my favorite place we have gone because it is absolutely beautiful.
I love the Mediterranean Sea and the beaches. It is so beautiful here and I've been swimming the last two days.
It has actually been a very full last day. This morning we went on a bus tour of Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo. When we left at 9 a.m. (3 a.m. in Mississippi) it was raining and absolutely miserable.
Our tour guide told us about the history of Nice and then we went up into the mountains and had these incredible views of houses on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. We saw one house on top of a hill that our tour guide said was Elton John's home.
It seemed that we kept climbing higher and higher as we drove, and the next thing you know we were in this village and stopping at the Fragonard perfume factory. Our guide showed us how they make the perfume, and I learned that perfume in aluminum bottles stays fresher longer than perfume in glass. I was also amazed to learn the number of flowers they have to use to make one bottle of perfume. They also make soaps there, and a man was using a machine to cut out soap that looked like ducks. He worked by himself and made 2,000 soaps a day.
At the end of the tour we got to smell different perfumes and even buy some. I bought a scent called Belle Cherie that I am going to give my mom. She will really like it.
I have probably spent over 200 euros on souvenirs, and all of them have been for my family. I can't believe I haven't bought myself anything.
After we finished buying perfume we got back on the bus and headed to Monaco. The traffic going into Monaco was crazy. Our guide said most people drove there because it is so expensive to live there.
Monaco was absolutely beautiful. The town overlooked a harbor, and the yachts in the harbor were huge. It was interesting to me that the crime rate there is very, very low.
We actually parked the bus and went to the top of the mountain where the Prince of Monaco's palace was. It was our first walking tour, and we were lucky because when we got up there the rain stopped. We saw the oceanography museum and where Princess Caroline lives, then to the cathedral where Grace Kelly got married and is buried. I didn't know who Grace Kelly was, but I found out she was a movie actress who married the Prince of Monaco.
After leaving the cathedral we went to see the prince's palace, and while we were there we got to see the changing of the guard. It was very cool and really precise. Some of us tried to do it, but we failed very badly.
I thought the prince might want to meet us, but he wasn't there because the flag was not flying above the castle. Oh well, maybe next time! The view of Monaco and the harbor was absolutely gorgeous from up there. We had time before we left to look around and eat some lunch.
We left Monaco heading to the Monte Carlo Casino, and on the way our bus drove over the starting line of the Monaco Grand Prix. It's amazing how those cars drive 200 mph or more on those streets.
The Monte Carlo Casino was really cool. We didn't go inside, but standing outside and seeing all of the really nice sports cars was cool. There was a yellow one there that I wish I owned.
The tour was a lot of fun, but we were ready to get back to Nice and hit the beach. Coach (Johnnie) Harris, Coach Aqua (Franklin), Maryann (Baker), Savannah (Carter) YaYa (Smith) and myself were all set to go parasailing. Unfortunately, when we got there they wouldn't let us go because it was too windy.
So Coach Harris and myself sat on the beach and watched the others as they went tubing behind a boat in the ocean. Coach Aqua had trouble getting out to the raft and getting on, which was really funny.
After tubing, YaYa, Savannah and myself met some other of our teammates and went swimming. Swimming took so much out of us that we got hungry. Our last meal in France was my favorite because we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. It was so good because it was the first American food I have had this trip.
I think prior to tonight I had lost five pounds because I hadn't really been eating anything. I do like croissants. I know they have them back in the United States, but they are really good over here. I also tried crepes and really liked them as well.
After we ate we decided to walk around Nice. It's such a great city and there were so many people out walking the streets. We had such a good time as a team, which has been one of the best things about this trip. As a team we have bonded and grown so much closer, and it will really help us when the season starts.
I am so ready to get back to the United States and be able to call my family and friends. The hardest thing for me on this trip has been being without a phone to call people the entire time.
The jet lag and food have also been difficult for me. My sleeping pattern has been thrown off the entire time, and I have not been able to adjust the food here although I am not a picky eater.
Although it's been a tougher trip than I thought, it has been so much fun. I am so thankful to the coaches and our administration at MSU for allowing us to have this opportunity. It will definitely be a trip I will always remember.
Well, it's off to pack my bags to head back to the United States! Talk to you later Bulldog fans!