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Summer travel blog: Bucknell’s foreign tour ends in Paris

Now stateside, Matt O’Reilly gives us a recap of their last three days and reflects on the entire trip.

Matt O’Reilly

This summer, Mid-Major Madness is teaming up with schools across the country as they travel overseas to compete against elite competition and soak up the culture. Student-athletes will blog their experiences for us via written posts, photos, video, and just about anything else they want.

Here’s Matt O’Reilly’s final installment, now that Bucknell’s trip has ended...

What’s up everyone, this is my last update for all of you guys about our unforgettable trip to Europe! We just returned to our home in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and miss Europe already! Before I get into the conclusion, I’ll give you a recap of our last 3 days!

We spent the last leg of our trip exclusively in Paris, France, where we stayed right downtown in a really nice hotel. The first day that we got there, the whole team got a walking tour of the city. Paris was unlike any big city that I have yet seen. Unlike the cities that we visited previously like Amsterdam, Ghent and Bruges, Paris is much larger and actually has the feel of an American city in many ways. There were hundreds of people at every turn, and the city was lined with tall buildings. Not only that, but it was so big that it ended up being the first city we really had to rely on our Maps app or even Uber rides to get us to where we wanted to go. The city was also more diverse than any of the previous cities that we have visited, which was really cool for all of us to experience.

While the city is similar in size and population to many American cities, it is drastically different in its appearance. Paris is a very large city, yet the architecture remains beautiful and unique to anything we had previously seen. Looking at the intricate designs of the numerous spots like the Notre Dame and the Louvre to name a couple, it is clear that this city was very different. While the buildings were bigger than the previous cities we visited, they were by no means sky scrapers, and it was easy to tell that each and every building was built by individuals who had paid ridiculous attention to detail.

One of our favorite stops, as is probably expected, was our stop to the Eiffel Tower. While it is a world-wide icon and all of us had seen pictures, the experience of seeing it up close was something none of us would have expected. Another massive structure with unbelievable architecture, our whole team was mesmerized by its prominence amongst this amazing city. In turn, this became likely our most photographed location of the trip!

While in Paris, we played one game against a local professional team, Bretigny Select. This game was an experience that many of us will remember for a long time. As we entered the gym, all of us immediately noticed how small it was and how different the court and the lighting was to many of the arenas we have played in the past. It was similar to an AAU game in the sense that it was a small gym in the middle of nowhere with an amazing crowd who was rowdy and excited to watch some great basketball. Brétigny Select was very a tall, strong and athletic team and they did their best to assert these skills throughout the game. They used their athleticism and length to grab tough rebounds and their strength to bully their way into the paint on number occasions. Fortunately for us, our team is loaded with tough players and we were ready to play. We ended up winning the game by 40 points and walked out 3-0 in total for the tour!

The next day, we concluded our trip with a visit to some of the countless shops in the city as well as an awesome boat tour. We had such an amazing time riding the boat and getting different views of the breathtaking buildings throughout the city. By the end of the ride, we felt like we had a great understanding of what Paris had to offer and also a greater appreciation for the city, it’s history and the culture that exists there as well.

In conclusion, we had an amazing trip that many of us will never forget. Visiting places that I never thought I would have the opportunity to see in my lifetime is something that I, as well as my teammates are very thankful for. We really want to thank our Coaches and the University for providing us with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Going further, we are extremely thankful for Mr. McShane and Basketball Travelers for making this trip as amazing as it possibly could have been, providing us with a top notch itinerary and pushing us out of our comfort zones in order to better our experience as a whole. Lastly, we are all extremely thankful for our loving parents and families who have provided for us throughout our lives and made opportunities like this possible!

Thanks everyone for following this past week! I loved being able to share the experience with you all. Now it’s time for us to focus in on the upcoming season so we can hopefully capture another Patriot League Crown! Go Bison!

Photos below, all from Matt: