Lansing High graduate Briele Rees, class of 2017 and a Baker University softball recruit, joined her team for an excursion to Italy. With a little softball planned to go along with visiting a number of legendary points of interest, Briele shares her experience.

Venice and Milan were absolutely gorgeous. Venice was by far my favorite city. It was just like every movie I saw and every picture I've seen on the internet. We had about seven hours to explore the city so we mostly just walked around to shop and take pictures. 

I also rode on a gondola, which are the little canoe/boats, and that was so cool. We went through the canals and saw all of the cute buildings and bridges.

I think Venice was my favorite because there were no cars that you had to dodge and it was a lot less crowded than the other cities. There are no roads in Venice so it had a calmer and more peaceful feeling than the other cities.

The next day we went to Milan. Milan is the fashion capital of Italy so I went there ready to spend some money and do some damage. However, I left with absolutely no purchases because everything was so expensive. My teammates and I went to a department store and there was barely anything we could afford. 

By the end of the day, we were kind of laughing at how expensive everything was. But Milan was still so beautiful and even though I didn't buy anything, it was nice to window shop. 

The last three days of Italy was the tournament. We ended up getting fourth and the other USA team got fifth. It got a little crazy with all the mosquitoes that were on the field where we played. I was constantly swatting at all the bugs and definitely swallowed at least six. 

One of my old teammates that I played with last fall was an exchange student from Italy that played softball and I ended up playing her team. It was so crazy because I didn't think I'd ever see her again. 

After the tournament was over and the last games were played, we all passed out gifts to each other. A lot of the Italian players wanted our jerseys so I gave them my USA jersey and they gave me a T-shirt in return.

Italy was all I thought it would be. It was absolutely beautiful in every way. 

Most of the  food was delicious. We ate all the time and it was fun. I truly do not think I will be able to eat any pasta or pizza for quite a long time. That is all I ate while I was there. 

We saw so many gorgeous sights and our schedule was extremely full. I really loved my travel mates and really got to know them well. We became instant friends but as the trip was coming to an end, we were pretty much all ready to get home.  

I hadn't been alone for almost two solid weeks and I was exhausted. We had seen so many places and had done so many things that I was just ready to get home to sleep in my own bed and just relax. 

Italy was a trip I will never forget. I enjoyed everything about the trip, especially getting to know some of my future teammates and my new coach, coach Stanclift. I really look forward to playing with these girls and maybe someday going back overseas to play some more softball.