Thursday, December 16, 2010

Notre Dame, Part II

Hi Blog Readers,
You may be wondering why one of my recent posts (delivered via e-mail) looked very familiar. Well, I decided to rewrite the Notre Dame football post because I didn't think it flowed very well. After revising the piece, I published it, not realizing that when I clicked the Publish button, the post would be sent out via e-mail again. Sorry! Thanks for continuing to read (and comment) on my blog posts. I appreciate your support more than you know.
When Brian and I visited the University of Notre Dame in November, we flew in and out of Chicago O'Hare International Airport. We've flown in and out of Chicago before, but neither one of us had ever been beyond the airport. Eager to see the Windy City, we decided to take a tour on Thursday morning. We only had a few hours in the city, so we opted for a Segway tour.

I loved cruising around the city on a Segway! Being rather uncoordinated, I was a bit nervous when I first stepped onto the Segway. But it was so easy to use. After ten minutes of practice in the park, I was ready to take to the streets. I had so much fun that I didn't want to give the Segway back at the end of the tour. Brian, on the other hand, said he felt like he was going to crash at any moment. (When we finished our tour and were turning in our helmets, one of the other tour guides mentioned that taller folks, particularly gangly men, have a harder time riding Segways. Apparently, being vertically-challenged has its advantages!)

After our Segway tour, Brian and I walked down to Navy Pier and rode the ferris wheel.

We enjoyed spectacular views of the city...

...and Lake Michigan. We really lucked out in the weather department. Temperatures were in the 70s,which as you know is particularly warm for mid-November in Chicago.

An hour and a half after departing Chicago, we reached Notre Dame. (This shot was taken as we drove in the main entrance for the first time. Up ahead is the administration building's golden dome.)

The campus is simply b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l.

Part of its beauty lies in the gorgeous buildings.

Almost every campus building has this pretty brick facade, regardless of when the edifice was built. How is that possible, you ask? Well, during a tour of the campus, we learned that all of the bricks are brought in from Italy.

Maybe that's one reason why tuition is $37,000 per year! Just kidding...

During our student-led tour, we also visited the library, which is home to Touchdown Jesus.

Did you know that Touchdown Jesus is made entirely of stone? And that the reflecting pool below it is only ten inches deep? Just a few more fun facts we learned on our tour...

We also briefly passed through the Basilica and later returned for Mass.

While in the Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes (a replica of the one in France), we said a few prayers for loved ones and lit a candle.

When lunch rolled around, we opted to dine in the south dining hall (currently ranked the second best dining hall in the country). There we were treated to a huge array of food options...many, many more than I remember at UC Davis. Just as impressive were the dining hall's vaulted ceilings, massive fireplace, and oak tables and chairs. (Our tour guide likened the dining hall to Harry Potter's Hogwarts, but I've yet to see any HP movies, so I cannot confirm nor deny.)

Later, we learned that the furniture--the tables and chairs--date back to the 1930s. According to our tour guide, the priest in charge of purchasing the chairs 80 years ago, asked a number of local carpenters to build sample chairs for him. When all of the chairs were completed, he threw them one-by-one down the stairs of the main administration building. The chair in the best condition after the fall was selected, and its builders received a contract to produce all of the chairs and tables for the dining hall. :-)

Perhaps, my favorite place on campus was here on the banks of St. Joseph's Lake. Brian and I sat on a wooden bench near the edge of the water and gazed out on this peaceful body of water, sprinkled with flocks of geese. This scene, for me, conjured up bits and pieces of poetry by Walden and Thoreau--pieces I haven't read since high school and college.

Later on that day, we cheered on the Notre Dame men's basketball team, thanks to free tickets from the family we were staying with. (We rented a room in the Oliva family home in South Bend through the Notre Dame Bed & Breakfast Registry. It was a wonderful experience and we'd highly recommend it!)

It was a great game, and Notre Dame handily beat Georgia Southern, 98-61.

Visiting Notre Dame (and seeing the Fighting Irish play) was a dream-come-true for my hubby. He could have easily visited the university with a few friends, but I'm really glad I had the opportunity to accompany him on this special trip. It was a whirlwind adventure (Brian's Disneyland as I like to call it), but I'm glad we packed as much as we could into our days there.

We came, we saw, and the Irish won...twice! What more could we ask for?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey girl!
Not only are you a great photog, but a dang fine writer to boot!
Good job my friend!!

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