We went to Italy, and saw a Minnesota Ultimate frisbee team win a world championship!

My son Chris is a serious Ultimate player for his high school team back in Minnesota. As we were making plans for things to do upon our arrival in Europe, he recalled that one of the coaches of his High School’s girls squad plays for a Minnesota team called “Drag’N Thrust” that would be competing in Lecco, Italy, which is located on the south end of the west leg of Lake Como. That was reason enough for us to make the 300 kilometer trek across the Alps to see more of Italy, and to watch some world class Ultimate!

More on the Ultimate in a moment, but –as we have discovered on or various trips so far– the trip is as much a part of the experience as the destination. In the video below, I tried to capture some of the experience of driving through the Alps on the Italian side of the mountains. In this clip, we are driving toward a town called Aosta, and virtually every “hill” (what do you call a smaller mountain that is a part of a much larger mountain range??) along the valley has a castle that was built in the middle ages as fortification by the feudal lords who ruled over a limited domain. If you look closely at the video (filmed by a passenger!) you will see one of these castles as we approach the tunnel. (My friends in the transportation industry will also undoubtedly note the high quality of the roadway, funded with toll revenue.)

Upon our arrival in Lecco, we learned from a fellow Ultimate fan who was staying at our hotel that Drag’n Thrust had indeed made it to the final championship round, and we would get to see them the following day. All three championship games (Women’s, Mixed, and Open – Drag’n Thrust is a mixed team – half men and women) would be played in the city’s stadium. Here’s a short video of Chris and me throwing the disc a couple hours before game time.

And here’s a video of Drag’n Thrust scoring a goal (They easily defeated a team from New York called Polar Bear) and another look at the venue after the skies cleared. Nice place for an Ultimate game, no?

After the games, we headed off to nearby Lake Como, which I’m told is where George Clooney hangs out sometimes, but we didn’t see him. We took a ferry from Varenna to Menaggio and had dinner at a great Italian restaurant. I made a video of part of our ferry ride, but in the interest of time, I instead offer you this still photo, which also captures he beauty of the area.

View of Lake Como, Italy, from the ferry from Varenna to Menaggio

View of Lake Como, Italy, from the ferry from Varenna to Menaggio

The light at the end of the Mount BlancTunnel

The light at the end of the Mount BlancTunnel

All in all, it was another great trip. The only notable drawback was the traffic jam we encountered on our approach back through the Mount Blanc Tunnel. We were delayed about 90 minutes, because they only allow one car in about every 20 seconds to minimize the chances of an accident inside the tunnel. So we waited and waited and waited, but eventually, we quite literally “saw the light at the …” well, you know.

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