The Princeton women's tennis team is on its quadrennial Marx Tour, visiting Sweden, Denmark and Spain before returning home for the start of the 2014-15 school year and fall season.
Lindsay Graff, a rising senior, checked in with GoPrincetonTigers.com with her view from across the Atlantic:As we braced ourselves for the eight-hour journey across the Atlantic Ocean for the 2014 Marx Tour, we did so with a keen eye toward fulfilling the Department of Athletics' motto of “Education Through Athletics.” There’s nothing like a 10-day excursion to three cities in Europe to remind us all how lucky we are to be a part of Princeton’s athletic program. We’d like to give a special thanks to alum Louis Marx Jr. '53 for endowing this trip and providing us with an unparalleled cultural experience.
Despite the sleepless night on the plane, we were excitedly wide awake as we arrived in Stockholm, Sweden at 7:30 a.m. for the first leg of the trip. With our luggage and a few tennis racquets in tow, we trudged through the Swedish public transportation system in search for our hotel. Thankfully, we only had to stop and ask for help a total of four times, since our pooled efforts at reading Swedish provided us with at least enough of an idea regarding the right direction to head.
For the first stop after quickly settling into the hotel, we had a private tour of City Hall, a place that’s home to all of the legal affairs and great banquets of Stockholm. We avidly engaged in the interactive session, reminiscent of our stellar precept participation in the classroom. As we roamed the hall, which first opened in 1923, we learned about its carefully chosen architectural style, delicate design of the rooms, and historical value.
Following the tour, we walked around the city center a bit more and braved the chilly summer weather of Scandinavia. While walking around, we couldn’t help but notice the city’s overall cleanliness and environmental friendliness.
On the second day, we ventured to Drottningholm Palace to view the summer residence of Swedish royalty. The intricate art and architecture of the palace was stunning, and it provided a clear picture of the country’s history since the 1700s. Each room in the palace held a unique purpose, demonstrating the attentive design decisions of the artists and architects involved.
Next, we travelled to the Nobel Museum, where we naturally found several pictures of our very own Princeton professors lining the walls. Of course, this only served as an additional reminder of why we love our school. As we learned about the rich history of the Nobel Prize and saw remarkable innovations throughout the museum, we marveled at the prospect of someday winning the annual award ourselves in one of the five topics of chemistry, physics, medicine, literature, or peace.
We spent the next day at the tennis academy of Magnus Norman, the former top-five world ranked tennis player. We spent the morning and afternoon playing practice matches against the academy’s players, who were all young touring pros on the professional circuit. Since we hadn’t played team matches since the middle of May, it was an exciting opportunity for us as we prepare to begin our fall season in just a few weeks. We’re all looking forward to the upcoming season, as it took us just three days on this trip to be reassured that our team dynamics haven’t changed, which is a positive reflection given our success as Ivy League Champions last year.
We spent the evening walking around a different part of Stockholm, getting lost while trying to navigate the Swedish transit system, and indulging in food representative of the native Scandinavian cuisine.
For our last day in Sweden, we started by exploring a popular trendy area of Stockholm and walking into the local shops. We then visited the Vasa Museum, which houses Vasa, a salvaged Swedish warship that sank on her first voyage in 1628. Despite 330 years underwater, the massive ship and its contents, which includes several human skeletons, were almost fully recovered. Through advanced scientific methods, historians were able to reconstruct a picture of 17th-century life in Sweden simply from the artifacts found in the shipwreck.
In the evening, we visited Gronan, the oldest amusement park in the country. While some of us conquered longstanding fears of heights and enjoyed a few rides, others simply enjoyed the scenic view that the park offered, given that it’s located right along the Baltic Sea. We concluded our final day in Sweden, ready for our upcoming adventures in a new city. Next stop: Denmark.