My excitement about visiting the campus of Notre Dame started a few months ago when Britt recognized the possibility on our drive from Chicago to Evart. As the days leading up to the trip lessened, my anticipation grew as if I were actually going to a game.
Yesterday morning I popped out of bed and couldn’t get to the car fast enough. I was actually able to communicate minutes after waking up. For anyone that knows me or has experienced a morning with Phillip, you know that I usually don’t speak for at least half an hour or so.
We stopped at a gas station a little less than thirty miles from South Bend. Here I encountered what I’m sure most Northern Illinois residents and UGA and Georgia Tech fans back home take for granted. In the gas station was more Notre Dame merchandise than I had ever seen in a store before. I managed to contain myself and wait to purchase anything until I was at the incredible Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore.
As we got into South Bend I was beside myself. I couldn’t believe I was actually going to walk the same paths as Joe Montana, Brady Quinn, Knute Rockne, Tim Brown, Ara Parseghian, and Lou Holtz just to name a few. We passed by St. Mary’s and Holy Cross and then we saw the first of the school’s signs.
As we drove in I spotted the Golden Dome and the stadium. Again, I must thank my team for not making fun of my regression to an elementary school boy walking into Wonka’s factory. We stopped so I could get the camera out of the trunk and Clint jumped out to take a picture of me on Notre Dame Avenue. We parked and began our journey.
The obvious first place to go was Notre Dame Stadium. I will post later on about that whole experience. We then walked around to see and take pictures with “Touchdown Jesus.” We had to ask a couple of students for directions to make sure we didn’t waste any time as we navigated through the campus. What an incredibly beautiful campus by the way. And to top that off it was perfect early fall weather.
We made our way to the Main building (the Golden Dome). Immediately next to the Dome is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. We stopped in and were able to observe the daily Mass. I’ll have to share later on the funny happenstance while we were in the Basilica. From there we made our way to the Grotto. While I don’t subscribe to spiritual background of the Grotto I do appreciate its beauty and importance on the campus. We then made the trek back to the front of campus to hit the bookstore.
I have no idea how long we were in there but I know I could have spent another two hours at least. I’m excited to get home with all the goodies I was able to get. I’ll post some pictures of the girls when I get home with their surprises. All in all, this experience exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait to come back!