Cheers to coming home! (An Alumni Guide to a Weekend Down Nostalgia Lane)

university of florida gators gainesville alumni
Location: Gainesville, Florida.
Travel date: November 4-November 6, 2011.

Last weekend was my alma mater's - the University of Florida (Go Gators!) - annual homecoming festivities, with my gator boys playing Tennessee's Vanderbilt University. As a devout Gator fan (through the good times and the bad times) and all-things-Gainesville enthusiast, myself and my group of Gator friends planned this glorious trip for months, and made it one to remember. And I even got to introduce some new friends to the Orange & Blue culture - which you can read more about in what looks to be an awesome fellow Journalism/Communications grad site: UF Traditions: A look into the past, present and future.

When in Rome, do as the carefree college students do:

An Alumni Guide to a Weekend Down Nostalgia Lane 

GETTING AROUND - Absolutely no one should drive to go out on a weekend like this. Take the ever-entertaining Later Gator bus, a cab or walk.

NIGHTLIFE - Hit up GatorCity/XS and their legendary 80s night, as well as Mother's for some of the cheapest drink specials in the country - think pitchers for dollars - just don't wear shoes you don't mind getting absolutely gross.

TAILGATE - find a cozy spot on/near campus to park and set up camp - ours was down the street from Hume, the Honors dorm. A little bit of a walk to the stadium, but that guarantees a great tour of campus and all its glory! 
AT THE SWAMP - we scored amazing seats for our first winning game in 4 Saturdays. Follow along with the Pride of the Sunshine Band and our fierce mascots Albert & Alberta for the cheers and traditions (see below!) - and when in doubt, do the gator chomp and yell "Gator Bait!" 

FOOD - are you a hardcore alum? If the good ol' beer and pizza diet doesn't scare you, the best nostalgia food will be the 24hour-7days a week operating Five Star Pizza. Sadly we had to skip Satchels, as none of us could wait 1 hour to be seated.

Gainesville, the transient city that never ages, that changes so often yet stays the same, will always have a really dear place in my heart. From the strong-holding friendships, hysterical memories and all the growing up i did, it shaped who I am and it'll forever be my home.

The Pride of the Sunshine Band
So Give a Cheer for the Orange and Blue,
Waving Forever! 
Forever Pride of Old Florida, 
May She Droop Never. 
We'll Sing a Song for the Flag Today, 
Cheer for the Team at Play!
 On to the Goal, We'll Fight our Way for Florida!

Alma Mater 
Florida, our Alma Mater, thy glorious name we praise. 
All thy loyal sons and daughters, a joyous song shall raise. 
Where palm and pine are blowing, where southern seas are flowing, 
Shine forth thy noble Gothic walls, thy lovely vine clad halls. 
Neath the orange and blue victorious, our love shall never fail. 
There's no other name so glorious, all hail, Florida, hail!

We are the boys from old Florida 
We are the boys from old Florida 
F - L - O - R - I - D - A 
Where the girls are the fairest, the boys are the squarest 
of any old state down our way. (Hey!) 
We are all strong for old Florida, 
down where the old Gators play. (Go Gators!) 
In all kinds of weather, we'll all stick together, 
for F - L - O - R - I - D - A

Albert & Alberta

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About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.