As promised, here’s the details on our trip to Austria! I was graciously invited on a CrossFit Stuttgart family trip to Area 47 in Tirol, Austria this past weekend. We had an incredible time!

Unfortunately, I didn’t take many photos as I couldn’t take my phone on the adventures, but I’ll still give a full account of the weekend for your imaginary viewing pleasures. 

The trip started Friday afternoon with a three hour bus ride. Everyone was excited and social the whole way. It was a great way to get established with my travel partners. We had plenty of beer and other drinkables to ensure a good trip.

The drive in wasn’t terrible at all.

When we arrived at the resort, we ate some food at the restaurant and all went to bed as we had an early morning, white water rafting trip booked.

Rafting was a blast. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and the alps didn’t disappoint. After somehow managing to squeeze into my too small wetsuit, we got to our boats with our teams and went on our way. The water was sssooooooo cold! The guide made us do a practice tip of the boat which resulted in a slightly black eye for me, but it was fun anyway. The Rapids were super mild, but it wasn’t those we had to watch out for. Other boats were the real danger. It was like a sea of pirates out there. We waged war on each other like middle schoolers encouraged by our chaperones. Splashing, crashing, oar and passenger theft were rampant. Many people went overboard, and many laughs were shared. Once we got off the water, we squeezed out of our wetsuits with much relief and headed off to the water park.


Me and these lovelies decided to try out the wake boarding. I’ve been wake boarding for 16 years, but this course made a fool of me. Being pulled by cables, and not a boat was wildly humbling, and I never once made a full lap around the lake. The corners were sharp and the line had inconsistent tension that I just couldn’t get the hang of. But it was warm out, and the views were gorgeous, so it was still fun.

Back at the main water park, there was all kinds of slides and adrenaline inducing activities like the Blob. What is the blob? Well, it’s a giant air cushion on the water. One person jumps down and positions themselves on the far edge, then the next person jumps into the blob launching the first person into the air and into the lake. What a rush! Next to that was a huge slide that has a similar effect. You lie like a mummy to go down, and right at the end there’s a sharp upturn which, quite suddenly, renders you airborn. It was easily the most exhilarating water slide I’ve ever been on.

We had dinner at the Argentinian BBQ that night. The restaurant doubles as a night club as well, and that got interesting fast. Everyone in our group immediately commented on the lack of females. It was a giant sausage fest! Like, I’ve never seen anything like it. Naturally, I got talked into arm wrestling by some swissmen.


He obviously won, but he was embarrassed by the effort he had to expend and brought me a beer later. #functionalfitness

The next day, we spent most of the day like beach bums soaking in the last of the year’s warm rays. There were some pretty awesome trampolines which I enjoyed thoroughly, and we also did a ropes course at a height of 27 meters. The course was taxing and scary, but really fun and a nice little workout. The view was amazing from the top. 

I spent most of the weekend dressed like this:


I call it Mountain Chic.

The best adventure of the weekend was the Mega Swing. First we had to hike up to the bridge. A short climb, but got the heart rate up. Then we had to attach our carabiners to a metal cable and walk across a narrow bridge at 27 m up. THEN we had to shimmy sideways on a plank to get around the pylon and onto the jumping platform. It was terrifying. I knew I was perfectly safe thanks to the harness, but it’s not enough to keep the fight of flight response at bay. So, sweaty palmed and red faced, I waiting in line for my turn to jump watching all the people in front of me jump off the ledge with a small rope connected to their harness. When it was my turn, my stomach was in my throat. The guides pushed me into position, counted to three, and gently encouraged me over the edge. I ALMOST PEED. First, you free fall. Next, the rope gains tension and you swing in a huge arch. Then you realize what’s happened and can enjoy the next few swings before gravity slows you and you’re caught by the guy on the ground. I immediately wanted to go again. 10/10 would do over and over.

The ride home wasn’t as fun as the way there. Thanks to everyone else leaving the mountains, it took 7 hours. Colorado peeps, you know how it is.

I’m staying in Stuttgart for another few days as there’s beer fest here which the locals swear is better than Munich. On Monday, off to Zurich! 

Cheers!

Sorry for the delay. I actually haven’t been up to too much since my last post. Stuttgart has been very hospitable, and so I haven’t been in a rush to leave. I’ve met a great community of crossfitters here, have a great (and free) place to stay, and have been just enjoying my time. In the coming weeks will be Munich (last weekend of octoberfest), Berlin, and Austria.

This is Feuersee:

It’s just plopped in the middle of town with steps where people congregate to observe the beauty all day and night. It serves as a great central meeting place, and a wonderful half way point from my apartment to the gym downtown.

One of my friends from Colorado is stationed here at the Marine Base! Becky and I have been getting to catch up a bit, and attempting to take in some local culture. We went to the Pumpkin Fest only to be disappointed. We were issued tickets, walked down, and found that all the vendors were closing. No pumpkin bread, beer, or other comestibles for us. Just creepy sculpture viewing. 


We made the best of it. 

There’s an amazing landmark in Stuttgart called Birkenkopf. It’s at the highest point just outside the city and is made of rubble from the bombed parts of the city during WWII. The plaque roughly says: “This mountain piled up after World War II from the rubble of the city stands as a memorial to the victims and a warning to the living.” The spirit of the area was haunting. I couldn’t help but reflect on the idea of permanence. Nothing is permanent, tomorrow is never guaranteed. Love fiercely and openly, and never settle. 

This monument is so much more than rubble and a cross.


The gym I found here is awesome! The community is welcoming and warm, the coaches are knowledgeable, there’s elite and beginner athletes, and two facilities. CrossFit Stuttgart has been a gem of a find! In fact, this weekend, I’m heading to Austria with a bunch of the members and the owners. Should prove to be a memorable time whitewater rafting and adventuring with fit mutha uckas. 


They have FitAid ❤️



This snake sculpture was startling. WTF?!

This area loves sculptures. They’re everywhere. 

I’ll leave you with these pancakes:


All is well! I’ll have a post up early next week with my Austrian adventure!

Hello readers!

I’m writing to you now from Stuttgart, Germany. My lovely friend from CO, Becky Clark, is stationed at the military base here, and I’m using her boyfriends flat while he is away. So, now that I’ve found a cafe with wifi, I can settle in and send my latest stories. 

I left you in Nancy about to have dinner. As you may expect, the cuisine did not disappoint. For only 32€ I got 2 glasses of wine and a three course meal. 


It started with a chicken terrine, moved into a duck shepard’s pie with seared foie gras on top, and the after, the best citrus tart I’ve ever tasted. The meringue was almost like marshmallow fluff, and the strawberries around the edge must have been picked that morning they were so flavorful. My hosts, Audrey and Lio, were goofy and enjoyable. I hope to see them again one day. 


The other desserts were chocolate lava cake and apple crumble. I definitely won dessert that night, they paled in comparison.

The next day, I was off to the Germanic town of Strasbourg, France. What do you picture when you think of Germany 100 years ago? Probably looks a bit like this:


Cute, right?! I’m so happy I found it. I stayed in a hotel here that was close to downtown. You could walk pretty much anywhere worth walking in 20 min or less. On my first morning, I found this:


Built in the 1400s, this epic cathedral was nestled into the heart of the city. I grabbed a seat at the cafe out front and just stared for a while. The detail was painstakingly immaculate. A must see if you’re ever in the area. From there, I found CrossFit 67.


This photo shows only half the total space. There’s also a strongman area, and a weightroom (bodybuilding style). In the busy parts of the day there can be three classes running and open gym, it was incredible to witness. I took a class, and made a friend. The WOD was a shoulder smoker! Bench press, heavy KB swings, and hollow holds were the strength portion, followed by 4 rounds of 10 ring dips, 20 T2B, and 30 DU. There was a 12 min time cap and a 400m cash out. I capped. My shoulders were fatigued from the  bench press, and the rings were on the longest straps I had ever used (so unstable). BUT, I’m happy to report that no one who Rx’d beat the cap, and I managed to beat all but one person back in from the run! The coach was attentive, but quiet. I found motivation only from competing neck and neck with another guy. All in all, the gym was really nice and well-run, but lacking the heart that I’ve come to know at home. I’d go back, but only for lack of options and the amazing equipment assortment. The friend I made during class made it better though. Her name is Mina, and I got to spend a lot of time with her, even stay a night in her home. She was gracious, funny, and genuine. Serbian, so no bull shit. 


She showed me parliament and the European Union. It was cool to see such important places of government in such an assuming place.


I also met some other friends in Strasbourg from couch surfing. There’s a feature of the app called Hangouts where you can make yourself available for meeting up with others in the area. I ended up going to a BBQ on the border of Germany with a bunch of people! It was so cool! The boys cooked while the girls sat around and swapped travel stories. We all ate and laughed, and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Before leaving Strasbourg, I met up with a friend who took me skating! She’s a roller derby coach, and managed to find equipment big enough for me to borrow. I haven’t been on quad skates in ages. It felt so good. At first, I looked like Bambi on ice, but my skate legs came after a few minutes, and I was zooming all over. Maybe I’ll look into derby again when I get home. 


Next stop: Baden-Baden, Germany. I stayed with an amazing little family who treated me like a daughter. They were camping in the backyard because the weather was so nice, so in the spirit of fun, I slept in the treehouse. It was cool at night, and I slept like a champ.


The mom took me to a cafe with, in her opinion, the best cake and coffee in the region. It happened to be on the ground of a huge mansion as well. The cake was delicious, and I had my first drip coffee in what felt like ages. Happiness. 


Once the children were in bed, we were able to really get to talking. The couple was hilarious! In the end, we got into the liquor cabinet tasting local schnapps. They sent me packing with a bottle with which to make friends on my journey. This is why you can’t just stay in hotels and hostels in Europe. You miss these connections and experiences. The next morning, mom and I took the kids to the pool and just enjoyed a beautiful day looking at the Black Forest.


The day I had on my own there was memorable to say the least. I went to an Ancient Ritualistic Roman Bath. As alluded in the title, I got to be a nudist for 3 hours. In those hours, I was taken to 17 rooms each containing a step of the relaxation and rejuvenation process. Hot pools, cold pools, bubbly pools, saunas of varying degrees, a brush and soap scrubbing, a cocooned nap, and a fresh air room all with other bathers, all completely nude. I. Loved. It. 


This brings us to Stuttgart where I’m sitting now. 

Now for a new section I’m going to call “Things I Think Are Weird About Europe.”

1. The toilets are almost always separate from the shower and sometimes the sink too.

2. People eat bread and jam for breakfast. That’s it. They think I’m weird for wanting eggs.

3. The eggs at the store are not refrigerated.

4. Drip coffee is pretty much unavailable. It’s all espresso.

5. People are small. Like, I’m a freak.

6. People park half on the sidewalks because the streets are so small.

I think that’s it. That everything I have to report. I’m going to the gym soon. 

Kisses and fatty fat hugs!

Bonjour! (French is hard, and I suck at it)

For today’s post, I have happy tales, sad announcements, personal reflection, and a new city. I stayed in Paris a few days more after my last post. There’s so much city, I’m sure I just scratched the surface. I went back to CrossFit Original Addicts II. Did some heavy squats, helped with some Olympic lifting coaching, and completed a fun workout of 10-1 T2B, HSPU, and heavy KB Swings. I really enjoyed that box. It was full of people from all over (even another American girl), and the energy was very positive. They were outfitted in all Eleiko bars and plates, but only had one rickety squat rack. I’ll be back.

Btw, kilo bumper plates are massive. Those are 20kg.

This is their business card. I just had to share! I got a good reminder of this yesterday. I walked to the local grocery store to get fixings for dinner for my hosts. Of course, I forgot I was walking because I bought entirely too much stuff. So my trip home turned into a workout: 1000m farmer carry. ?

The main event for the rest of that day was a trip to Champs Elysees, the high end shopping district behind The Arc de Triomphe. Holy crap, the sea of people was incredible. I waiting 20 min just to go into Louis Vuitton where I’m certain my mouth was never fully closed. ($1,400 for a dress!!!) 

The people watching there was the truly entertaining part. The fashion, the cultures, the lack of people who lift… and the smoking! Everywhere, people are smoking or carrying baguettes. 

The next day was a whole different adventure: My first hostel, the bohemian district, and La Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Monmartre.

I arrived at the basilica during Sunday mass. After taking in the beauty of the architure from the outside and the view of Paris from the top of the hill (and after catching my breath from walking up what seemed like a billion stairs), I ventured inside. I spent the first few moments angry at the mob of tourists taking photos when signs clearly state no photos, but then the choir started. I was lost. The anger was gone and I was taken to the past. My own past spent in choirs and that of the church. The energy of the place was almost overwhelming. I was awash in pure love. The pleading and worship in the music was cathartic even though my voice was not included. I just stood silent in my own world with tears rolling down my face, oblivious to anything else. When the nuns finished, it took me a moment to snap back, and I resumed my tour. There was candles lit to various saints, beautiful works of stained glass depicting relevant scenes, and grand ceilings with intricate paintings, marble works, and mosaics. I walked slowly as in a dream until I walked outside again. 


Then, I found my way through the bustling streets of the bohemian district to my Hostel. After checking in, I met two new friends and spent the evening exploring and laughing with them. 


In the hostel over dinner, we met a man who is about to be inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest time traveling without returning home. He hasn’t been to his apartment in Montreal for nearly ten years! He went to Costa Rica on a whim for a two week stay with his girlfriend, and never came back. His stories were incredible! His nonchalance about his life struck me. He was without pride or boastfulness. A truly kind man who just enjoys people and the world. 

My friends and I decided after dinner to go to the Moulin Rouge. Sadly, none of us had a spare 100 euros to see the show, but we had fun just seeing it from the outside. Kansas (a nickname I mistakenly gave him after forgetting his name and where he was from) had never seen the movie, so Anouk and I decided that night was as good as any. The street that the Moulin Rouge is on is full of sex shops and strip clubs. We got crepes and wandered and joked and even found Eiffel Tower dildos on display! On our way back to the hostel we got more rose and revisited the Basilica. It was incredible at night! 




The steps of Sacre Coeur were alive at night with locals and tourists enjoying the view of Paris at night. After a while and with the need to pee, we went back to the hostel, hunkered into bed and watched Moulin Rouge. We sang, drank, laughed, met our other lovely roommates, and stayed up entirely too late. 

The next morning, I dragged my booty out of bed, said goodbye to Paris and my friends, and went off to meet my ride to Nancy. In Europe there’s this excellent company called BlaBlaCar that connects people for car pooling. For example: if I was driving from Boulder to Denver, I could offer the ride on BlaBlaCar and people could request to join. They pay like $8, meet me somewhere in Boulder, and join me for the trip. It’s like safe hitch hiking! I rode 3.5 hours to Nancy, France with 3 other people for just $16. The train would have cost 60! 

In Nancy, I have been couch surfing with a lovely couple. They are young, into metal, and all around cool cats. Nancy is a wonderful city. It is very similar to Boulder, actually. A smallish college town with wonderful culture. There’s beautiful buildings, a ton of restaurants and cafes, a cute downtown, and entirely too many opportunities to eat pastries. Unfortunately, there’s no CrossFit, but I did drop into a regular gym which was interesting as always. Besides two other guys, I was the biggest one there. You’d think I had an extra limb the way some of them were looking at me while I lifted (legs and shoulders). I was entertained. For my post workout, I had an incredibly delicious strawberry tart with the smallest to go coffee I’ve ever seen,and enjoyed them at the base of the cathedral in old town. 


Last night, we went to the city center to watch the historical light show that happens every night telling the story of Nancy. It was super neat! This town is very proud of its history and has clearly put effort into preserving it. 


I’m convinced there’s a princess in there somewhere. ^^

Tonight I’m having dinner with my hosts at a traditional French restaurant, and tomorrow I depart to Strasbourg, France on the border of Germany. It’s safe to say that I’m in love with this city,and hope to return. 

Now for some sad news: while I was in Paris, Andy called. Our cat, Hades, had been struck and killed by a car. Our neighbors brought him to Andy in a box after finding him while walking their dog. We had only had him a few tumultuous months. I’m extremely heartbroken that I couldn’t be there. It’s been a terribly tragic year for us for pets as we also lost Buddy and Piggy to sudden, untreatable health problems. ??? 


Andy wrote a beautiful eulogy for Hades that can be read on my Facebook wall. ❤️

Thank your for reading. New post after my first few days in Strasbourg. ?

I made it, guys! Today was my second day in Paris and the first full day of my trip. When I arrived in Paris last night, I couldn’t check into my AirBnB yet, so I got myself to the Eiffel Tower and just sat on a park bench admiring my surroundings. The metro (subway) here is easy to use, but not the first time. I definitely almost got lost, didn’t know what kind of tickets to buy, and probably looked like a sad puppy. I figured it out, though. Some very nice people answered a few questions for me, and now I’m using the metro like a pro. You can get almost anywhere in the city in 30 min or less. I love it! The food here so far is not my favorite (mostly because I’m cheap), but the pastries and coffee are amazing!


Today, I went to CrossFit Original Addicts in Paris for a workout. The coaches there were welcoming as if we were old friends. We talked about the crossfit games (they had attended too) and Ido Portal movement methodology. In fact, they may come to Boulder to study with Matt Bernstein at Boulder Movement Collective. I told them to drop by Flatirons for some fun.  The gym itself was small, but nice and well equipped. Up front they had a lovely shop with tea, snacks, and merch. 


I helped a new friend with his snatch technique and did a quick 21-15-9 of power cleans and burpees over bar. After the workout was The Louvre! 


The Louvre was breathtaking. The vastness, the detail, the history. The smile on my face was hard to contain. I saw three of the many exhibits as I don’t care to take the full 5 days the information lady said it would take to see everything. I chose: Italian painters, Greek and Roman sculpture, and Egyptian history.  It’s really hard to say what my favorite was. The history contained in those walls is astounding. Often I would get lost in memories about mythology and folklore. The descriptions were all in French, but I was able to get the gist of everything. The Italian painters were often humorous for me as the people portrayed had hilarious facial expressions. I narrated for them in my head like live memes (example below).


This cracked me up!!

The architecture inside the museum was just as impressive as the art.


Of course, I saw the famous pieces like the Mona Lisa, Venus de milo, and Nike of Somanthrace. 

Mona had her own wall and security (and a mob).


And here’s other pieces I found noteworthy:

Marcus Aurelius


Actual mummy cats. I want all my future pets mummified. K? KTHXBAI.

There was so much more. Too much for my little blog. 

The rest of my stay in Portland was fantastic. Morgan and Zac were the bestest hosts ever, and I love them to pieces. We had an obligatory ladies night which was fabulous. As expected. 


I think I’ll stay in the city of love a few more days, then head east toward Germany to meet up with friends. 

Kisses!!