And so, I arrived back in Paris. Back to where it started three months prior. I stayed in the same hostel as the first time, and revisited only my very favorite spots. 

I’ll miss Paris for the sweets for sure.


I went to two crossfit gyms while I was there, one familiar and one new. CrossFit Original Addicts was how I remembered it. I’ll always go back. The other was CrossFit RAR. They opened while I was in other parts of Europe, very shiny. I did a long metcon with my first friend in Europe.

It was a modern gym with beautiful locker room facilities and fancy new equipment. The floor was a bit warped and soft which was strange, but that’s my only complaint.

I’m excited to return to my home gym, Flatirons Performance Center. I miss coaching, I miss my fellow coaches, and I miss my wonderful community! 

After purchasing a small suitcase and filling it with wine, I went to the airport to fly home. Relief, sadness, excitement… Just a few of the emotions I was feeling as my plane left the gate. I had a very brief layover in Iceland, and got to take some beautiful photos from above.

And here’s my final photo for you all:

Minneapolis from the air. Home. 

I’m writing this from my parents’ kitchen table in Fargo. Happy to be home and back to some familiar. Preparing for thanksgiving with the family, and then back to Boulder on Saturday. I’m excited to see all my favorite people, and return to making money instead of spending it! I’m sure you all have questions, and I’ll be happy to answer them. However,for the sake of expedience, here’s some FAQs.

1. What was your favorite part?

Well, that depends! Rome was the most fun and the best sightseeing. Barcelona had the best food and a beach. Ireland had the best nature. Stuttgart had the best gym culture. If I was going to move overseas, I would go to London as I felt very at home there.

2. Did you ever get bored/scared/lonely?

Of course! All of the above! However, it was generally short lived. Traveling alone has its ups and downs. I had a massive amount of freedom. It’s just easier. Easier to find couchsurfing hosts, easier to make decisions, easier to meet people, easier to blend in. There were absolutely times that I wished I had someone with whom to share experiences though. I think for a trip of this length, traveling solo is best, but for future, shorter trips, I’d like to have a friend.

3. Was couch surfing weird? (And what is it?)

I was fortunate to have only positive experiences with my hosts. Every host I had was warm, welcoming, and accommodating. They brought me into their home like they would a beloved friend, and I’m so thankful for the hospitality I was shown. My hosts often took me to their favorite places, shared meals and drinks with me, and took a great interest in getting to know me. 

Basically, in the couch surfing app, you search for a city, and a list of hosts come up. You sift through their profiles, and make requests to stay with people you think you’ll get on with. They can either accept, decline, or make counter offers for different dates. Often, they have also been travelers and love to share stories. Some just like meeting people from around the world. It’s totally free with no strings attached. I often made meals for hosts however and always kept their place as tidy as I could so as to not be a burden.

4. Was the language barrier hard?

No. Most people spoke at least some english, and I’m quite blessed with the ability to pick up some languages fairly easily. Google translate came in really handy for tough situations, but I had alsmot no issues with communicating.

5. What are you going to do now?

I’m going back to coaching and personal training at Flatirons for sure. I’d love to return to Verde, but they haven’t room for me at the moment, so I’m going to look for something else. 

6. Do you feel differently? 

Not really. I’d say my biggest take away from all of this is that I’m perfectly ok with me. I can be happy by myself, and I can depend on myself (and google maps). I’m less fearful, more bold, and trust my instincts a little more. I learned to live with very little, and didn’t really miss my material things. I’d recommend solo travel to anyone.
That’s it. That’s all of it. 

Thank you for sharing my journey. 

Jenna

Yeah. It’s green.

I spent a full seven days in Ireland after Manchester because I found another £9 flight to Paris the following week. Mostly, I was in Dublin, but I did make it out to the west for the weekend to see the Cliffs of Moher.

Lucky for me, it didn’t rain much while I was there. It was chilly, but not unbearably so. Dublin is quaint for a big city. One can easily walk the whole of it in a day. I chose to take a relaxing approach to exploring the city by going out in small bursts to explore. The first hostels was in was right in the thick of everything which made it easy. Dublin is split in half by a river. There’s a distinct difference between the two sides. One is high class, one is low, and the locals will make sure you know that. I spent most of my time in the low class, old town area. It suited me with its vintage charms. One night was spent there doing a backpackers pub crawl. We visited several pubs where people were playing Irish music, drank plenty of Irish beer, and generally danced to our hearts contents. 


The best part of Dublin for me was the Guinness Storehouse. It’s the original birthplace of Guinness where Arthur Guinness had such a vision that he signed a 9000 year lease which is on display in the floor of the orientation area. The water there flows down from the nearby mountains, and they use only Irish grown barley for their iconic malt. The storehouse (museum) is shaped like a giant pint glass that would hold some 14,000,000 pints of Guinness. Each floor was dedicated to a different part of the Guinness story from the brewing process to Arthur Guinness’s life, the years of advertising campaigns to learning to pour the perfect pint. The top of the pint glass is a pub with a 360 view above Dublin. Amazing. I was entertained the entire time, and the guinness was so fresh, it was like tasting it for the first time again. 


Like every city, there’s a million pigeons. Here’s one sad little pigeon I saw who was missing a foot! Poor little dude. 


There was another brewery in Dublin called The Porterhouse. They don’t serve Guinness much to the disappointment of several people I overheard at the bar. The day after the election, I drowned my sorrows in their house porter and sticky toffee pudding. *sigh*


So that’s Dublin. The people are nice, the beer is great, and the beef stew will take the chill out of you. 

The best part of Ireland is the Cliffs of Moher. I spent the weekend in the nearby town of Galway where I was cold and damp most of the time, but the food was delicious. I treated myself to a dinner for one of fish stew, fresh mussels, yummy malt bread, and of course, banoffee pie.


The next day I hopped on a bus to the cliffs. On the way, we stopped by some caves. They were alright. They used to be hibernation caves for the now extinct Irish Grizzly, so that was cool. 

Here’s some shots from along the way. Ireland has a very unique landscape. 


Let us not tarry. Here’s the cliffs:


It’s a lot of photos. I don’t care. I love them all. It was cold and windy as shit, and there were signs everywhere warning people not to get too close to the edge as every year, someone gets blown off. Such a magical place. 

My last night in Dublin, I went to Navitas CrossFit. It was quite cramped, but the coach did a good job herding us. The workout was fun, and it felt great to really sweat. The community wasn’t the most lively, but they were kind. Before my trip to the west coast, I had worked out at a normal gym called Raw. It was hot and crowded with a healthy mix of bodybuilders, power lifters, and even a few oly guys. I went bro mode and did leg day, bodybuilding style. You’d think some of them had never seen a girl squat! It was really quite fun, and I’d recommend the gym to anyone who just wants to get proper swoliosis. 


That concludes Ireland! I had a super early flight to Paris which is never fun, but I survived. I was happy to be going to my final destination.

I found a £9 flight from Manchester to Dublin, so I went. I had to tear myself from London, but I went. 

It was soooooo cold. For the most part, Manchester was uncomfortable. Even indoors was cold. I’m not certain I ever really felt warm. Like, I considered not showering because the thought of being naked was terrifying. However, I found Train CrossFit Manchester. This is the gym owned by Sam Briggs. I didn’t know that until after I arrived, and she wasn’t there, but it was cool nonetheless. It’s a beautiful gym! Clean, well laid out, well equipped… That’s not the part that made it great though. 


I went there with the intention of getting a bit of oly in before the WOD, and ended up making a very special friend. Everyone, this is Chris. He’s one of the warmest, most knowledgeable Oly coaches I’ve ever met. 


He immediately made me feel welcomed, and once I started lifting, the coaching talk began. We talked cues, theories, common errors, female versus male lifters, and so much more. It was freezing cold in there, but it helped to have someone to joke about it with. I went back the next day for more lifting, and am excited to say I have some awesome new cues to bring home for myself and my students. ?

That’s all I have to say about that. Next post will be about Ireland. I’ll be back in Paris soon, and then I fly to Minneapolis on Saturday! See you soon!

I only gave myself 4 days in London. I had no idea just how much I would love it. From the delicious food to the vibrant markets, London captured my heart. What helped the most was CrossFit London. They were the first affiliate in Europe. They have nearly 1000 members between a few locations. They’re all grit and heart. Or course, at the gym I loved most I took no photos. I’ll have to just describe it. The location that I visited was set inside two joining bridge arches. The rigs were homemade out of scaffolding bars, the bars were slightly rusty, and they had all the gymnastics equipment you could want including parallel bars and a blow up tumbling mat. It was cold and little damp like the rest of London, but the people were warm and welcoming. I showed up for class and felt instantly like family, like I had always been there. I wasn’t other. During the WOD, we were all helping and challenging each other, one upping and no repping, laughing and encouraging. I was invited back two more times during my stay, and went gladly. I can’t say enough about the warmth of the community. My second time there, we did a nasty team WOD, then they brought me out for some traditional English food. We ate meat pies and drank beer and talked like old friends. After dinner, we went to a gym function where I met more of the community. As the party wound down, the original group of us decided on second dinner as the meat pies hadn’t held over long. We went to an amazing little BBQ place that served delectable ribs and brisket sliders. Such a lovely evening with lovely people.

I lied. I have this photo, but it’s of me in the gym, not the gym.


And here’s a venison meat pie.


Here’s London from the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral: 


My first night, my couchsurfing host and I took a long walk around the center of the city. We crossed all the central bridges, heard some great buskers, and enjoyed the only semi-warm weather I had in London. Here’s some photos:




London is home to Camden Town Market. It’s a bustling vintage market teaming with retail stands and food trucks. There were so many food trucks it took me 30 minutes to decide what to eat. I ended up having wild game dumplings, the best brownie I’ve ever eaten, and the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted. I thought Italy had won hot chocolate, but I was so wrong. This one from Chin Chin Labs was thick, creamy, and rich, but the real kicker was the hand torched, homemade marshmallow cream on top. I died a little. If you’re ever there, don’t hesitate. Get two.


As every Harry Potter fan does while they’re in London, I visited Kings Cross Station. Fan girl heaven.


I had my first full English breakfast near Brick Lane complete with black pudding and a fried slice. Now, I love sloppy breakfast food, but this was too much. I couldn’t finish it! The black pudding was quite good I was surprised to learn. For those that don’t know, it’s basically blood and oatmeal sausage. 


Graffiti has been a constant in most of Europe. Generally, it’s the kind that detracts from the city. Immature marking by kids, not artists. London, however, has proper art. Here’s some examples:


Lastly, here’s Big Ben and some funny signs.



London, I love you. I’ll be back.

Great song by Jewel. Check it out. I sang it almost everyday while I was there.

“If you could hear the voice in my heart, it would tell you ‘I’m afraid, I’m alone.’ Won’t somebody please hold me, release me, show me the meaning of mercy. Let me loose to fly!”


Barcelona had huge ups and downs. The ups were the peace I felt sitting on the beach. Peace. Contemplation. Freedom. 


There were Asian women walking around the beach offering massages for €5. One of them touched my back, felt my traps, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. It was actually really lovely. So relaxing.  After that, I found an outdoor gym. Despite the fact that I was in a skirt and my boots, I did a workout anyway.


I was the only girl. Surprise. 

The crossfit gym I went to in Barcelona was a lovely return to the bare bones of crossfit. The owner believed in the community above all else. People were warm and welcoming. The WODs were simple and intense. It was small and a bit dirty, but I loved it. On my last day, we did a partner WOD. I paired with a beast of a girl named Ellen. She pushed me past what I thought I could do all with a smile. That’s crossfit. That’s why we stay and suffer. Later that night she invited me out with her and some of her friends. We were accidental twins, and had a wonderful time. 

CrossFit Eixample wasn’t fancy, but it was all you would ever need in a gym.


In Barcelona, there are many works by the late architect Antonin Gaudi. The most impressive being La Sagrada Familia which isn’t even finished yet. There’s at least ten years of tedious construction left before his vision will be complete. I’ve never been so awestruck by a building. Every detail had a purpose. Every stone was part of the story.


My shit photos don’t do it any justice. 

There’s another part of the city called Parc Guell that was designed by Gaudi originally as a wealthy neighborhood. He designed not only the houses, but the sidewalks, water diversions, and landscaping. The art he created with such mundane features is incredible. The walk up and down wasn’t too bad either. 


Ok, those are the highs. Here’s the lows: the first night I arrived, I was dead tired from partying in Rome. I settled into bed fairly early and was prepared to sleep myself back to a human state. My roommates had other plans for me. Between the girl who snores like a lawn mower and the guys who came in so drunk they couldn’t walk, I got exactly 0 hours of sleep. Zilch. I just laid there and cried in frustration. The next day, I got sick. It’s two weeks later and I’m still coughing. The following nights were better as the shitheads all checked out, but I was bitter for days. I spent the second part of my week in an Airbnb with a private room to try and kick the cold. My host was a lovely woman from Uruguay, and she treated me like a daughter. Definitely made up for the shit start I had in barca.

Now I’ll show you some food and drinks. Barcelona won in this department. France and Zurich were good, but Barcelona was better. MVP of delicious.


Seafood paradise.

Here’s some random shots for which I haven’t got stories.


Barcelona at night ❤️


I got offered the opportunity to see a concert there. Of course I took it. It was metal. How could I refuse? I’ll always remember that one time I got to see Behemoth in Barcelona. Behemoth, Mgla, and secrets of the moon, to be exact. Andy was jelly.


To sum this up in emojis, here’s my experience in Barcelona:

???☕️?????????❤️???⛪️?

Before this trip, when I thought of Florence, I imagined a quiet Italian town on a hill surrounded by vineyards and filled with art and cafes. I was so wrong. It was crowded, dirty, and beside the cathedral and certain monuments, I found it to be kind of ugly. I’m happy to have seen it once, but I have no intention of returning. Though I did buy a sick leather jacket since this is the leather capital of the world.



Here’s some of the pretty parts:

Side story: there’s a traditional Florentine sandwich called lampredotto. It was recommended to me by more than one local, so I got one. Little did I know it’s marinated cow stomach. I took two bites and then googled it because the texture was so odd. I made it about two more bites before I just couldn’t anymore. Surprise stomach sandwich. Thanks Florence.


The main cathedral is amazing. The natural pink and green stone made it so incredibly beautiful. And of course, there was amazing statues everywhere. The crowds just detracted from the beauty so much. Walking through the streets was torture. The best part was meeting a guy named Darrien with whom I would spend time in Rome exploring. Because seriously, look at this river: 


I guess the bottom was treated with a material that makes it look like this, but it still looks gross.

Enough of that. LETS TALK ABOUT ROME!!!

I would move there tomorrow. 


Are you not entertained?! This was the first thing I did when I got there. It was as amazing as I hoped. We all kept commenting on how much we wanted to be able to travel back in time and see Rome in her prime. Everything was alive with history. Monuments of the old empire lay everywhere. I’d be walking down a winding street and suddenly round a corner and have my breath taken by some new amazing thing.


Rome only has two metro lines and they’re crowded. They’ve been trying to build a third line, but they keep finding new ruins and artifacts when they dig. Fun fact.

Kick ass ruins everywhere. 

Then there was the Vatican. I had tears in my eyes for so much of the Sistine Chapel. It was overwhelming. I wish I could have taken photos for you, but they’re forbidden as flash can damage the paint.



But these above are all mosaics! I couldn’t believe it! That’s not a painting. It’s tiny tiles arranged masterfully. Incredible.

I didn’t sleep much in Rome as I was there on a weekend and the hostel always had parties for us. It was so much fun meeting people from all over the world. I also didn’t workout in Rome as the gyms were pretty far from the city center, and I had a mild hangover most of the time when I was completely enraptured in sightseeing. I even got to meet up with a friend from my trip 9 years ago! It was such great coincidence we were both in Rome! Late night Italian dinners wit friends could never get old.

Now for a section called Funny Signs.


God yes, I love language.

This concludes Italy. Next post will be Barcelona ❤️

Baci!

Ciao! 

Here’s the first of two Italian posts. Italy was my first foreign love, and that has not changed.While I was there I made new friends and reconnected with old, ate delicious pasta and drank amazing wine. I learned an impressive amount of Italian in a short time spending time with people who hardly speak any English. All in all, and unsurprisingly, I love Italy. 

I left off in Zurich. My final day there, I went to a really cool gym called Balboa. It’s not a CrossFit affiliate, but the do similar classes. They also do yoga, martial arts, weightlifting, and other classes. What I loved most was the vibe. Upstairs is a full cafe and bar:


There’s a glass portion of the floor through which you can see the gym downstairs. Everything was immaculately clean and modern. The instructors were professional, and the classes were well run and organized. The whole atmosphere of the place was so pleasing to me. 

After Zurich came Milan. The fashion capital. It was a beautiful, metropolitan city with good transportation and plenty to do. I stayed in a hostel that was located near a metro station, and made getting around very easy. On my second day there, I met two American guys who were on the same kind of trip as me. They were really nice guys with lots of stories to tell. We spent most of my time in Milan together. The first night, we went to the apartment of their Italian friends. We had pizza and wine, guitar sing alongs, and lots of laughs. There was a guy there who was more American than some Americans I know, yet he’s never set foot on American soil. He’s Indian. His accent was American. His sense of humor and music taste? American. His explanation was simple: “I’ve been watching American movies and television all my life. I consider English my first language, I even think in English.” I’m so happy to have met him!


This was a really disturbing art installation drawing attention to domestic abuse.

These guys. So great. ?
The next day, we went to Lake Como. A one hour train ride brought us into absolutely gorgeous mountain country around the pants shaped lake. Varenna is located in the right pocket of the “pants.” We spent the day sun basking, eating, exploring, and taking photos. We couldn’t have wished for a better day!



The Europeans do hot chocolate so much better than us. 
The city of Milan is situated around Il Duomo. The giant church. Breathtaking.



There’s also the old castle that marked the entrance to the ancient walled city that was Milan wayyyy back in war time Italy. Only a few remnants of the wall remain now.

AND THERE WAS A CAT CAFE! 

Happiness is coffee, cookies, and kitties. 

Then I hopped at BlaBlaCar to Venice. 


Miriam, me, Anna in 2007

When I was a junior in high school, my family hosted a Venetian girl for a year through foreign exchange. It was one of the best years of my life! Anna became the sister I never had, and we still keep in touch. The summer after my senior year, I went and stayed with her family for 5 weeks. Her father picked me up, and it all felt like just yesterday.

I spent a nice long weekend with her parents. They treated me like a daughter, and we had a really lovely time. Their home is about 20 minutes from Venice in a country-like setting. It felt like home.

I even got to see Anna’s cousin and her baby!


Anna’s mom, Giuli, brought me to the lovely little town of Treviso to just snoop around. It was a crappy, misty day, but we had fun anyway. She’s a really happy, positive person. I got to really spend quality time with her this trip.


That fountain exists. 

She took me to Venice too. Gloriously sunny weather guided us through the winding streets and throngs of people.


It was exactly has I remember. Timeless, vibrant, salty.

Miriam and I got to reconnect. We spent a day exploring some caves an hour north of Venice.


It was really fun just walking around surrounded by such beauty. 

I learned how to walk on stilts! Just adding to my list of odd talents. Anna’s father made them for her years ago.


The only thing that could have made the Venice trip better is if Anna could have been there! Sadly, she now lives in Mexico. 

Florence and Rome in the next post…
I’m going to catch you up to current times over the next two days. Sorry for the absence! Stay tuned!

Hellooooooo!

It’s my last day in Zurich, and the weather is a little crappy, so it’s a great day to sit down and catch you up. We left off in Stuttgart with the promise of beer fest, and man did I experience it. It wasn’t what I expected, it was better! One of my friends in Stuttgart let me borrow her dirndl (the traditional dress worn for fest) so I could feel like I belonged. It really did make the experience richer. My lovely new friend Starla helped me with my hair, and acted as a sort of guide to beer fest. Isn’t she beautiful?


My dirndl went beautifully with my timberland boots, as you can see. We took a train to the festival grounds which I was unaware would look like a county fair complete with carnies and rides.


The beer tents themselves were not tents. They were massive temporary beer halls: Long wooden tables, huge bars, full club stage and lights with a band and a DJ. Unless you’re eating (OMFG the chicken was amazing), you were standing on your bench dancing and drinking. German music, American music, drinking songs, Prost-ing songs, the party was alive and well in Stuttgart.


It was a truly incredible experience with some excellent people. Everyone was happy. There wasn’t a sullen face in the hall, and I gotta say, dirndls and liederhosen look good on everyone. 

I made it to Zurich last Monday. I have really enjoyed this city. It’s got a big city feel with small, old Europe charm. The shopping is fantastic, the sight seeing is gorgeous, and the people are beautiful. 


My first adventure was up to the local mountain, Uetliberg. It was an easy hike to the top with nice views of the city and the lake. I met an American girl, an Australian man, and a Canadian girl on the train on the way to the mountain, and we had a really nice time exploring together. They were really open, intelligent people with interesting stories to tell. It made the mountain much more special.


These lights lined the trail up to the peak, silent sentinels watching over the city. 

The next evening, I got to go swing dancing! It was a Lindy Hop style party with a short class before hand. I haven’t danced Lindy in ages, and it really showed. Nevertheless, the locals ensured I had a great time. I think my face was sore afterward from all the smiling and laughing.


On my explorations in the old town shopping district, I found a Lululemon. ❤️ Naturally, I had to go in to inspect. The salesman came over to see if I needed help, discovered I was American, and we instantly got to talking about crossfit and movement. The next day, he brought me to this outdoor workout area. After a quick lunch by the river, we did a street workout. It was a blast! Coach Jenna came out and helped a couple people work on some gymnastics skills. We all had a really great time just working out in the fresh air and playing on the equipment like children.


Of course, after the workout, we treated ourselves to a beer. He brought me to a metal bar. I was so thrilled!! I felt right at home.


I liked it so much, that I went back the following day with an American friend I met.


Kira was an amazing find. She was in town only one night, but we will surely be friends for a long time. Her stories of travel were inspiring, and I look forward to seeing her somewhere else in the world someday. It was like meeting a sister you never knew you had. Our mutual local friend Stephan joined us the next day for a brief city tour before we sent her off to her next destination. He was the perfect hipster guide. We got great coffee and found the best shops you’ve probably never heard of. 


On the recommendation of the people of the Internet, I took a longer train trip out of the city to visit the Rhinefalls. It’s the largest waterfall in Europe right at the border of Germany and Switzerland. It was a chilly, windy, fall day, but the sun was out, so it was bearable. The falls didn’t disappoint. The river was crystal clear and full of beautiful trout, and the falls were rainbow lined and spectacular. 


#nofilter #nature

I walked about 3 kilometers along the river just listening to the wind in the leaves and the trickle of the water. Despite being chilly, It was a wonderful way to pass the time. 

I always ask the locals what food I have to try in their city. Here, the resounding answer was fondue. To my delight, there was a fondue place right on the river. It was cold outside, but they give you blankets when you’re seated, and the hot cheese comes out very quickly leaving little time to notice the chill. You’re served a large pot of fondue, bread chunks, steamed baby potatoes, and pickles. It was delicious! I’ll admit, it got boring after a while, but definitely worth trying. Plus, the riverfront by night is a perfect backdrop for dinner. 

Tomorrow I leave for Milan. I’m taking my first bus there, and already have a gym buddy waiting. I’m excited!

I didn’t crossfit in Zurich as the gyms had ridiculous drop in fees, and I couldn’t justify it. Back on the gain train this week. 

By the way, the chocolate in Switzerland is as good as they say. ?

Ta ta for now!

Jenna

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!