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!!

I’ve been in Oregon for 8 days now, and it has been relaxing, exciting, new, and familiar. Driving in Portland is terrible, but walking around the funky neighborhoods is not. I really enjoy the quirks of this city. The many coffee and ice cream shops, breweries and thrift shops. The unabashed acceptance of our generation. I saw a sticker that said “we’re all just pretending to be adults.” Some of us pretend better than others. 

This last weekend we went to the coast for a four day adventure.


This was the first evening. We found a camping spot and made our way right to the beach with a couple beers. It was warm and breezy with that beautiful mist on the hills. Bailey Dog had her first of several amazing beach days chasing anything we would throw until she was so exhausted getting in the car was a chore. 


The next day was much the same. Sun, cooooooold Pacific waters, fetch, and a beach workout so I didn’t feel badly about eating coconut cream pie for breakfast. The rest of our group was arriving that evening, so Morgan and I just relaxed together for the day. 

Bailey doesn’t like balls that remain ball-shaped. So I was throwing this for much of the day. Or finding it for her when she would “accidentally” drop it in the water. ?

This is a jellyfish that washed up on the beach. It was drying on the edges and so strangely beautiful. I poked it with a stick, or course. Like a goddamn adult. 

The next day, we all got our fishing licenses and went crabbing! It was cold and foggy all day, but so fun trying something new. We ended up with 14 crabs! After finding a more secluded forest campsite, we had ourselves a feast: crab, corn on the cob, fresh bread, and loads of butter. I’m sure we smelled terrible all seafood, sweat, and smoke. We were so happy though. 


The final day, we tried our hand at ocean fishing. It was so windy! We didn’t catch a thing, but it was beautiful scenery and a nice last day on the sea. I dint think fishing is my calling, but I’m not bad a splitting firewood. ??


Now I’m back in Portland. Tonight I’m attending a weightlifting class at CrossFit Primal Energy and having dinner at my good friends Barrett and Ashley’s house. 

I miss you all! ?

Today, I leave Boulder until December. My first stop is Portland, OR to see my best friend Morgan! I have packed, double checked everything, and am confident that I’m ready. So, to quiet curious minds, here’s a photo of everything I’m bringing with me:


My NoBull backpack is in the upper left corner. Everything goes inside it save for the batman bag which will be attached to the outside containing my gym shoes, clothes, and equipment. I am also wearing one outfit (pictured below). Here’s a list of the items:

  • 1 pair jeans
  • 2 pairs leggings
  • 2 gym shorts
  • 3 gym tanks
  • 2 lulu sports bras
  • 1 lace bralette
  • 2 casual tank tops
  • 1 crop top
  • 1 tshirt 
  • 1 long sleeve T
  • 1 dress
  • 1 skirt
  • CrossFit Games trucker hat
  • 1 under armor long sleeve hooded shirt
  • 1 scarf
  • 5 pairs sock
  • 7 pairs underwear
  • 1 microfiber towel
  • My jump rope
  • My wrist wraps
  • NoBull gym shoes
  • Small purse
  • Money belt
  • Clothes line
  • Portable battery charger
  • Power converter
  • 2 pairs ear plugs
  • Eye mask
  • Headphones
  • iPad
  • Luggage lock
  • Padlock
  • Flip flops
  • Flats
  • Sink stopper
  • Laundry detergent
  • Makeup
  • Toiletries
  • Razors
  • Hairbrush 
  • Feminine products(not shown)
  • Shower wipes
  • Water bottle
  • Notebook
  • Batman gym bag
  • NoBull dufflepack
  • Timberland boots

That’s it! I left room in my bag for purchases. I will pick up cold weather gear as needed. No use lugging it around in the beginning. 

I have my first few nights booked at an Airbnb in Paris. After that, I’ll be taking to hostels and couch surfing. I already have my first gym lined up as well! Details on that when I get there. 


Talk soon! 

Jenna

Hello all,

In six weeks, I embark on a three month, solo Euro-trip. From August 30th to November 19th, I’ll explore Europe equipped with a smart phone and a back-pack. Over the past few months, I have been saving my money and gathering the many various items I will be needing, and I’m happy to say that I’m pretty much ready to go!

So far, my plans are few. I’m flying into Paris first, and from there, I’m not sure where exactly I’m going to go for the next two weeks. Oktoberfest starts in Munich on Sept 17, and I’m planning on attending with a Kiwi friend from Boulder who will coincidentally be there at the same time. After Oktoberfest, I will likely head south to Italy where I have some friends. These are truly my only plans so far! I’m hoping to see Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and maybe the UK and Iceland. I don’t want to constantly be moving. I’d rather get immersed in each culture so I can experience it as a citizen, not an outsider. How will I do this?

CrossFit.

I’m hoping that in each city I visit, the local CrossFit community will serve as my guide. I plan on contacting boxes before I arrive and doing workouts all over the continent. As anyone who does CrossFit knows, we are a world wide family, and I expect nothing but welcome from each gym.

I’ll be updating this blog leading up to and during my trip. Check back for photos and stories!

-Jenna