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!