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.


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!


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!