Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels

December 21- January 4

End of December Marvin came to Innsbruck and after a few days, we were on a plane heading to Ireland. We flew in Dublin around 3pm and got to our hotel. We were staying right across the street from the Christchurch and a ten minute walk to Trinity College. The location of the hotel was perfect and we never had to take public transportation. The first night we went to dinner at Bull and Castle for steak and ribs. The next day we headed to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. We then walked to Grafton street and then headed up towards the Cathedral. The Cathedral of St. Patrick was amazing. High ceilings and stain glass. After the cathedral we headed to Christchurch. Very different inside then the Cathedral. For dinner we went to Porterhouse for beer and bar food and then walked around Temple bar. The next day we headed to Kilmainham Goal and took a tour. Then after the tour we walked to Phoenix park and then to the Jameson distillery for whiskey tasting and tour. After Jameson we headed to Guinness for beer tasting and tour. We then went back to Porterhouse for dinner. Christmas Eve we took a Cliff of Moher tour. We got up at 6am and drove 4 hours to the Cliffs of Moher. On the way we stopped in Limerick and saw the River Shannon. Then we went to the Cliffs which were breathtaking and after the Cliffs we headed tot the Burren.  After the Burren we went to Corcomroe Abbey and then lunch. On Christmas, we went to church at Christchurch and then walked around, most things were closed. We had dinner at our hotel. The next day we went to St. Stephens Green and then off to the airport to head to Paris. 

We got into Paris very late the 26th. So the next morning we started our adventure. We head to the
Sacré-Cœur, the basilica in Paris. After that we walked to the Place de la Concorde and walked around to see the old Grand Palais and the Invalides. We then stumbled upon a grocery store that had mini restaurants in it. It was very cool and thats were we got lunch.  We then headed back to the hotel for a nap. We went to dinner at Le Bistrot Sud Ouest. It was very good and I got duck and Marvin got lamb. The next day we headed towards the Eiffel Tower. We decided not to go to the top during the day because the line was very long. So we headed toward the Military museums which ended up having the museum passes we wanted. The passes were a great idea. We didn't have to wait in as many lines and the lines we did have to wait in were short. After we got the passes we headed the the Museum Rodin and saw the famous statue the Thinker. After that we headed the the Museum O'rsay. Which was a beautiful building and beautiful works of art. Then we headed back to the hotel which had a view of the Eiffel Tower from the balcony. We then went to dinner and again very, very good. After dinner the line to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower was smaller so we went up. The next day we headed to Norte Dame and the Lourve. The Lourve is huge and very overwhelming! I could see how people spend a whole day there. We headed back to the hotel and then got dinner at another very good restaurant. The next day we went and saw the pantheon and then off to the train to Amsterdam.

When we got to Amsterdam the first thing we noticed were the people! There were so many tourists.  We headed to the apartment that was 30 mins by tram. The apartment we stayed at was so homey and comfortable, I really felt like I was at home. That night we just got take-away sushi. The next day we went into town and saw the old churches and Rembrandt house. For dinner again take-away sushi. It was such good fish! New Years Eve night we just stayed in and watched fireworks from our balcony. New Years day we headed to the Van Gogh museum and Anne Franks house. After that we did the Heineken Experience. We walked around and saw all the lights and went to the Christmas Market. The next day we went to Vondel Park and then it was off to the train station to Brussels.

When we got to Brussels we were in the middle of the city and our hotel was 30 seconds away from the Grand Place. So, we saw the Town Hall and the Mannekin Pis. The next day we head to go see the basilica and the cathedral. We also saw the Royal Palace. We had lots of waffles and some chocolate. The beer was also very good. The next day, we went on a guided tour of the town hall and saw the Jeanekke pis which is the female version of the Mannekin Pis. We then headed to the airport.

The last day Marvin was here, we went up to the very top of the mountain.

Pictures are posted on Facebook

August- December

Well I had decided that I wasn't going to post for my second year in Austria but decided that I will start again!

So beginning of August I moved back to Innsbruck to start my second year playing for VC Tirol.

Heading from DC to Istanbul was great smooth easy 10 hour flight with four seats to myself. Little did I know I was then going to be stuck in Istanbul for 19 hours. I luckily met one other American and two Austrians from Tirol. We all got a hotel and then headed back to the airport the next day. I finally made it to Munich and then off to Innsbruck. When I got back in Innsbruck, I then had to leave to go to Maribor a 6 hour drive. I went to Maribor with my coach to get two other Americans. We picked two girls and were driving back to Innsbruck. The next two weeks we didn't have any training or anything so we just went to the fitness center and got readjusted. The last week in August we had training camp for a week that had two-a-days.

September was a great month because my sisters and Jim came to visit! They came mid September and we went to Zurich for the day and then saw the Neuschwanstein castle. They also drove to my tournament in Carcare, Italy. After the Italy tournament we headed to Verona for the night and the next day. September we only had our one tournament which we did well in!

In October we started our regular season play. We won most of our matches and played very well. We also started our German class.

I went to Salzburg for the day with my coach and teammate. We just walked around and explored different churches and the castle. November was a good month for playing. We won most matches and bumped up to third place. We celebrated Thanksgiving with some of our Austrian friends.

December my parents came and visited in the beginning of the month! They were able to come to two of my matches. I was able to spend a few days with them in Innsbruck, Vienna, and Munich. I took them around the Christmas markets. We finished the first half our season in second place.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Last Post!

Well it is my last blog for Austria!

Finishing up the season we played Graz in the second round. We played them 3 times won once and lost twice which meant we played Vienna in the last round. We played Vienna the first time and beat them. The coach was asking one of our players if they would be coming to our game on Sunday because there was a conflicting game with the U19 team and the Bundesliga team. So, Saturday night we travelled to Vienna with 5 of our normal players, our coach and her daughter, and three U15 players. No one expected us to win because the other team had some of their first team playing against us. We ended up winning 3-1 and our 70- something coach came in and served the last point. It was such an awesome experience to play with our coach and prove to people that we could win!
So, that was it for our season! We ended up finishing 7th in our league. I can't believe I have finished my first season of professional volleyball!

So for the last few weeks I have just preparing for my trip to Spain. That means packing, cleaning, canceling gym memberships, and shipping things home!

This past weekend we head to South Tirol again to visit our friend. We went hiking and just had a relaxing time! It was an awesome weekend to finish up my season here! I am off to Spain tomorrow and just so happy with the people and friendships I have made in Austria!

here are the last pics-

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Update 10!

Well, it has been sometime since I have written a blog. I figure today was a good day since it snowed for the first time in awhile. It was just 70 degrees for the past week and I had been out sun bathing at the river and now its been straight snowing for at least 10 hours.

The end of January was awesome. We beat Klagenfurt who had been in first when we played then and had not lost a game for 7 games.  My birthday also happened at the end of January and I had such an amazing birthday and so lucky to have made such great friends here to celebrate with!

We played hard for the last matches of the season and finished in 5th place. By placing 5th we were able to compete for the chance to move into the champions league. Unfortunately we lost against Linz which means we are now playing for 5-8 place. We just started the second round of playoffs and have about 4 more matches to play. The season will be wrapping up beginning of April. It is crazy to me how fast my first year has gone by. It feels like just yesterday we were leaving for training camp in Maria Alm.

So for my adventures off the volleyball court! We went to a Super Bowl party that was all you can eat and drink. It was so cool because they had "tradition American food", which really wasn't anything close to what you get at home. The place we went to have 5 different rooms, one of the rooms was a stage that they played 80s and 90s music! They had one big room that was where they showed the super bowl. It is crazy how many people are fans of American football. The next weekend we had off from games and we travelled to South Tyrol to our friend's hotel. It was so nice of him to show us around and we were treated very well. We walked about 30 mins to a restaurant in the mountains and along the way I would plop into the 10 foot snow. It was so fun and made me feel like a kid again!  We ate tradition South Tyrolian food and heard typical music that they played on a wooden stick with pots on the side as drums.  It was an awesome experience!

Fasching or Carnival which is similar to Mardi Gras and Halloween, we first went to Hall with one of our teammates. At the town party they have three different "shows", the first show was men dressed as old women and men and in different outfits that made noise. The would come around and hit you on the shoulder if you were a male and play with your hair if you were female. If they did this to you then you had to take a sip of the schnapps they had with them. They would walk around a try to scare you and make lots of noises. The next show was men who were holding "bears' (men in bear costumes) and they would come around and again tackle you or scare you. The last show was a man on a fake horse who was being chased by other men trying to put the shoe on the horse. According to them it is a way to ask for spring to come and to scare off winter. It is also at the beginning of Lent. On the actual day of Fasching we headed into the old city where they had two stages and a bunch of people all dressed up in the middle of the city. They had music and different types of food. It was a very cool experience.

That has been about it since Christmas. Day to day life is the same by practice and workouts.

Check out my feature on Athletes Abroad!

Also here are the pics from Fashcing!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Update 9 Italy!

Before I get into Italy I wanted to share how the last few weeks before break went.

In the end of November we had Thanksgiving for our friends. We made all the traditional foods like stuffing, cranberry, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, turkey (we really just made chicken legs and thighs), mashed potatoes, and we asked our friends to bring a tradition dish from where they were from. It went really well and the food was delicious. Thanksgiving is a silly holiday but it was really nice to be able to spend it with friends and be thankful for the life that I have. As far as volleyball goes we are on a winning streak coming off of break and we beat our cross town rivals to end on a win before the holiday. We are getting better and better with every game and I am really excited for the last half of season. 

Well Marvin got here Dec 17 and we started our vacation. We spent some days in Innsbruck while I finished up practice before the vacation. We explore Innsbruck and headed up to the Olympic ski lift. It was really cool to see the city from that high up. Dec 20 rolled around and that night we were off on an overnight train to Venice. It was very rainy and foggy in Venice but that didn't stop us. We dropped our luggage off and went exploring the city. We went and saw St. Marks, the clock tower and St. Mark's square. We also walked to the Academia and saw many bridges which had the padlocks on them. Apparently it is to give good luck for love. Italy is having a problem with people putting them on the bridges and claim that it is worse than graffiti. Venice was a very cute town and I loved all the canals that run through the town. We had dinner next to the Rialto bridge, which is right on a canal. The next day we were on a train again heading for Milan. Milan was my favorite city (all the cities were amazing and so different in their own way, but Milan reminded me of all the cities in America that I absolutely loved, like Boston and New York.) Our hotel was right next t the Santa Maria delle Grazie which has the Last Supper painting. Milan's Duomo is absolutely breathtaking. It stands out in the busy city and you just pass by it when you are on the trolly. It is all marble and is craved out in the most amazing way. The inside is also breathtaking and has so many stained glass windows and paintings. That evening we headed to the San Siro stadium to watch the derby game against Inter Milan and AC Milan. It was so cool to see a European soccer match! The crowd was so loud and the atmosphere was crazy.  The next day we just walked around the city and took in the sights. The christmas market was still going on. The next day it was off to Rome. When we got to Rome we discovered that because of Christmas a lot of the museums and sights were closed. On christmas eve we saw the Vatican, the Trevi fountain (which we did throw pennies into), the Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon. That night we headed to St. Peters square to see mass. On Christmas day we headed back to St. Peter's square to see the pope give the Christmas message. He looked so tiny up against the red back drop. We headed to the Colosseum before hand and saw the Roman forum. We found a restaurant there that we really liked and ate there three times! The next day it was off to Florence.  Florence was amazing as well. We didn't get tickets to see the statue of David but went by and peaked our heads through the window to see. We also saw the Duomo there and it to was spectacular. For the most part we just walked around the city because lots of the museums costed money. The next day we headed up to Palazzo Vecchio and walked up the clock tower. The clock tower made it possible to see the whole city. It was so stunning. We also saw Ponte Vecchio and walked past the Uffizi. The next day we headed to Cinque Terra. Our hotel was at the highest point on the mountain and of course we had to walked up 200 steps just to get to the hotel. The town was small but still so pretty. That night we ate dinner and just walked around. The next day we headed to Vernazza and Manrola. They all were so different but yet so similar. We watched the sunset and had dinner on the water. The food was so delicious there. The next day we headed to Rimini. Rimini reminded me a lot of Santa Barbara and I felt a little at home there. I ended up getting really sick and laid in bed the whole new years eve. Luckily our room had a balcony so I was able to see some fireworks. On New Years day it was a train ride back to Innsbruck. The food in Italy was amazing, I did eat lots of pizza, pasta, and gelato which was delicious.We ended up not being able to go to Prague because I had a scrimmage against other American girls who came on a tour like I did in August. The last few days with Marvin were great and we went up the mountain to an Igloo bar which overlooked all of Innsbruck, talk about an amazing view. 

Well we are getting ready for a game against Klagenfurt this Saturday and looking for a win. 
I posted pictures on Facebook from all the travel.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Update 8!

It's been awhile since I posted but not too much has happened.

Week of Oct 6-13- Pretty normal week again. I lifted in the am and then had practice in the pm. I got a care package from home with pumpkin bread and pumpkin cans and lots of halloween and thanksgiving decorations! It also snowed one night which I was not too happy about. It is the beginning of October and it was snowing! Thankfully it hasn't snowed since but there is talk of snow this week. Hopefully it doesn't stick. I think this weather is crazy than New England! It will be 30 degrees and the next day be 60. It will rain one day and the crazy beautiful the next. I don't really understand it but going through New England weathers have prepared me. We also started our season this week. We lost but played well the first game. We have a lot to work on but hoping for a good season! We also started German class this week! It is really cool and we like our teacher!

Week of Oct 13-20- The routine for the week is pretty much the same. Go to class, lift, practice. I could really get used to this schedule for the rest of my life (maybe not class). We went to the men's volleyball team game! It was really cool and one of our national team members plays on the team! We had another game and lost :(. Still improving which is good though! We had another week of class and starting to learn German and getting better at understanding people!

Week of Oct 20-27- This week we made homed sushi! Of course we didn't use raw fish but we did have avocado and chicken in them! We are making a goal to do something different every week. We also had a photo shoot at our local car dealer which was cool. We headed to Vienna for a game and spent the weekend there. We won! We played really well and are still improving!

Week of Oct 27- Nov 2- This week we tried a dragon fruit. It was good, it didn't really taste like much. We had another week of practice, class and lifting. On halloween my roommate cut her finger and we had to go to the hospital. The ER was so quick and saw her right away. She has been out from volleyball and hopefully will be back soon! We had another home game on Saturday and won! We keep improving which I am really glad about. Our german class is going well and learning how to talk about furniture and what things cost.

Week of Nov 3- 10- This week again was the normal routine. We headed to Salzburg to play. We walked around the old city for a bit which was really cool and saw Mozart's house! Our game didn't go very well but looking to get back to practice and work hard. We had our last week of class. We got a certificate for passing and that means we can take the next class. About a month and half before I go to Italy, Germany, and the Czech for Christmas break. I am really excited and can't wait!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Update 7!

Week of Sept. 17-23- During the week was pretty boring and we just did out normal routine of practice and working out. This weekend we headed to Munich for our last preseason tournament. We played really well both days! We ended up taking 2nd in the tournament which is a great improvement from the last two weekends finish. The tournament was really fun and at every tournament so far they have had a player party where all the players come. This one had food and DJ. The night that we slept over we slept in a gym in sleeping bags, it was like camping all over again.

Week of Sept. 23-30 This week again we did the normal routine of working out and practice. We had Monday and Tuesday off which meant we had time to recuperate after the long weekend. That weekend we headed to the Alpen Zoo. It was a blast! The zoo is up on the mountain and if you didn't know there was a zoo there than you could walk right by it. It had tons of animals that you would typically find in Austria. They had an area where you could pet the animals and feed them. There was a goat who was very greedy and would nudge your hand to get more. The next day we headed to our friends village to celebrate Oktoberfest and watch her brother's soccer game. It was very fun and we ate wienerschnitzel  and pommes, it was really good!

Week of 30- Oct 6- This week again was back to normal routine of working out, practice, and coaching. The weekend we headed to Oktoberfest in Munich. It was really fun but a long day. It was raining when we got there and pretty much didn't stop the whole time we were there. We first got there and it look like a huge fair with rides and food and games to play. We decided we would head into the tent and start drinking. We waited in lines for 2 hours before we decided to just go ride on rides. I rode one ride while my roommates rode 2. We then got a snack of chocolate and fruit which was delicious. We then headed back to the tents to see if we could get a spot back in side. We still were unable to but we found a place outside that was semi-dri. We ended up meeting some Americans that were stationed in Germany. We also met a couple that was from Munich. We had a great time and clinked our huge beers. It turned out to be a good day even though it was rainy. The next day we headed a little outside of the main city of Innsbruck to watch some of our teammates and some of the girls we coach play volleyball. They did great! We than got dinner at a sushi restaurant which was delicious. It might be my new favorite place!
This coming weekend starts our season play and we are looking for a Win!

Look on Facebook for pictures that correspond to my weeks!