Exercising Through Europe

Hi! I’m back. I have several more vacation posts that I wrote on the plane (what else was I going to do with 8 hours?) but my computer’s being a jerk so I’m starting with this. I know vacation posts can get boring, but I want to have them as much of a record for me as for you, honestly. Do let me know if there’s any questions you have about anywhere I went!

So, usually my attitude towards exercising on vacation is that I love to try to get it in when I can, but I don’t stress about it and if I really just want to sleep in…then I do. As always, having an accountability buddy helps, so I was glad that both Ashley and Bo were down for some workouts while I was away with them this week. Though, quite honestly, I don’t eat as healthily as I should these days, I knew that I’d be eating quite heavy and rich food while away and that I’d just feel better if I got some movement in.

So here’s just a peek of how I exercised my way through Europe while still getting some days to sleep in and without letting workouts take over my vacation. 

Chamonix Exercising Through Europe

Saturday: Land, immediately hike 12ish miles. This. Was. Hard. (But I think it beat the jet lag.)

Sunday: Our legs hurt like hell, so we spent 90 minutes walking around Geneva shaking our legs out, and Ashley showing me the city and her favorite places. She’s lived there for over a year and I hadn’t visited it, so it was really nice to give context to the places I hear her talking about and that I read about on her blog.

Monday: Bo and I had gone to Gruyere for the day. I’d slept in some, and we’d left as soon as I’d gotten ready. I needed some movement after the cheese, chocolate and heavy soup for lunch and before dinner, so I went for a run by myself around Geneva just before the sun went down. “Are you sure you know where you’re going?” they both asked. “It’s getting dark.” Yes, mom. Though I’m terrible at giving directions, I’m surprisingly intuitive at getting around (sometimes), and I knew if I just followed some landmarks and ran down to the lake and back, I’d be fine. (And I was. Save for mounting their Killer Hill of Death on the way back up to their apartment.)

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Tuesday: This was the most fun workout of the trip! Ashley’s on a swim team at work, and they have practices twice a week. While Tuesday wasn’t an official practice day, Ashley and Bo wanted to swim anyway, so Bo and I joined before Ashley went to work. Bo and I had plans to hit the road early for Cote du Rhone, so this worked out well enough. We’d get a workout in and be on our way. We were at the pool by 7:30, and decided to do a 500 to warm up, followed by 50 x 10 intervals of one lap sprint, one lap recovery, and a 200 to cool down. We ended with a total of 1700m. I’ve swum nearly that before in the NYC Tri (aided by the Hudson’s current), but that was a few months ago. It was fun to share a lane with Ashley (and like 10 other people.) 

My pool is SHORT (15m vs. this 50m), so the 50m length seemed a little daunting at first. I knew I could do the distance, but I’d sight every once in a while while breathing, expecting to see the wall much closer than it was, only to be disappointed. The other interesting part about this workout was the changing facilities. WAY WAY DIFFERENT than anything I’ve ever seen in the U.S. The locker room was basically co-ed, so you put your belongings in a co-ed locker area, and went into a changing room if you had to do any changing. If you had to shower, you went into a communal showering room. (There were separate ones for men and women.) You shower in your bathing suit, and then you can dry your hair/body under this weird hairdryer that made me feel like I was at a carwash.

Wednesday: Bo and I had originally looked into a running tour of Lyon, but decided to kind of sleep in and just do our own running tour of Lyon. Thankfully he’s much better at directions than me, so he mapped out a route for us that took us from where we were staying in ___ into the Old City and back, over the bridges (which reminded me a lot of Dublin.)

Thursday: Ashley was swimming early, and we were all heading to Italy around 3:30, so I just didn’t feel like being on a schedule when I knew the next few days would be pretty scheduled out. I walked around the Old City of Geneva for probably about an hour, though.

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Friday: We had to be on the road by 8:15, but Ashley and I decided we wanted to get a run in before a day of wine tasting and what was sure to be a hearty dinner. We ran about 3-4 miles in Turin. Neither of us were very sure of where we were going, so we stuck to the road the hotel was on and just ran an out-and-back.

Saturday: Oh, Saturday. Does running back and forth to the bathroom count? I woke up in the middle of the night violently ill, and spent all day Saturday in bed with a stomach bug, sleeping and feeling bummed that I was missing my second-to-last day of vacation, hoping I didn’t have Ebola, and hoping I’d be able to make it back in the car the next day and my flight the following day.

Sunday: I was feeling about 95% but didn’t want to deplete myself further, so laid low.

Monday: On Sunday night, Ashley asked if I’d wanted to run in the morning with her before work. Should I sleep in on my last day of vacation or should I run with my former running buddy who moved across the ocean? I think you know the answer. I was up by 6:20 and we were out the door for 3.5 miles. It wasn’t the fastest or the chattiest, but it got the job done.

7/10 days? Works for me! Pretty close to that whole 80/20 balance thing.

What about you? How much do you work out on vacation?

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From the City that Never Sleeps to a City of Cheese

I like food but HATE the term foodie with the fire of a thousand suns. It’s pretentious as all hell. I just like to eat, and sometimes I like to eat fancy food…and sometimes I just like to have a taco.

BUT I was super excited to try all this amazing European food. You know, French Women Don’t Get Fat and all that.

Grueye was floated as an idea, and I think my eyes immediately widened in excitement.

YES. YES. YES. I love cheese, and who does cheese better than the French and Swiss? (Maybe the Italians, but I will weigh back in on that after this weekend.)

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The Swiss countryside seriously looks like it’s out of a storybook. HOW CUTE IS THAT HOUSE?

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We started at La Maison du Gruyere and bought tickets for both the castle and the cheese factory.

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The medieval castle was built in 1270, restored in the 1800s and opened as a museum in 1938.

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Bo, Ashley’s husband, has been an awesome tour guide/travel buddy all week.

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There have been so many cool little views like this—you walk down a hallway, through some doors into some majestic scene.

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TO THE GRUYERE ROOM! Remind when I buy my first house that I’d like a Gruyere room.

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How is this real life?!

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Storybook downtown. Sad side note: I saw like 5 little kids fall from running too fast down the street :/

After lunch, we went to the Maison du Gruyere. UNE FROMAGERIE! I was really excited about it, but it honestly ended up being a bit underwhelming.

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But they had a whole cheese cave, so there’s not too much to complain about. I was hoping we’d get to walk through it, but this is the closest I got. Crazy things we learned: the dairy cows in this region eat 100 kilograms a day of grass and drink 85 liters of water per day to create 25 liters of milk a day.

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You ate a whole wheel of cheese? I’m not even mad. I’m impressed.

But the highlight of the day? THE CAILLER CHOCOLATE FACTORY. So, yes, I went to a cheese factory AND a chocolate factory in the same day.

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The tour was split into A HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE at the beginning (which felt really Disney World-like but was super informative), a walk through the actual factory to see the magic being made, and it finally ended in a tasting room where we could eat as much chocolate as we wanted. My favorite was a dark chocolate filled with ganache. Chocolate on chocolate action? Hell yeah.

Tuesday, we went to Cote du Rhone and drove up through wine country, and we’re about to leave for Italy for a truffle festival and wine tour. So, yes, I am having one of the best trips of my life.

Best trip of your life? What kind of food are you dying to travel for?

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