I am so happy to be living in an apartment over Christmas break here in Davos! Liz, Noah and I are all staying in this cozy little place that is just perfect for us. Holly and Rob are in another apartment a couple blocks away, and most of the crew gets back from racing the classic sprints in Asiago in a few days!
My parents sent over a big box with some tree decorations, a stocking and presents. I ran up to the Kulm to get it and had to use some serious willpower to resist ripping it open on the bus ride down. It’s been hard for me to be away from my family on Christmas, and so when I did finally open the box I just sat there with packing peanuts all around me, hugging the card they sent. It’s made a huge difference, though, having a piece of home with me, and having such good friends and teammates to be with during the Holidays!
Our first morning here, when I woke up Liz and Noah had French toast with real maple syrup all ready on the table! I am so lucky. So, so lucky.
While I am counting down the days until we go sledding on those wicked fast sleds sitting in our garage, I’ve been having a blast seeing the town get decked out for the Holidays. I walked downtown this evening to see the Davos Christmas market, which was packed with so many people out enjoying the weekend. It was right where the town splits, in between the upper and lower road on top of where an ice skating pond usually sits, with big colorful lit cones spaced between Christmas lights and tents selling all manner of things.
Church bells clamored and mixed with the sounds of families and friends talking. I could smell gluhwein and I knew exactly which booth was the raclette from, well, the smell…and the huge line of people. The booths sold decorations, cheese and meats, wooden carvings and knit hats, jewelry and pastries.
One other thing I’ve come to learn about Europe is that, like Hershey’s kisses and real hot sauce, personal space just doesn’t really exist. It’s not a thing. People have no issue getting up close and cuddly, and the square was jam-packed with people like it was a concert. Which was actually kind of nice because I’d just come from the gym and I was getting cold!
Like me, the sights, sounds and smells were very far from home, but I enjoyed seeing it all.
It’s been pretty fun living on the edge of town…to get anywhere I need to go I am either walking, running or riding the bus. Pretty new for a girl from a tiny town with the nearest grocery store 20 minutes away. So call me weird, but I get a strange sense of pride and self-sufficiency when I can walk home from the store with my backpack full of groceries after training. You know what else is pretty great? The buses are always on time. As in Swiss standards of on-time. Once an older lady was throwing a total fit because a bus arrived a minute late…as if being late was the worst thing that could ever happen. In Switzerland, though, maybe it is? Not a bad life. 🙂
Of course, I was thrilled to get my Christmas cookie baking started the other night when I made dessert for Noah’s dinner guests. His friend Markus who lives here in Davos came over, along with Karel, a skier on the Estonian team. It was fun to get to know them! Anyways, baking in Europe with the whole cups-to-grams conversion situation is always a welcome challenge, but maybe the hardest part is buying the right ingredients to start with. I spent a lot of time standing in the grocery store aisle staring at the different labels, as if maybe looking longer would help me suddenly read German and understand which was the right flour to use. In case you’re worried about it…the cookies turned out just fine, thank you very much. 🙂
Holly, Rob and Astrid came over for a huge Mexican feast the other night (we really are a social bunch, if you haven’t noticed by now). We have been so excited to be able to cook for ourselves, that we immediately cooked Pad Thai and then we ate Mexican food two nights in a row. It’s actually pretty funny how big of a deal getting to cook food is for us, but I guess it’s the fact that it’s something we now have control over in our lives, and sometimes control is hard to come by – we don’t live in our own house, we don’t know if we’re going to race fast, and we don’t get to pick the travel schedule, but by golly we’ll cook what we want! So there!
As for the training? It’s been going great, thanks for asking! I am actually really happy to have a weekend off of racing, because while I love racing and the whole atmosphere it brings, it’s also really good for me to have a relaxing week where I can get in some good training before the Tour de Ski. While some more snow would be super sweet because it would open up some of the fun passes to ski up, the race trails are still in great condition and are good for training. It’s been a real wax tech appreciation week for me, as we are all waxing our own skis here, and I know how much work it takes to make skis fast – those guys are working so hard all the time! So now that I get a chance to try it for myself, I’m even more blown away by how GOOD those techs of ours are. Hah!
We got some lights for our tree tonight, courtesy of Markus, and so I think I need to end this post with a picture of what I’m sitting in front of right now!