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Well we’re back in the states! It’s weird, I feel like our time in Europe was really 3 different trips. The first was the RV adventure, and the second was our time touring Truma, and the third was the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon RV show. All incredible that’s for sure.
Right now, I’ve got the first trip on the brain, and want to share with you some of our RV trip…through our jogging and biking adventures. And the timing is quite fitting! James only runs one time each year…the fall. Every fall he trains for our annual 5k Turkey Trot, and he’s about to officially start. So, if reading about my jogging adventures gets you interested in starting running, too, then do I have a challenge for you! I’ll be posting weekly training plans for running beginners (or unconditioned runners like James) starting next week. James will be following them and you can, too. More on that later.
Back to our Europe trip! I’ve actually embedded the Strava maps for each of the events I describe, so feel free to click through and see specifics. Also, any Strava users out there, come friend me, and then join my “FitRVers” group!
Alright, lace up your athletic shoes, folks. We’re hitting the trails around the Alps. Here we go!
RUN #1: MUNICH, GERMANY!
Distance: 7.4 miles
Average Pace: 10:44/mile
We landed in Munich from the states, and since it was 9am and we’d been up all night, we happily (and groggily) beelined for our hotel.
We slept a few hours, and then did the touristy thing in downtown Munich…visiting the Marienplatz area. I’ll spare you all the touristy details, just know Munich is super cool. It’s also where I discovered a new drink that became the theme of my Europe trip. The Hugo:
Turns out every restaurant we visited around Europe knows the Hugo…so they became a Stef-in-Europe staple. The good news is I had as many workouts as I did Hugos so I like to think it all balanced itself out quite nicely.
Speaking of workouts.
The NEXT morning, I headed out from the hotel on my first jog of the trip. I wasn’t sure where to go, so I pulled out my phone and looked for the nearest green bit on Google maps. Once I spotted that, I hit “go”. The directions took me on paths like this:
I would have never found these paths on my own…they were hidden between urban buildings and far from obvious. I had a hard time believing I was in Munich! Munich is so unusual in that way. Many parks and green spaces; it’s just a lovely city.
Once I came out of the trees, I found myself on roads like this one:
Turns out it was an area with lots of horse farms just on the edge of the city, which was pretty cool.
My daughter-in-law Anna (mom to Punky and Marshmallow) is a total horse freak, so I snapped this pic for her. She’s got 2 horses, and does endurance racing. Love that my grandkids are growing up riding!
When I got back to the hotel, James was still in the gym… so don’t think he was a slacker while I jogged. I’m pretty funny about my running and prefer going solo, he’s good with that. It’s my therapy time, and I like to withdraw to Planet Stef during runs. It keeps me in a healthy place…physically AND mentally.
So, our workouts were done. Check. Free hotel breakfast was eaten. Check.
It was FINALLY time to head to Truma, pick up the RV they loaned us for the week (thanks Truma, you rock!), and hit the road.
Run #2: Natterersee, Austria
Distance: 5.3 miles
Average Pace: 11:09/mile
Since we were RVing during the holiday month (when it seems most of Europe has the entire month off from work), we decided to make reservations ahead of time for all our camping spots. But then we probably would have anyways, because we’re big planners like that. As we researched places to stay near Innsbruck, Austria, the RV park “Camping Natterersee” kept coming up, getting high praise from reviewers. We’re suckers for good reviews.
This park is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, with one road into it, so when I set out on my run, I figured I’d just stick to jogging within the RV park.
The road in to the park was narrow and terrifying and I had no interest in jogging where 2 cars can’t even fit. So! I figured it was stick to the RV park or die.
The RV park was huge, and I did get a couple miles in to my run before getting pretty bored and feeling confined. I eventually jogged my way out to the entrance road. Good thing, too, because remember those hidden trails in Munich? I found some here, as well!!! And just like that, it was oh sweet jogging freedom!!!
The trail I found was a single-track trail through the woods. It eventually brought me out of the woods and by some cute little Austrian houses:
And off to the side I had some stunning views of Austrian villages set in the Alps:
I got lost at one point, and didn’t even realize it. It’s a common occurrence with me. I’m directionally-challenged, what can I say. Ended up taking a trail I THOUGHT was the route back. Turned out to be a driveway for a quaint mountain lodge or restaurant or something. It looked like a house, and I couldn’t read the signs, so guess I’ll never know what that place was. The chef actually came outside when I jogged up… seemed like he knew I didn’t belong. He pointed me in the right direction, and off I went… chuckling. I mean, think about it. I was in Austria! In the middle of nowhere! And there I was having a chopped-English conversation with a guy in a Chef Boyardee hat outside a mystery house. It all just felt so surreal. Probably one of those guess-you-had-to-be-there moments. Let’s move on.
Run #3: Vitznau, Switzerland
Distance: 3.5 miles
Average Pace: 12:06 mins/mile
Okay, okay…Strava SAYS only 3.5 miles, that’s true. But! I was so enchanted by this run, I ended up jogging back to the campground, picking up James and doing it all over again so I could show everything to him. Oh guys. You just have to put this enchanting town on your bucket list. If I win the lottery, THIS is where you’ll find me.
The campground we stayed at in Vitznau was the smallest of all our stops, and very quiet. RVers in Europe tend to be younger and with a few kids in tow; and as it goes with small humans, a few kids in the RV spot next to you sounds more like a few hundred kids. So finding a quiet campground while RVing in Europe is unusual. It was also pretty cramped and had no restaurant like all the others we stayed in, but who cares. We were in one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever seen, nothing can burst my bubble!
It had rained a little overnight, which made sleeping AWESOME, but luckily there was no rain during either of our jogs.
My jogging route took me up the beautiful mountainside, beyond the village and up some incredibly steep roads.
I couldn’t help but wonder how do these people get down the mountain in the winter?!?! This is the Alps, after all, it SNOWS A TON!
And check these out:
Those are some sort of strange eco-houses I spotted along my route. I’d have PAID to see inside those puppies. They looked so cool. This was the view from those eco-houses:
As I wound my way up the mountain, I kept hearing bells clanking off in the far distance. The higher I got, the louder the bells were. And finally, I spotted the source:
Jogging to cowbells is something I’ve never experienced before…it just added to my insane love of this place.
RIDE #1: THREE COUNTRIES: GERMANY, AUSTRIA, & SWITZERLAND!
Distance: 50 miles
Average Speed: 11.5 miles per hour
GARRR! I forgot to start Strava until a couple miles in. Hate it when that happens.
RVing without our bikes was definitely weird for us. Our rig Lance was DESIGNED to be a bike carrier after all… it’s just what we do when we RV. So, we knew it was inevitable we’d eventually have to experience (shudder) renting bikes. When we arrived at Lake Constance, we finally did. Now I know I preach keepin’ on the sunny side, but I’ve just got to admit it. This ride was a royal pain in the patootie.
Lake Constance borders 3 countries, and is 170 miles around. It draws vacationers and bicyclists in from all over Europe. We camped at an RV park outside Lindau, Germany. Conveniently, the park was on the bus line so it was easy to get into Lindau and access the lake.
We kept reading about the “bike path around the lake” and couldn’t wait for this RV stop. Biking 3 countries in 1 ride! Is that a cool adventure or what?!? But alas dear readers, let me clear this up for you right now. There is NO one “bike path” around the lake. What you get there is a labyrinth of turns and branches and bits that randomly end on high trafficked roads, or just end altogether, and I’m pretty sure had my directionally-challenged self done this ride alone I’d still be lost somewhere in that maze of paths… living off of day old pretzels and free water fountains and desperately seeking “Ausfahrt” signs.
We spent more time stopped and checking the map app on our phones than we did in the saddle. I exaggerate not.
Checking his phone AGAIN.
Oh yes. And then I got stung by a bee. It hurt. So I had a pretzel.
Oh look, James is checking his phone again!
On the return ride, when we finally found our way back to Austria, we were so elated James jumped for joy.
Don’t get me wrong, though. There were challenges, sure, but we’d do that ride again in a heartbeat. Getting in the discomfort zone is a must if we really want to live life fully and have amazing adventures. I’m at peace with that, and know things are going to get hard sometimes.
So yeah! There’s a little taste of our Europe RV trip seen through some of our jogging and biking adventures. Trips like this make me SO SO thankful for all the years I’ve spent pounding the pavement. If running and biking weren’t a part of my life, not one of the 20-some pictures up above would have been taken, and I’d have never seen around the edges of the places we visited. Having a fit and active lifestyle allows us to experience new places in ways that go beyond the typical getting-on-a-tour-bus type trip. It’s an incredibly empowering feeling.
Here’s to fit-focused lives and adventures!