Friday, July 2, 2010

World Cup Freestyle 2010

Ending up top 10 in my first international event was good. I didn't paddle great, but I had fun and I would do it again.There were so many skilled paddlers there I had never seen or heard of. The whole experience was such an eye-opener! I had never traveled to another continent, and neither had my mom, who decided to join me. After the airline separated us on the way over, a train broke down and I had to rent my own car and drive in a country where I don't speak the language, I had a stressful first few days trying to locate her. I was jetlagged and neither of us had phones. I had to remind myself often of EJ's it wisdom: "Worry is payment on a debt you may never owe." I was so grateful to have someone I knew there, as well as someone to paddle with!

The hole at Augsburg was trashy at times and flushy at other times. I truly enjoyed the *super* boily eddies coupled with super aggressive people lining up for turns. :)

When my mom and I finally met up after our Planes, Trains, and Automobiles travel nightmares, we started making up for lost time by packing our sightseeing plans into fewer days. And I tried to paddle twice a day. :)
We started on a light note...with Dachau Concentration Camp. Here, a gas chamber reads "showers" on the doorway. I did not expect my visit to this place of death and suffering to affect me the way it did. At times, I felt overcome with sorrow, but I completely toured the camp and said a prayer for those who suffered and died here. My mom reminded me that we need to be aware of such atrocities so that they never happen again.

Here we are at the front gates, where the German phrase reads something about hard work earning freedom. Yeah right.

My mom and I drove the 'Romantic Road' in Germany, where castles and old churches dotted the countryside. Scenes like this lifted our spirits:

The Castle Neuschwenstein with the Swiss Alps in the background:

This is the castle below Neuschwenstein, the boyhood home of the king of Bavaria who went mad.

My mom and I rode bikes all over downtown Augsburg. Churchbells tolled as we bumped along the cobblestone streets and stopped for pictures.
Old churches are abundant in Augsburg, including the medieval one seen here:
After Augsburg, I was ready for the air and consistency of the Plattling hole. I had already surfed there a few sessions, and I liked it far better than Augsburg. My mom had flown home, Devon had arrived and we headed for Plattling to set up camp. Then, it began to rain. And rain. And rain. And rain some more. Slugs invaded our tent. Everything we owned was wet. We checked into a hotel, hung our gear on radiant heaters, and watched the water rise. At first, the hole turned into a sweet wave and I had no complaints! Unfortunately, the pre-worlds event of the World Cup ended up being cancelled due to high water. The water in fact was so high it washed the riverwide feature completely out and we were perplexed as to what we could do.
The scene at Plattling with the water rising...
With the event cancelled, we started eating like pigs and sampling beer. The next day we went in search of sights to see and different water to paddle.
We tried to paddle in Munich...there was a sweet wave there. But upon seeing it, we were concerned about a low head dam that was immediately below it and couldn't find a 'plan B' eddy to catch if you missed the first one. After one person declared they were out...we soon all passed.

Taking it all in... (Am I really in Europe?)
With a blonde Czech paddler named Lenka as our guide, we headed towards Prague, stopping at Pilsen to paddle, eat, and drink. Czech Republic was full of beautiful but deteriorating buildings...

Surfing and mini-blunting at the Pilsner Wave in the Czech Republic.

The grand entrance to the Pilsner Brewery in Pilsen, Czech...
Hands down, the best thing about Germany was the food...specifically...chocolate and bread. Below, Devon is eating a mandatory chocolate bar (with vitamins in it!) called Kinder, while I devour a genuine Bavarian pretzel. We also enjoyed some wonderful smoked braided cheese. Sorry to disappoint, but no pictures of us eating that. I do have a picture of Devon eating an obscenely shaped marshmallow filled delicacy called a Super Dickman...but she will kill me if I post it. :)