Written by Tiana Austel
This week California Gold had to leave our shorts and tank tops at home to dawn our Team USA gear in an almost 40 degree temperature drop as we traveled from sunny California to Salzburg, Austria. Starting with an early morning practice on Monday we hopped on an 11 ½ hour plane ride landing on Tuesday, a little sore but ready to show off all of our hard work.
After a quick stretch break and bus ride California Gold was ready to take to the streets of Austria. Admiring the ornate cobblestone landscape and relaxed atmosphere we headed towards Salzburg’s Old Town to enjoy our team’s first visit to Austria. Shortly after stopping to buy some adorable knit hats from a friendly street vendor the team entered a local Italian restaurant to enjoy an authentic Austrian meal of Schnitzel and potato soup. After a fulfilling dinner of warm food and laughter we headed over to a small chocolatier shop to get a taste of true Austrian chocolate. Temporarily overwhelming the small one roomed shop we bought everything from chocolate to macaroons to give our loved ones back home to thank them for their support.
On our second day we woke up a bit earlier than usual for our first unofficial practice. For 45 minutes we turned our bus into a disco party as we danced, admired the beautiful scenery, and got pumped up for our first international practice. We even enjoyed the company of our team leaders and team doctor as they gave us a quote of the day, “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future: it’s something you design for the present”, and a personalized letter of encouragement.
After a quick game of “name-that-important-detail-
Our practice started off slow, as our muscles adapted to their new environment, but slowly rose to become a productive practice. We pinpointed problem elements and worked our way through them trying to achieve technical credit and positive GOEs on all of our elements.
After practice we headed back to the hotel for a quick break and boxed lunch before enjoying a “Sound of Music” bus tour. Singing to our favorite songs from the classic movie we visited many of the famous sites from the movie making sure to take pictures to capture the moment forever. We visited everything from the Von Trapp family house, the famous Gazebo, and the marriage chapel. We even stopped for a delicious round of coffee and apple strudel.
After our fun day touring all over Austria we headed back to our hotel to end our day. While some of the team stayed behind, many of us went back down the street to enjoy some dinner and team bonding. Choosing a giant circular table with rotating seats our team never stopped laughing as we spun and ate delicious burgers, dumplings, and fries before returning to the hotel for a much needed rest.
As a veteran skater it is times like these that remind me how much of a family California Gold is. We come from different parts of the country, different backgrounds, and are different ages, yet we can find one passion to bond over. That is what makes synchronized skating so special.
We are all so excited to continue our journey in Austria and represent the United States of America in competition.
More updates to come but for now Auf Wiedersehen and Gute Nacht!