European Summer Part 2 (The Adventures)

Part 2…the fun part!  If you follow my social media, you may have seen several pictures of my adventures so now is my time to share all the awesome details!

Although I had been to Europe several times, I had never set foot in France before this trip.  This summer I began my European adventure on French soil!  My first and third competitions were in France so we decided that after the second France meet we would take a side trip to the famous city of Paris!  My coach, Kylie Hutson, Tori Pena and I left Sotteville, France and headed to Paris.  After an eventful ride in amongst some of the craziest drivers I have ever seen, we made it to our little hole in the wall hotel.  Dropped our stuff, hit up the ATM and headed to meet our bike tour guides!  We had signed up for a 4-hour bike tour because we only had one day to see the city and we thought what better way than on bikes during the beautiful summer!  The tour meeting spot was right in from of the famous Notre Dame cathedral…perfect photo opp to start the day!   We met our guide and the 10 other tourists and headed to get our bikes.  We were so pumped!  Our tour guide couldn’t have been better!  He lead us up and down all these beautiful back streets and gave us the full history of things we would have never known about as tourists on our own.  Along the way we stopped for countless photo opportunities, took a short rest at his favorite bakery and gelato place (sooo yummy treating ourselves to chocolate croissants AND gelato), and hit up all the major sites except the Eiffel Tower.  His tour didn’t include the Eiffel Tower (except from a distance) because he figured everyone touring Paris goes there on their own.

At the end of the tour we headed straight for the Eiffel Tower.  It was perfect timing because we wanted to see it both during daylight and at night.  When we got off the subway near the Tower, I’ll never forget the moment we walked around the corner and BAM…there was the Eiffel Tower standing tall and beautiful as ever right in front of my eyes.  A sight I had seen in pictures my entire life and always dreamed of going to see in person was now right in front of my eyes!  It was amazing.  We took several pictures including a jumping in the air picture in front of the Tower.  Seeing as we are jumpers, it only took 2 attempts to get a good jump pic 🙂  Next we headed to walk up the nearly 700 stairs of the Tower to the first main level.  It was cheaper to walk up and we figured why not get a little exercise.  We took several photos then waited in the long elevator line to take us all the way to the tippy top!  After a long wait we reached the very top right as the sun finished setting.  It was breathtaking.  We decided to treat ourselves to a glass of champagne at the top to celebrate.  What a cool experience!  After the champagne we made our way back down to the ground.  At that time the Eiffel Tower lit up for night and it was just gorgeous.  We took several pics then headed to dinner nearby.  Later in the evening we caught the Tower as it sparkled.  This only happens a few times each night so we were so happy we got to see the Tower in all of its forms!

The next morning we left Paris, prepared for our 5 hour drive back to Germany.  Well, just outside Paris we got a flat tire.  NOT FUN!  Because our rental car was from Germany we were required to get it back to Germany before taking it into a shop to get fixed.  As a result, my coach put the donut tire on and we very slowly made our way back to Germany.  Because you can only go a certain speed with the donut (and I don’t think you are supposed to drive very long on it) we were very cautious.  The 5 hour trip turned into a 12 hour drive.  Not fun, but it sure made for an adventure.  We got to Germany and exchanged the car then headed to our house we rented from AirBNB.

We only needed a house for 2 nights at this point before heading on in our journey so we found an adorable country cottage type house in rural Germany to call home for 2 days.  It’s the little things like this house that really make for the adventures 🙂

The next stop for the group was one of my favorite meets in Luzern, Switzeralnd.  We arrived 2 days before the competition and the meet had reserved 10 tickets to go up a mountain in the Swiss Alps in a cable car!  Kylie, Tori and I jumped on the opportunity!  How many times in your life can you do something like this…and for free?!  So we went on the adventure up the mountain in the cable car and then climbed a little further to the highest point we could reach.  The view was breathtaking.  It was a clear sunny day so you could see everything…the snow on the mountain tops and the beautiful Swiss town below.  A view I will never forget!

During my second trip to Europe this summer, I spent the majority of my time in Switzerland with 3 other vaulters (Nicole Buchler-Swiss, Heather Hamilton-Canadian, and Anna Schmid-Swiss).  Being with these girls was such a blast!  Everyday was a new adventure together.  My favorite adventure was floating down the river.  When they told us about floating down the river I assumed we would be going “lazy river style”  on floats.  NOPE!  We went in just our bodies, no floats.  And man this was some river!  The current was pretty fast!  It wasn’t dangerous, but if you decided you wanted to get out at one of the several staircases they have along the river, you had to decide WAY ahead of time and start making your way to the side or else the current would keep carrying you along.  Plus the river was freezing!  It was like an ice bath, so we laughed about it being a recovery float.  Halfway through the float there was a bridge that a ton of people were jumping off of.  Naturally we all hurried our way to the side, climbed up the bridge and jumped off.  I think that was my first time jumping off a bridge so that was pretty fun!  We had to time all jumping in together though or else the current would separate us.  What a fun day!

My last stop of the summer in Roveretto, Italy really stuck in my head.  This was a town right in the mountains.  About 20 minutes from our hotel was a lake that the meet insisted we go see.  Riva del Garda was the name and no exaggeration, this was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen!  Many of you may have seen the pictures I posted on Facebook from there.  The combination of the super blue water meeting the mountains on the crystal clear sunny day was just incredible.  I would consider going back there on vacation to enjoy the beauty for a longer period.  I think the trip saved the best view for last…

Overall, this summer was amazing in so many ways.  I know I am leaving out several smaller details, but I wanted to share the big parts.  I feel so blessed to be able to pole vault for my job, but to tour the world the way pole vault allows me to is just amazing.  I am so thankful for all the adventures!

Part 3 coming soon…Thanks for reading!!

Mary Saxer
Mary Saxer


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