Spotted: K in a Castle

Hello Friends and Family,

I’ve been busy these past couple of weeks training, traveling, and going on some new adventures. While I’ve been hitting the ground a little too hard playing defense at volleyball practice, with bruises to prove it, I’ve also reached new heights (literally) during my explorations. Gina, Whitney, and I have been climbing rocks, bridges, and castles to seek out some of the best views in Germany. Here’s what we found…

BASTEI BRIDGE

The Bastei Bridge

The Bastei Bridge

Overlooking the Elbe River

Overlooking the Elbe River

Located not too far from us here in Dresden is a national park. Saxon Switzerland National Park to be exact, and I still can’t figure out why Switzerland is in the name given that it is basically on the German and Czech border. For those of you who are geographically challenged like Miss Teen South Carolina circa 2007, this is absolutely nowhere near Switzerland (or the Iraq). Nonetheless, we had an awesome time exploring. There were gigantic natural rocks that towered over the Elbe River, and there was a natural bridge you can travel across to venture out through all the different twists and turns on these rock formations. The views were stunning as we looked out on to miles and miles of untouched natural land. One thing I still can’t get over was as we looked out on to the different rock formations we could see climbers rappelling down the sides of the cliffs. Let me be clear, that we were so high up that it took my breath away to look down off the edges. I could not imagine dangling off the side with just a rope holding me up. Those climbers are some kind of brave. Bastei Bridge was a fun day trip adventure, and I was laughing at myself for being so outdoorsy. For anyone who truly knows me, you don’t catch me on a nature hike, and that’s exactly what we were up to on this adventure. Don’t tell my dad (the King of hiking)…but I actually enjoyed it.

We climbed up there! I also loved that little tree growing out from the side of the rocks. Amazing!

We climbed up there! I also loved that little tree growing out from the side of the rocks. Amazing!

KÖNIGSTEIN FORTRESS

View from the top of the Kongstein Fortress.

View from the top of the Konigstein Fortress.

Beauty.

Beauty.

The thing I love about being abroad is that you can wake up on a Saturday morning with no plans and by noon that same day you can be at the top of a castle in Germany. This castle we went adventuring to is one of the largest hilltop fortresses in all of Europe, and some of the buildings are over 400 years old. It is also home to the second deepest well in Europe which goes down 500 feet. When we looked down this well it seemed as if things were bubbling up at the bottom. It would be the perfect location for a haunted house around Halloween. Even on our off day we were getting a good workout in trying to get to the top of this castle. I think it was no coincidence that our strength coach is the one who recommended this castle to us. #AlwaysTraining Once again, the climb was worth it as we were in awe of the incredible views of the river, mountains, and fields that went on for miles. I love being out along the countryside because it’s as if you’ve stepped in to a completely different universe. It’s amazing how this is just 30 minutes outside of the big city in Dresden.

Couldn't get enough of the views.

Couldn’t get enough of the views.

Cannons down below!

Cannons down below!

AMERICAN FOOTBALL

Whitney with the mascot.

Whitney with the mascot.

It’s funny how when I’m in America I will usually never sit down and watch a full football game on TV. I don’t have a favorite team, and I don’t know if I can name many football players other than Michael Oher. That is unless any football players from the Dillon Panthers of Friday Night Lights count, in which case I definitely know Tim Riggins. Anyways, when I am overseas I would actually give up a jar of Nutella to be able to watch a full NFL football game. I just want to do American things with my friends. We found a solution to this problem as we have an American Football team here in Dresden, and so we went to check out a game. It was a fun atmosphere in the stadium even on a rainy day. The DJ was playing some great throwbacks in between plays and the fans were all-in. They even had a “Dresden” …. “Monarchs” call and response cheer much like the “We Are” … “Penn State” chant. They even stayed true to the Penn State cheer as that always ends with “Thank You” and “You’re Welcome”, although since we are in Germany it was “Danke!” and “Bitte!” Whitney and I got a big kick out of this and loved participating in the cheer. Our football team waxed their opponent and it was fun to be able to say I participated in football Sunday.

SOPOT, POLAND

Looking out over the Baltic Sea from Poland.

Looking out over the Baltic Sea from Poland.

This past weekend we went on our first official team trip to Poland. We played two friendly matches against Sopot, and it was fun to be back out on the court competing. I think it was a great first outing for the team, and we enjoyed playing together. On the way there, we taught the German girls how to play the game “Mafia” which is one of my all-time favorites. It was hilarious watching the girls try to figure out the tricks of the game. The hotel we stayed at on this trip was walking distance from a little beach along the Baltic Sea. While the water was too cold for me, that didn’t stop the locals from going out in their suits and bathing caps to float along in the water. It was a pretty entertaining sight. All in all, we had a nice trip to Poland and I am looking forward to the new season with this new club.

I hope everyone at home is doing well. I miss you all!

XOXO—k.slay

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