For a quick recap, we went to Texas to visit my family after Rio. From there, Max and I traveled to Porto Alegre, Brazil for six weeks of shows. Max went on the trip of a lifetime with his brother to explore in Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile and fly fish in Patagonia while I was performing in Porto Alegre. You can view footage from their trip here!
After Max and Brandon's trip, Max headed back to the States for MLL season. We have been doing long distance since then, which is mostly miserable, but we are doing our best to stay busy and continue living out our dreams. I'm happy to say that this is temporary, and we will be together again shortly! I was in Columbus for our annual leave in April, and after my two week stay, I flew to Córdoba, Argentina where we performed a quick four weeks of shows. I drank a lot of Argentinian and Chilean red wines, which is almost impossible when a bottle is about $4 US, and I ate enough steak for three people. If you like wine and steak, Argentina is your place.
3 pounds and 4 weeks later, I headed back to Columbus for a short five days before I had to be back on tour. We are now in Buenos Aires, where I'll be until the first week of August, and Max is due here in a couple of weeks! I'm so excited to have him back with me for a bit. In the meantime, I've had plenty of company because my best friend from Columbus, Nicole, came to visit me for almost 2 weeks! Nicole and I met through college gymnastics when she took a recruiting trip to Maryland. She ended up choosing Ohio State, and my close friend and former teammate, Kelsey McDermid, encouraged me to reach out to her when Max and I moved to Columbus. Kelsey knew Nicole through club gymnastics in Indiana, and she knew we'd hit it off. We went to get coffee and a movie together a few years back, and we haven't stopped talking since. Just ask our husbands.
Nicole and I at CoCo Cafe on Calle Cabello in Palermo, Buenos Aires
Nicole arrived on a weekend and was able to watch the show from the audience and backstage before Corteo had a triple dark, or three days off. Nicole, Gabby, and I went to El Calafate for the time off and had an incredible time. El Calafate, you ask? I'll save you the time it will take to look it up on Google and go ahead and give you the location: South. Really, really, really South.
Told you it was down there.
Monday morning, we left for the airport really early. When you go to sleep at 4 AM most nights, really early means anything before 11 AM. We had some much needed coffee and quiche at the airport before boarding our flight! We look like we are still sleeping because we were.
We should have asked for bigger mugs!
As you can see, I got stuck in the middle. Gabby is kind of a window seat hog, but I'm working on letting that go...
Nicole, Gabby, and I at the airport in El Calafate.
We headed straight to our hotel, Hotel Kosten Aike, and we went and explored the area for the remainder of the day. El Calafate has an adorable downtown area with souvenir shops, fly fishing and winter gear, and some restaurants. It was a quick walk to the main drag from our hotel, and we grabbed some lunch before heading down toward the lake. El Calafate sits next to the tiniest portion of Lago Argentino, which is the largest lake in Argentina and is fed by glacier meltwater. The lake is surrounded by the Andes, and we instantly fell in love with the natural beauty. The best part is that the lake was frozen over, so there was miles and miles of activity space for us to play and take pictures! You can always expect fun photos with three acrobats.
I also want to mention that all of our pictures were taken on iPhones. Unfortunately, it's all we had! We did our best to get some good ones though! I guess I can put a professional camera on my Christmas list :).
A sign on the way down to the lake
Cause why not?!
As we were walking the couple of miles to the lake, we found this concrete lookout that had a view of the Andes and Lago Argentina, more specifically Bahia, our area of the lake. It just so happened that the sun was at its highest point of the day, which is still really low compared to pretty much anywhere else, and we got some great shots holding the sun! The sun rises around 10 AM and sets around 7 PM this time of the year, so even at 2 or 3 PM, you feel like it's almost evening.
Now begin the ice shots!
We walked on the ice until our toes were numb, and then we walked into the city for dinner and a little World Cup watching. Who am I kidding? We just ate dinner.
Our favorite hangout, Libro Bar
Souvenir shops in log cabins!
Gabby bought us a bottle of wine and dessert to share! How sweet is he?
We slept like babies the first night after a long day of travel and exploration, and it's a good thing because Tuesday was another long, adventurous day. We woke up early to catch a van that drove us an hour and a half through the Andes to our destination, Perito Moreno Glacier. On the way to the glacier, there were endless photo ops. It seemed like every curve in the road gave us a new opportunity to be amazed by the landscape.
Casual drive through the Andes
During the drive, I saw a hare in the middle of the road. Seconds later, we watched an eagle fly directly in front of our van and snatch it up with its claws! We were completely shocked. It's not every day you witness an eagle having its lunch.
After a scenic drive, we arrived at the glacier. We took a boat ride to the glacier first, where we got to see the glacier from yards away. We were so cold, but the views were something out of this world!
Warming up inside the boat
Although this vacation was the trip of a lifetime, we did face one casualty. Fortunately, this picture happened! Unfortunately, this excessive leg lifting caused Nicole's phone to fall out of her coat pocket and onto the lower deck, and I guess the glass wasn't made for antarctic temperatures.
As my cast mate said, "She got the new Spiderman app."
After the boat ride, we made our way to an area of the Glacier National Park where there are a series of balconies to view the glacier from above. Because the glacier is constantly moving, every ten minutes or so you hear a thunderous roar as a chunk of the glacier breaks off into the lake. We got to witness two pieces falling off.
I can't quite describe what it looks like in person! If you've seen Despicable Me, then you've seen the part where the Egyptian Pyramid was stolen and replaced with a blow up version. The glacier looked so amazing that it looked fake! I was expecting to reach out and pop it. I felt like their was a giant movie screen in front of me with a giant picture of the glacier on it. It seemed like an illusion because I've never seen something so large, bright, and mesmerizing.
The way acrobats "walk" down the ramps
Perito Moreno Glacier
Hand rails? Balance beam? Same thing.
I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I was sore for almost three days after taking these pictures. Maybe it's possible for me to get into these positions, but I can't say that my body can handle it quite like it could ten years ago! I think it was worth it though. One day I'll hopefully be a mom, and I'll have these pictures to prove that I was cool back in the day... as they push me around in my wheelchair. I'm 25 this year, so that officially means that I've been in the gymnastics/acrobatic world for 20 years! It's bound to catch up to me at some point.
We took some fun sunset photos at the lake that night after we got back from our glacier excursion, and then we headed to grab a bite to eat at our hotel and laughed over the videos we made throughout the trip. Hopefully I can convince my husband to put together a video for us of the trip!
After a night of rest, we woke with the sun (10 AM) and headed back to our favorite frozen lake for some ice skating! I wish my Olympic medal winning brother-in-law would have been able to watch our speed skating skills. According to the bruises that I still have on my knees over a week later, I think I can count my talents elsewhere.
I wore my Patagonia sweater in Patagonia just to be cool.
We should stick to gymnastics.
Couples skate :)
It's safe to say that our favorite spot was the frozen lake. It was about two miles there, and we walked there and back quite a few times! I'm so happy to have those memories with such special friends in my life.
I didn't take advantage of the window seat...
...until next time. <3