Skiing in Steamboat

I spent all of last week in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for a ski trip and – oh, boy! – I am definitely still recovering. I don’t think I’ve skied that much ever – 3 full days and 2 half days – but it was so much fun!

Here’s the thing about me and skiing:

Pretty much everyone knows this story by now, but for those of you who don’t: I broke my arm skiing when I was ten. It was quite dramatic, but then again I was at that age. We were skiing our last run of the day and for some reason I thought I stood a chance at beating my brother down. I tried to go down the whole mountain making as few turns as possible to gain speed…I was going very fast and hit a patch of ice. The rest is a fall and crying and pain. They had to give me a temporary cast of bubble wrap and cardboard so we could drive the 1.5 hours to the nearest hospital and I was in a little cast for what felt like forever.

Since then, I never got back to the level of skiing I was at. When I was younger, I was so confident and absolutely loved it. As I grew up, I didn’t ski nearly as much and had a huge mental block when I actually went. With Sean in my life, though, I feel the need to get back into it – and I really actually want to.

 [I obviously need to get back into skiing to keep up with this stud!]

In terms of progress, this trip was amazing! We took a half day lesson our first day there and Sean took up skiing for the first time, so we were able to stick together on the mountain (as annoyed I was at the fact that he was immediately better than me…stupid naturals!). By the end of the trip, and after a few highs and lows, I felt more confident on skis, stopped caring about steepness (I still don’t like ice, though), and left Colorado excited about skiing as opposed to scared. There was one moment where I just about gave up on skiing permanently and asked for a ride down the mountain with ski patrol (low visibility in the middle of a snowstorm at the top of a really steep trail I hadn’t skied yet), but I pushed through and made it down…and it ended up being our best day out on the slopes!

  

[At the time of my panic attack, the visibility was probably half of this and we were on a harder run…believe me, I would not have been taking pictures at that point!]

 

Steamboat is an adorable little town – we would wake up early and spend the days skiing, stopping for lunch on the mountain before skiing it all off, then head back for dinner, ending the night with drinks and board games at the house. We went downtown for a couple of dinners and even turned a whole afternoon into a date night with just the two of us – shopping downtown, a trip to the Old Town Hot Springs, happy hour at the Old Town pub, and then dinner at Mahogany Ridge Grill. After visiting both Aspen and Zermatt, I have come to realize that I absolutely love mountain towns and this was no exception!

  
  

[Necessary relaxation after a long day of skiing]

 

[The Old Town Hot Springs were such a nice break from the mountains – so warm in the water, but so refreshing to still be in the cool Colorado air!]

We are heading to Zermatt next weekend with my brother and his wife, and our friends Sara and Hope. I’m so excited to visit Zermatt again, but also itching to get back in skis and keep this high going!  Follow us on Instagram for live updates!

 

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Daddy/Daughter Dublin

I feel like I should refer to my weekend in Dublin with my dad as a “bucket list weekend.” After all, I a) did things I had been wanting to do (see Once and visit Howth) and b) did my favorite things (Temple Bar, Croke Park). I like weekends like that because, while exhausting, they are jam packed and very memorable.

My dad and I made a plan to meet in Dublin one weekend because I wanted to see Once and thought it would be great to see it in the city where it takes place. I flew over after work on a Friday just for the weekend and we definitely made the most out of the short time. He picked the Temple Bar Hotel as our accommodation and it was…loud. Situated directly above a bar on the main street of Temple Bar, we could hear partying into the early hours of the morning. The beds were so comfy and the location so perfect though that I barely minded.


On Saturday, we took the train to Howth, a small fishing village on the coast. I had been meaning to go since I studied in Ireland in 2013, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. So, we went out there, grabbed breakfast,walked for a bit, and ended up in the pub. Shocker.


When we got back to Dublin, we freshened up before heading to the Arlington Hotel (one of our favorites) for a snack and to watch the Ireland vs. Scotland rugby match. From there, we picked up fish and chips for dinner and went to see Once at the Olympia Theatre.



I’m a huge musical nut. I don’t know what it is about them, but I try to go to as many as I can. I absolutely loved the story line of Once and the production of it was amazing – they had a real bar on stage that audience members could grab drinks from during Intermission! They did a great job slipping in some comedy and the songs had me ready to download the album immediately. I’m definitely going to be seeing it again.

After the musical, we went to Merchants Arch – my absolute favorite pub in Temple Bar – for a quick drink before bed. They have the best live music, so it was the go to during my summer abroad and it’s the first place I go when I visit.

The next day, we did a bit of wandering around before going to Elephant and Castle for brunch. Brunch turned into pub time at Auld Dubliner (another favorite). Next on our list was the hurling match – Galway vs. Tipperary. It is believed that Tipperary is the Hogan homeland, so we were ready to sport the blue and gold (maybe yellow, but in Hogan fashion, we go with blue and gold. Beat Army!). I went to hurling and Gaelic football matches frequently when I was in Ireland, but this was my dads first time and I’m so excited I had the chance to show him the if reduce Croke Park atmosphere.


There is a pub near Croke Park called Phil Ryan’s at Hogan Stand. Naturally, this is the only pub I have ever been in before/after matches. We went to Phil Ryan’s for a couple of pints before taking our seats in Hogan Stand to watch the action.



I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad so entertained. We go to sporting events all the time (baseball, hockey, football, everything) but hurling is unlike any of those and he was so into it! I had such a blast watching and being in that environment again, and even though Tipperary lost, it was definitely the highlight of the trip!

After the match, we went back to Phil Ryan’s, which is always best after a match. Then, we took on Temple Bar for our final night! I am such a fan of Dublin and am so happy I had the chance to pop over with my dad. He is in England next month so I’m already trying to find out what we can squeeze into that weekend!

p.s. A little secret about me – no matter how many times I’ve been to Dublin, I always leave with a bag from Carrolls, the famous souvenir shop over there. This time, it was an Irish wool scarf and a Caed Mile Failte sign for the new flat 🙂

Calcio Storico: Rugby, Wrestling, or None of the Above?

I’m going to start by saying that this Wikipedia page will explain this game much better than I can. What I can say, though, is that the actual experience is not what you would expect after reading the Wikipedia page.  [The pre-match festivities resulted in what felt like thousands of people on the playing field marching, dancing, and throwing flags]

Match start time

Expectation: The tickets we bought said 5pm, so Sean and I showed up at 4:45 like any tourist would do.

Reality: The stadium was empty. Around 5:30, a couple of people in funny costumes walked out and we were sure that marked the start. It did mark the start…of the parade…which lasted an hour. At 6:30, the match finally began.

[One punch about to be thrown, two guys who appear to be hugging, and no sight of the ball…pretty normal at this game]

“Kick game”

Expectation: Calcio Storico translates to historic kick game, so we were expecting a soccer-like event. Granted, we were told there were no rules so even expected a hand ball every so often.

Reality: I’m not sure if there was any foot-ball contact in the entire game. It was much more like rugby, mixed with street fighting. The first thirteen minutes consisted of absolutely no movement toward scoring – instead, there was punching, tackling, pinning people down, and even the need for a stretcher.

27 people on each side:

Expectation: Wow, crowded. It must be insane with 54 people all running around on the same field.

Reality: Once someone is injured or expelled from the game, they cannot be replaced, so this number decreases drastically throughout the game. Also, I would say only about ten people on either side are actively playing. The rest are either a) standing in a line in the center that sort of serves as a border, ready to fight if need be, or b) pinning someone down or being pinned down themselves. Sean and I still haven’t figured out the purpose of this, but I suppose it does clear the playing field.

[The number of players on the field dwindled down from 54 to no more than 40 throughout the match]

Goals:

Expectation: There are meant to be three goalies on each side, which makes sense since the goal takes up the entirety of each end. There must be a ton of shots on goal, hence the need for three goalies.

Reality: The goal is an odd thing. It looks like a narrow soccer goal, but you can’t just hit the net or the wall to score; instead, the ball needs to go behind the wall and there is only a small slit to get it in there. Almost everyone who got a “shot” was close enough to actually score, and there weren’t many shots. I also don’t think any of the goalies were actually guarding the goal.

Despite my confusion on all of the above, this was actually one of the best sporting events I’ve ever been to. Once it picked up, about twenty minutes in, it was non-stop action. These were my favorite parts:

[A festive celebration for Team Rossi after scoring a goal]

Half points:

If a team attempts to score but sends to ball over the goal instead of into the goal, the other team is awarded half a point. So basically, not only do you score when you score, but you score when the other team fails to do so. This should definitely be used in more sports.

Violence:

Sports are so regulated these days, which makes perfect sense given the health issues involved with athletic injuries. However, it was a crazy change to watch people just go at it with a team sport. It was quite comedic and provided for great entertainment, but I do feel a bit of strain on my moral compass for admitting this. Still conflicted on this one.

Breakaways:

Given the line of defenders in the center of the field, and the lack of active players (those not pinned down or in a fight), there was not much scoring in this game – not even many attempts. This meant that when a breakaway actually happened and someone was heading to the goal it was the most exciting thing ever. It also meant a huge gamble as to the outcome – they would either get absolutely decked at some point, would score for their own team, or would half score for theirs. Great entertainment all around.

[Sean being an eager supporter – purple represents Florence so our side had purple and red flags]

This experience sparked my interest in attending cultural events all over the world. It’ll take some strategic planning, but I think it would be an amazing thing to write about. This is going to take much research though considering the only event I can think of off the top of my head is the running of the bulls!