Hi again!!! A few funny photos to start, our giant pretzel gift from Mulhouse, and my athletic trainers – we call them our “kine” helping me get ready for another week, below that…
This week had a different feeling from the beginning because at the end of the week we matched up against RC Cannes, the top team, and Goliath of the French Pro A League. It was full of surprises and fun though! My roommates family came into town and asked if we had any requests, so I got this little slice of HEAVEN and the most amazing almond butter!
Things got off to a rocky start at the beginning of the week as we were all extremely run down, and both coaches and players seemed to not be doing too great of a job communicating on how we felt physically. After two LONG five hour days, our coach informed us not to make any plans before 6 PM on Wednesday. None of us were very pleased seeing that we look forward to short intense Wednesdays and free afternoons. No one really knew what the staff had in store, and we weren’t really given any hints to prepare.
We walked into the gym Wednesday ready for film and practice and instructed to get our shoes on quickly so we could get started. Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary, ourstaff had the team roster up on the projector, just like we always do when we prep film for teams. Except for instead of our regular scouting sheets there were giant packets of paper on the tables.
Our coaches had planned a little surprise team bonding adventure for us. Essentially all the paper work was a scavenger hunt that send us to a Mediterranean restaurant in Arles, about 45 minutes away. I, of course, managed to find some awesome art in the new city. Part of the reason why I love traveling and continue to find myself in awe by things that could always be hiding around the corner on the wall of a broken down building.
We were all stoked for a nice change of pace, and enjoyed the yummiest meal – couscous with veggies and chicken, served curry style.
We even snuck in a few bottles of wine, normally our coach doesn’t let us drink when we are in team gear. (A rule that is definitely typical in the US, but not overly common in Europe, as the Europeans love their beer and wine).
We knew there was more after lunch, but the waitress had the rest of the instructions. Little did we know, the restaurant was attached to a “hammam” also known as a turkish bath or steam room.
None of us were prepared for this in any way shape or form. We were given towels and hilarious paper undies, and sent into the showers to lather up with a dark soap before entering the steam room. After about 45 minutes ofextreme heat, we were given a rough head to toe scrub and massage. After some hesitation, a lot of laughs, and sweating our butts off half naked in a giant steam room together, it turned out to be such a fun experience.
We were still a little sluggish come Thursday, but got back in the gym for a few more days of work before Cannes. Unfortunately, things did not turn out like the David and Goliath story you all know, and we were swept for the second time this season. On the plus side, there’s a possibility we could see them one or two more times in the French Cup and playoffs. Anyways, we have to move on and get ready for another mid-week match against Nantes – the semi final match of the French Cup (if we win we get to go back to Paris in April) and then another road trip up to Nantes again this weekend (funny how that all works!). I have lots more to talk about, and lots of yummy food pics I will try to get up sooner than later.
Until next time, lots of sassy kisses from the handball game last night, and happy late Valentine’s Day from France!