Where to start from? Going through could go through some of my previous posts, I am reminded of my fears and stress about this whole project, which felt so real until just a few days ago and now it seems like it is all coming into place.
I embarked on this first trial week last Tuesday not knowing what would come my way, diving into the “unknown and unknowable” and out of my comfort zone, my determination stemming only from a good feeling about my hosts and my stubbornness to make it happen.
So, I got on my train and arrived in Pinneberg within 6 hours that felt like 2! I was in a group chat with my hosts, Jackie and Malte, the owners of CrossFit MyBuddy, as they wanted to make sure I find my way and did everything they could to make me feel comfortable. Us Greeks believe that we are the masters of “hospitality” and it is true we are very good at it, but I can now confidently say that we are not the only ones!
Malte was waiting for me at the Pinneberg station, with a big smile on his face and a warm welcoming hug. What a better start to ask for? They had even arranged for a bike for me to facilitate my stay. Talking about proactive planning! We went straight to the box, which was very close to the station. I entered and was immediately in love with the place! I thought my standards were high from training at my box (UnScared), but they definitely met those standards (and also had some great touches that I need to talk to my coaches about, hehe). It’s funny that my first non-Dutch box to visit on this journey would feel like a sister-box to the one I call ‘home’. Very high building, with top-notch equipment, impressively clean and cozy, with its own lounge area overlooking the main training hall, with so much attention paid to details from the quality of the coffee machine to the shower gel, shampoo, hair dryer and feedback box in the changing rooms. A wall dedicated to pictures of their athletes, one to those of visitors (a pic with the Boxtrotter proudly hanging there too now!) and a wall of CrossFit affiliates’ t-shirts. What a lovely place to workout at!
Living with a couple of box-owners and witnessing their everyday routine was a great experience for me. We spent the first afternoon at the box, getting to know each other and working out. Jackie joined in the afternoon and that was when I met the power lady behind a perfectly organized box. What a woman! It was so nice to see them both working so well together as business partners, as coaches and as partners in real life. A lovely couple indeed!
The day was long and we ended up getting home around 22:30 and going straight to bed. I was exhausted physically but so thrilled that it all seemed to be working out very well. I couldn’t have known what my hosts would be like. I was not introduced to them by a common friend or anything. It was pure luck that I was told by a friend of mine about their FB page ‘H4CF’ and when I decided to post there about my upcoming travels, they were the first ones to invite me to Hamburg and to open their home to me. It only felt natural to accept the invitation. So here I was. In a house in the suburbs of Hamburg, with a couple that lived their life in a way many would envy. Live, love, laugh – that is what I see in front of me as I write this post on my bed in their living room. (I’m sure they would add “lift” too!) And this is what they are about. A young couple of CrossFit lovers that get joy out of making the people of their community stronger and better every day. Two people that are so dedicated to making their dream box come true, that decided it would be priority for them to open the box instead of getting married. A couple of beautiful people that are loved and respected by all their members and by so many CrossFit affiliates in Germany (it seemed to me they know every box owner by their first name!)
They have turned their passion into their everyday life, not only by opening a box that promotes all that CrossFit is and stands for, but also by supporting the whole CrossFit community through their ‘A Home for CrossFitters’ page on Facebook. I know I will be definitely asking for the help of the more than 8000 members of the group during my travels!
Next day, Wednesday, was spend entirely at the box – it was a great day! Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the box, hitting a nice Annie workout, practicing on my handstand walks and getting some great tips by coach Malte, hanging out with the members of MyBuddy – oh, and on top of all having to work on a translation project too! That was a first one, working on the go, but it turned out that I could quietly work in my own space at the lounge area without any problem whatsoever. The only problem I think I will be faced with is being constantly sore! All day at the box can’t be fun if you don’t play around!
Today (Thursday) my hosts took time off their busy schedules to take me to Hamburg and show me around their town a bit – talking about hospitality! We enjoyed some delicious fish for lunch and then walked through town, from the most touristy places to places known only by the locals. What a lovely town with so many contrasts, the poor neighborhoods, the posh stores and business district, the romantic harbor and the marvelous architecture of the buildings. All together perfectly in balance in this great town!
In the evening it was again time to sweat a bit (or more than a bit) so I joined the 20:15 class for a wod. The classes at CrossFit MyBuddy are limited to 8 people, which ensures that all athletes get the most out of their coach. I hope they realize how lucky they are – I’ve heard about classes of up to 25 people, I really don’t know how this could work out well for anyone.
Another great thing about CrossFit MyBuddy is that Jackie and Malte are making sure that their members know each other by name and greet any stranger coming to their box. It was funny that on the first day, everyone coming in the afternoon for the class would come up to me to say hello and I would offer my hand for a handshake and say my name while they were all trying to fist bump me. It was only when I was told to pay more attention to their logo that I realized I was doing it wrong all along! But once I found out, I’d fist bump everyone all the time! Same thing after the wods and every time an athlete would have a new PR (which is also the time to use the PR bell!). I had a moment with the bell too after my 52.5k overhead squat PR 🙂
It is almost 2am and tomorrow I need to get to Goch, to meet my next host Mattias and the peeps of CrossFit Goch. I realize, however, that I need to be writing about my adventures while everything is fresh in my mind also given that my days are so full and blissfully busy and it would not be fair to leave things unsaid after having enjoyed my stay in Hamburg so much! I only wish I could share even more details in my posts – hope the photos fill in some of the gaps!
Tomorrow morning will be another first for me as I will ride to Goch with a girl I contacted through the Bla Bla Car application. Let’s see how this one goes! New people to meet, new adventures to live!
Again, a big thank you to Jackie and Malte and all the peeps at CrossFit MyBuddy who made my stay in Hamburg simply unforgettable. You have raised the standards even more!
PS – That’s what you get when taking selfies with a Polaroid!