Greetings from Oberstdorf!

Wednesday was our dedicated practice day and it started early with the pealing of the church bells across the street from our hotel. The spire that holds the bells is striking visually, but it would have been nice to sleep a little longer! The breakfast at our hotel is amazing. There is an awesome and endless selection of cheeses, sausages, locally produced honey and jams, along with more traditional breakfast foods.

We walked to the rink for our lunchtime practice and noted that the walk was significantly different than yesterday’s stroll. Yes, we still walked under the Nebelhornbahn gondola, we still saw the in-town train transporting weary pedestrians around the village, and Ellie found another cow statue. However, our pathway today was a virtual minefield of relatively fresh cow pies! Apparently, the cows paraded through the village this morning, and while we missed seeing them, we still got to experience their “aftermath.”

Once we were keyed into the recent presence of the cows, we noticed the huge wooden drinking troughs scattered throughout the village. Our research had taught us that the average cow drinks about 30 to 50 gallons of water and produces about 8 gallons of milk each day, making the troughs that much more necessary. We also noticed some unusual but architecturally interesting gutters down the sides of the streets. We assume that these act as traditional rain gutters, but we also wondered if they may be helpful in washing away the manure.

Our first practice was for free dance, and we shared the ice with Novi training mates Madi & Evan and Yura & Alex, along with the teams from Great Britain and France. The rink is beautiful, with a picturesque window wall and a tremendous amount of natural light. The ice is soft, the temperature is warm and our practice went very well. Afterwards, Alex had his first of three Allgau ice cream stops. Since the Oberstdorf cows spend their summer in the mountain pastures, the sweet grass and mountain herbs that they eat there make their milk unique in flavor. This in turn, creates very high quality dairy products, such as the local ice cream that Alex has fallen in love with, and the plethora of artisan cheeses that are sold by street vendors.

We had a second practice right before dinner. This time it was short dance, and The King aka Alex, was in Germany once again! We have a blast performing our Elvis program and in general, the short dance events this year should prove to be highly entertaining and varied due to the rhythms selected. Teams are doing everything from 1940s swing and 1950s rock and roll to Michael Jackson and hip hop.

After the practice we joined up with Yura Min and Alex Gamelin who train with us but represent Korea, for a traditional schnitzel dinner. We continue to be impressed with the quality of the food here, and we are enjoying the opportunity to sample from so many different restaurants. We compete the Short Dance tomorrow, and are looking forward to it after such a wonderful and full day today. As we head off to rest, Alex is already planning his ice cream stops for Thursday, while Ellie is determined to see the cows in the village! Thank you for reading and check back tomorrow.

Gute nacht

Ellie & Alex