Europe, Portugal

EUROGYM: International Gymansts, fun & cuties all around

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Before talking about what Eurogym is – you must be like “what the hell is this crappy post all about!?” -, I should start by telling you I was a gymnast until I turned 21, and being this a huge part of my life for the longest time, I felt I should write something related to my life as a gymnast and travelling.

Eurogym is basically one of the best gymnastics events, that happens every 2 years in a country in Europe, and that brings gymnasts from all over Europe to reunite all at once place during an entire  week. And let me tell you this: as a gymnast, a week surrounded solely by gymnastics…doesn’t really get any better than that. It’s like loving candy and spending a week in a city built with candy. Seriously, was one of the best experiences I’ve had, and my first international experience as a gymnast and as a person. And even though the event was in Coimbra, Portugal, I felt like I wasn’t in my home country, but that I had traveled far far away to the coolest place ever.

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I’ve always loved travelling with my girls, my team, I won’t even try to deny how much I miss this part of my previous life, they became my family and always made my days better, but sometimes you have to make decisions, some better then others, and this is one part of my life I’ll miss forever. So you can imagine how insane it was to travel to a city with my entire team just to meet with other CRAZY gymnasts from all over Europe (and Brazil).

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So let me tell you what happens during this week: every team makes 3 appearances in places assigned around the city, like parks, malls or main streets. During the week, everyday, each team also gets the chance to try workshops chosen by the team previous the travel, that goes from canoeing, biking, dancing, circus, underwater sports, tumbling, boot camp (yes, boot camp!)  and several super awesome things to do and have a blast!

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Oh, have I said the best part is the place we sleep? Yep, we slept on the floor of a school! The picture above talks for itself: camping on the floor of a school with your bestfriends..Really, how many people have wished to sneak around and spend a night in a classroom? Oh, how I miss this crazy camp mess! I remember being really hard to sleep at night, not because of the mess and the heat or for being uncomfortable, that part was what made it so much fun, but because we were so excited and never wanted to sleep and there was always some doing gymnastics in the dark and falling on top of another that would yell and we would all laugh. We even got the chance to go for night walks inside the school building and pretty much making a mess out of the place, at least until our couch finds us and send us to the room.

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Did I mention we got the chance to drive in the back of a military car around the city to a military camp? Yep, also awesome! Weirdly felt like we were being recruited to the army, and they were taking us to the trials…weird…but amazing!

Of course not all is roses and fun! Every morning we would wake up around 6 or 7am to train our routines, and we had one day we were so mad for having to practice at 6:30 without having breakfast. Yes, gymnast life can get hard and get you in a really crappy mood in the morning!

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Even though this week was one of the best experiences I’ve had, not everything turned out as expected (it never really does, does it?). I went injured to the event, and had to stay out of 2 of the 3 appearances, and also had to skip the water sport workshop and the boot camp. Of course this made me sad, but I guess at least I got to take lots of pictures of the girls and this made them happy!

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Another trouble I had, that made me feel like I was on another country, was the food…
I mean it! Can you imagine how hungry a gymnast can get? We must keep fit, but damn me and my team kinda ate like animals during this week!If you don’t believe me, our breakfast was always 2 breads, a juice, a glass of coffee and milk and a banana. Never really ate this much in the morning in my entire life, but this week was special and our stomachs were insanely hungry. And the worst part, at least for me was the lunches! All the gymnasts reunited at lunch time to eat on a gigantic tent, and we couldn’t really choose what we wanted to eat, and boy did I had a horrible time at lunch because of this. Everything was always terrible and I would get so hungry and mad. There was even one day I saw the food and it was something that I really, really didn’t like and I just started crying out of frustration (but again, I’m kind of a crying baby) and had ended leaving the place alone to find a place and buy a stupid hot dog

Every night we would have music parties organized to the gymnasts but that unfortunately would end around 22/23h, since the next morning everybody had an early rise and a gymnast must sleep in order to avoid lesions. Well, I’m being reasonable now, because back then we would get mad about this, since we never wanted to go to sleep – and this always ended with us talking till really late hours and having our coach yelling for us to shut up and go to sleep.

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I can only imagine of the people who actually lived in Coimbra must have felt like, since gymnasts owned the city for the week. Imagine just stepping out of your house and having crazy people jumping and being thrown into the air! Well, at least we’re crazy but we know what we’re doing…most of the time (or not!)

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Free time was also fun, since it was the time to meet people from other countries and bond. I heard so many languages, danced and had so much fun with everyone, and apparently language was not a barrier at all, since we all had one thing in common and that was all that mattered: love for gymnastics!

And now something obvious about the event…REALLY cute guys everywhere. I’ll be honest to say Swedish guys won that year for being cute, hot, friendly and super cool!

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“I like flying, jumping, moving, sharing, smiling, I’m simply gymnast!” 

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Overall it was an experience I’ll never forget, and that I hope I’ll get to repeat one day. Of course it wouldn’t be the same, I’d be older and the team would be changed, but well, once a gymnast always a gymnast, and you’re never too old to practice it. All I know is that in 2016 the Eurogym will be in Czech Republic and the idea appeals to me, a lot!

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So, why did I decided to share this after all?
Well, honestly because I just felt like it. But if I think about it, it makes perfect sense to share here in the blog how I got the travel bug, and there’s no better moment in my life (just my Erasmus of course) than this event, where I first got in contact with so many nationalities, languages and costumes!
If you’re a gymnast and you’re reading this, my advice is: Go! It can be a little expensive yes, but what you’ll get out of it, what you’ll learn, who you’ll meet, and just the fully experience of being a part of something that amazing and something that’s bigger than you, will make you smile from ear to ear, and trust me, the money you’ll give for it won’t count for nothing and you’ll come home richer.

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