Iceland

OMG what a beautiful and extraordinary country! Never have I thought about Iceland so much in my travel destinations, but living in Sweden right now, Iceland is so close that it definitely became a travel goal. A goal that I was able to finally realize!

The schedule was pretty busy during the 4 (!!!) days that we were there, it seemed like almost every step that we did was planned out, so that we could manage to see everything we wanted. ūüôā

Wednesday

Wednesday was half travel day and half spa day. We arrived at Keflavik airport at 2pm and rented a car to use for the four days. Additionally we rented a portable Wi-Fi device so that we were able to use the maps and the internet on our phones. The first stop was at the bridge between continents (the North American plate and the Eurasian Plate). That was something pretty cool to see, but is done within approximately 5 minutes.

After the bridge, we drove further to the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon was stunning. Seeing such a different nature was absolutely breathtaking. We spend a couple hours at the lagoon, which was a great way to start off the mini-vacation. Especially for my knee, the warm/hot water in the lagoon was great. I felt like a new person after these couple of hours.

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With the time difference we had, we got tired pretty early and knew we still have a bit to drive until Vatnsholt where we stayed at a farm for one night. The farm had horses and sheep, but we did not have much time there as the next day was packed.

Thursday

After a typical Icelandic breakfast, we hit the road down South towards V√≠k. On the two hour drive down there, there were a couple of sights that we could have checked out, but we decided to do that on our way back up after checking out V√≠k, except for the plane-crash site in S√≥lheimasandur. We made a stop there with the hope that we won’t have too many other tourists there to take good pictures. The walk from the parking to the site is about 45min one way, and it was terrible. It was rainy, windy and so cold, it was a struggle. It was definitely worth the horrible walk, as it was a magnificent view and a very special atmosphere.

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We then drove down all the way to Vík where we got to see the black sand beach Reynisfjara. As it was still very rainy and very windy, the waves at the beach seemed very aggressive and loud, it was almost intimidating. It was stunning, standing at the Hálsanefishellir and Reynisfjara and looking at the Reynisdrangar, it’s like I can almost not put it into words. We also went to check out the Dyrhólaey as it was on our way back North. It was so worth the drive down to Vík to see this beautiful scenery and also experience this very intimidating atmosphere.

Next stop then was the Sólheimajökull glacier. It was a short walk from the car park until we sighted the glacier and then eventually stood on the glacier. I have seen the Perito-Moreno Glacier in Patagonia which, to me, was a lot more imposing than this one, but it was still a nice and I was happy that we went to look at it.

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There are an incredible amount of waterfalls in Iceland, so we stopped at the two big ones on the way. The first stop was Sk√≥gafoss and the second one was Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Both waterfalls were very beautiful and impressive, but yet again, I have been to the Niagara Falls in Canada and the Iguaz√ļ Falls in Argentina. Both falls to me were more extraordinary.

We then also stopped at the Eyjafjallaj√∂kull ‚Äúviewpoint‚ÄĚ. There was not much to see, as the clouds were very low and all the streets going closer were closed off. I got quite the goosebumps standing there, knowing that this is an active volcano that erupted only 7 years ago!

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Time was slowly running out and we were way behind schedule as we ended up spending much more time at every sight than we initially planned. We had two more stops planned, the Kerio crater and the Hveragerdi hot springs. The Kero crater was beautiful, the nature was so colorful, it was breathtaking. The colors of the stones, the flowers and the water, it was all just so beautiful. This was actually the first sight we had to pay an entrance fee, it was not much and it was so worth it.

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Last stop before going to Reykjavík were the Hveragerdi hot springs. We were actually not sure if we ever found the right hot springs, but we did see some nice ones and left it at what we saw. The remaining way to Reykjavík was fast and we were happy when we finally got to the 101 Guesthouse, it was a long and tiring day.

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Friday

5am wake up! We had another long day ahead of us, so we wanted to get an early start. We decided to do the upper part of the golden circle, which were the Mosfellskirkja, Thingvellir National Part, Geysir and the Gullfoss Waterfall, and we had to be back in Reykjavík the latest at 4pm for whale watching.

We drove right past the Mosfellskirkja and the Thingvellir National Part as we wanted to start with the Gullfoss Waterfall. That way we were able to time ourselves better on how long we could stay at the different places. The drive to Gullfoss was so pretty and we were lucky as the weather was good that morning. There were no cars on the streets, it was so quiet and peaceful. We were able to stop on the way and take some nice pictures of the scenery along the way as well as Iceland horses. Once we were close to Geysir, we decided that we wanted to make our first stop here and then drive further to the Gullfoss Waterfall.

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Geysir was insane. I had no idea what to expect, I have seen videos and pictures before, but it was way more insane being there in person. The way the water is moving, the clearness of the water and the excitement until the boiling water erupts, is so special. I think we spend over an hour there just watching the water moving and waiting for it to erupt. Very very very special!

On to the Gullfoss Waterfall, yet again, it was very beautiful but not as impressive as other waterfalls I have seen before. At that time, the weather turned bad again and it was quite rainy and windy again. We did not spend too much time there, we took it all in, but could not take many pictures as the rain would cover the lens of our camera and thus destroy the pictures.

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Therefore, we were on our way back to Reykjavík where we made a stop at the Thingvellir UNESCO National Park where we went to look at the Silfra fissure, which was formed by the divergent tectonic North American and Eurasian plates. Unfortunately we did not go for a dive there, but regretted it immediately after. If I ever go back, this is definitely something that I would want to do then.

Time started to run out again and we knew we would have to leave so that we will see the Mosfellskirkja and then be back in time for whale watching. This church turned out to not be something too special, so we took a picture and continued. Since we now had a bit more time, we ended up going into a shopping mall for a bit and then went down to the port for whale watching.

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I was super excited for whale watching, although I have done it before when I lived in Boston. Unfortunately this was a waste of time and money (money that we could have instead spent for the diving at the Silfra fissure). We did not see any whales close by, only whale backs that were so far away, you can’t even identify it on a picture. We saw a lot of birds and I really mean a loooooot of birds! It was very disappointing and I was very upset that we did not even get the money back.

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Once we came back from the whale watching, we went to eat dinner right by the port at the Kopar restaurant. It was delicious and such a great service. Unfortunately we were very tired again and did not stay for too long before we went back to the Guesthouse.

Saturday

5am wake up! Again! Yes, another busy day ahead, so we got up early again to explore sleeping Reykjavík, where we went to the see the Hallgrímskirkja (that was unfortunately under construction), the Perlan, the Harpa house and the sun voyager. Reykjavík is such a beautiful city, so much to see and so much fun spray designs against the house walls. It is indeed a unique city.

The last sight of our Iceland trip was an excursion inside a volcano. This was probably the one thing I was most excited about when we were planning the trip. This was the only organized trip that we participated in during the whole vacation. We were picked up by a bus right by our Guesthouse and drove to the parking lot at the three peaks crater. From there we were walking for 1 hour through 3 different lava fields until we reached the base camp close to the volcano. At the base camp, we received all further instructions and then were equipped with helmets and climbing harnesses. I am scared of heights, so I did not know how this will go for me, after all, we were going down 120 meters into a volcano with an elevator.

It was an experience of a lifetime! I was so nervous when I was in that elevator going down, but it was so worth it. The different colors that we were able to see in the stones of the volcano; the enormousness; the uniqueness of being in a volcano was absolutely breathtaking and stunning. The time flew by, and it seemed we did not have enough time to take it all in, but unfortunately we could not stay longer.

Once we came out of the volcano again, we went back to base camp where we received a soup before we walked back to the carpark for another hour. The bus trip back to the city was very quiet; everybody seemed to be processing the experience inside the volcano. It was our last night in Iceland, so we went downtown for dinner and drinks and were just walking around in the city a bit more until we were tired and went to sleep.

Sunday

3am wake up! Our plane was leaving Keflavík airport at 6:30am and we still had to drive there and bring back the rental car and do all the check in. Good thing we were able to get a bit more sleep on the plane back to Stockholm…

It was an unforgettable trip! I wish we could have stayed there longer, to have more time at every sight and also see the entire country and not just the Reykjavík, the golden circle and Vík, but I am more sure than ever that I will go back to Iceland at one point in my life. I can only recommend it to everyone!

Can you guess what country I am going to next? It’s just a couple days away until my next trip!

Xo

Florence

 

Hi everyone,

A lot of people have asked me how my rehab is going and when I’m thinking I will be back 100% for training and all. So here it is! ūüôā

The first week after surgery I stayed in Switzerland, where I had perfect medical treatment. I was able to go to therapy everyday and get a good start on the first couple of rehab exercises that I would have to do over the course of the next couple of weeks and months. I never felt a much pain, so I thought this recovery is going to be quick and easy. But I later realized that I probably never felt much pain because I was taking a lot of medicine at that time. A week and a couple of days later, I was able to remove my stitches (picture).

After that short stay in Switerland, I went back to Sweden as I still have classes at University. Unfortunately, the flight was not a delight for my knee. Although I was wearing compression, my knee swelled quite badly. I was in quite a lot of pain, especially when I tried to start walking without crutches. Approximately 2 1/2 weeks after the surgery, I was able to get rid of my crutches and start the real rehab.

The real rehab, turned out not to be so real after all. As I distanced myself from the surgery day, I had to reduce the amount of medicine intake as well. Immediately, I felt this pain again in a lot of movements that I was doing, which was scary. I am always asking myself whether this pain is normal or if I should be really worried and unfortuantely noone could answer this but me.

I am doing rehab every day for approximately one hour, 5 or 6 days a week. I am biking, trying to increase the amount on the bike as well as the resistance. Right now, I’m at 20minutes biking and resistance level 7. Additionally, I do a lot of balance exercises, on two or one leg, and usually add a ball to the balance exercises to train my eye coordination. I did try little squats and negative movements (such as walking down the stairs), but unfortunately this is not going too well yet. I try to do a lot of calf drills to train my legs until I can do these squats and try to keep my upperbody in the best shape possible. For my upper body, I do basically just body weight training. I do a lot of core exercises, pushups, dips and so on.

So that’s pretty much it for one month post surgery! If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me!

I am headed to Iceland tomorrow until the end of the week, so I will definately write a blog about my experience in Iceland next week!

xo

Florence

Back in 2015, I was working at the International Ice Hockey Federation and had another year in my contract with the 1. League with EHC B√ľlach’s man’s team… Having a fun job and a great team to play for, it seems that everything was going great for me.

Although I loved my job and the team, I felt like something was missing. A passion I follow, besides playing hockey and working, was missing. Travelling!

Ever since I was little, I enjoyed travelling. Be it going somewhere in the car with my family, going on a bustrip, or taking the plane. As soon as I knew I was able to go somewhere, I felt like the happiest girl alive. Throughout my hockey career, I was very fortunate that I got to travel so much. Hockey opened doors to places I would probably never have visited if it wasn’t for hockey. I was looking forward to every single abraod trip we did, with hockey, with my family, or with my friends. I was excited to see new places, new people, new cultures and new languages.

Back in 2015, that was missing. Although I travelled with the national team, it felt like it was not enough for me. I wanted more, I wanted something new.

It was exactly then, that I got contacted by Link√∂ping Hockey Club in Sweden, who at this time was looking for a new goalie. They were looking for a goalie to take over Kim Martin’s (!!!) position who was retiring. I knew this was a once in a lifetime chance, which I would only have this very moment.

It was not only a one in a lifetime chance to take this position but also for me to move to Sweden, travel in Sweden, get to know the culture, the people and its language. Without much hesitation, I took the chance and joined Linköping HC in August 2015 with a one-year contract.

One year became three years!

I enjoyed my time here so much, as I was simultaneously playing hockey, working at RUAG Space in Linköping, travelling the country, learning about the culture and language, that I knew I wanted to have/do this for more than just a year.

I applied to a Master Degree Program in Business Administration here in Linköping, to which I got accepted and the rest is history. I just signed my 3rd one year contract with Linköping HC!

I am super excited to see what next season will bring, but as for now, my summer is packed with travelling plans, rehab and preparation for Pyeongchang!

xo

Florence

Hi everyone,

My knee surgery was over a week ago and I was able to remove the stitches today! Just a little step towards full recovery, but an important one!

Xo Florence

My Knee Injury

Hi everyone,

I’ve received quite a lot of questions throughout the last couple of weeks because of my knee injury. I realized that I never really communicated what happened to me in September when I first injured my knee and then what kind of surgery I got last week. So here we go!

I originally injured my left knee on September 29th during a practice in Linköping in Sweden. It was really bad luck, as a teammate of mine crashed into me after shooting the puck and unfortunately I somehow twisted / overextended my knee. I went to the emergency room right away, knowing something was seriously wrong as I could not bend or put pressure on my knee anymore.

Knowing the importance of this past season with the Olympic Qualification tournament in February, my nationalteam doctors and me decided to fly me home so I can get the best medical care I need. Once I was home I went through the usual procedure of seeing the doctor, getting an MRI done and so forth. The verdict: completely torren MCL and partially torren ACL. I was going to be out for 3 months or more. With the amazing medical system we have in Switzerland, I did my entire rehab here. We realized that we would cut it very tight with the Olympic Qualification tournament, but this was so important to me that we pushed very hard during rehab, with the result that I experienced a couple of setbacks but overall were on track to be ready to play in February.

When the Olympic Tournament came around, I felt as ready as I could be. I was really excited for this tournament to start. I knew that it was not going to be easy with having 3 games in 4 days plus pre-game skate and so forth, but I had a strong will. It was going great until pre-game skate of the second game against Norway. The puck came towards me, I went down on my knee and made a kick-save… I knew something happened, I knew that it wasn’t my MCL or ACL, it was a different pain but it was the same knee than in September.

Long story short, I torre my meniscus. I went through the same procedure again with doctor appointment, MRI and so forth. I couldn’t harm anything else in the knee though if I were to continue play the rest of the season, so I did exactly that. The rest of the season was painful though. I could barely walk upstairs anymore, I had a hard time cycling and I could not do any squats anymore. As for my game on the ice, it was a struggle, a struggle that I was able to push through.

When the season was over, my doctors and me decided to get surgery on that meniscus as fast as possible. So this is what I got done last week. ūüôā

My recovery time from this will approximately be 2 months until I can start training a 100% again.

It wasn’t an easy season, but it definately taught me a lot and I really really really look forward to next season!

xo Florence

Road to PyeongChang 2018

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my new blog where I will start write about my road to the Olympic Games 2018 in PyeongChang!

Having undergone surgery a week ago, I will mainly write about my rehab and progress on my knee and then of course about my training and everything that goes into being an athlete. I will also write about handling the workload of going to university and doing a masters while playing hockey on an international stage.

Feel free to comment on all of my posts but also let me know if you have anything you would like me to write about!

Enjoy!

xo Florence