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Madison Hubbell's blog from Nebelhorn Trophy

U.S. ice dancer fills you in on what's going on in Oberstdorf

Madison Hubbell (pictured with partner Zach Donohue) is blogging from Oberstdorf.
Madison Hubbell (pictured with partner Zach Donohue) is blogging from Oberstdorf. (Klaus-Reinhold Kany)

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By Madison Hubbell, special to icenetwork.com
(09/21/2011) - U.S. ice dancer Madison Hubbell will be blogging this week from the 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Day One
It is arrival day here in Oberstdorf, Germany, and we have been running into many familiar faces. Almost everyone from Team USA arrived with enough time to walk around town before our team meeting and team dinner.

We lost our night when traveling, and after sleeping only a few broken hours during the trip, many of us were sleepwalking through the day. We managed to stay awake through a delicious team dinner at a local Italian restaurant, although I witnessed some droopy eyes and clumsy maneuvers. Jordan Cowan, my roommate back in Detroit, couldn't even pour his own glass of water.

The competition will begin tomorrow with practices, and with the extra activities will come more things to write about. As for now, it is late, and we must be well rested for a free dance practice tomorrow morning.

Goodnight!

Day Two
It is day two here in Oberstdorf and practices are in full swing. All disciplines had two practices today. The arena is large and quite nice. I was surprised to see some local fans at the rink already asking for autographs since the competition is not beginning until tomorrow. I remember having a good audience when I competed here at the 2007 World Junior Championships, and I look forward to the fans' energy tomorrow for short dance.

The weather here has been beautiful, all blue skies and sunshine. The locals have been telling us that this is very uncommon for this time of year. Their fall season is usually riddled with puddles and gloom. The town is a charming step into the past, with a beautiful church right outside of Hotel Mohren, where Team USA is staying. The view of the church, with the mountains in the background, is gorgeous, but the minute of church bells every morning at 7 a.m. may take some getting used to.

People have been telling me about the cows that will go on the mountain during the day, and come back to their respective homes every night. I have not seen any, but I know it must be true because the road to the rink is covered with cow poop. In fact, after going to the rink five times, Anastasia Olson still doesn't know how to get there, and all you have to say is, "Follow the trail left by the cows."

Jordan Cowan was looking through the tourist pamphlets in the lobby before practice and saw one for parasailing. He thought this would be a good idea for our free day in between events. I am working on convincing him otherwise. His response to my doubt was, "I won't die," to which I replied, "No, but a bad landing and a broken ankle might not help your free dance."

I went to Nordsee today for lunch, and after both my partner and coach managed to order their food in German, I decided to give it a try. Bad idea! Even after saying it multiple times, and pointing at the menu, Zach had to help me order. I would be fine with the help since I do not speak any German, but neither does Zach! As for dinner, I was much more comfortable ordering my cappuccino from an Italian. The dancers went to Alberto's and had a very friendly waiter, who became even friendlier after we tipped him. This is apparently not the custom in Oberstdorf.

I am off to bed now, and the day will start early with the church bells. I am trying to learn as much as I can about the city while I am here, so if any of you have questions for the locals, you can send them to me on Facebook. I will get answers for as many of the questions as I can. Thanks for reading, and I will talk to you tomorrow!

Bye! Auf Wiedersehen! Ciao!

Day Three
So, as you know, the competition has started for everyone except the ladies. I did not stay to watch all the events but was able to at least hold the American flag for one of our men, Max Aaron. I am sure that you have all checked the scores of your favorite skaters, whoever those might be. There were quite a few spectators at our event today, despite it being in the middle of the afternoon. There was a large group of children from a school in Munich that arrived halfway through the ice dancing event. I was happy to see the excitement that all the children had for our sport, and had fun trying to communicate with a few young fellows who asked Anastasia [Olson] and I for an autograph. (They didn't even see us skate!)

I had coffee today, and everyone who knows me knows not to test my patience until halfway through my second cup. But I think I fell in love all over again! Pasquale and I were walking through the town and stopped to sit outside for a quick pick-me-up. I stared blankly at the menu, pretending like I understood the German, which I did not despite pictures. When the waiter finally came, Pasquale ordered, and I just said, "Same." I was very pleased when the cappuccino arrived with a scoop of vanilla ice cream inside. Oh ... my ... gosh! How had I not thought of this? It is so simple! I love coffee, I love ice cream, and the combination of hot cappuccino with cold ice cream is delicious! Competition aside, this made my day!

Zach, Anastasia and I were alone for dinner, since Pasquale was at the rink and Jordan was eating dinner with a cousin visiting from Munich. The first two nights here we had Italian for dinner. Both meals were fantastic, but we aren't in Germany every day, right? So we headed to Weiner Wald for a traditional German meal of meat and potatoes. It was nice to eat something other than pasta and pizza, but I am not sure how traditional our food turned out to be. In fact, Zach ended up with chicken cordon bleu and French fries! Oh well, I tried. By the end of the week, I will try some Weinerschnitzel.

Tomorrow is the dancers' day off. We plan to wake up as late as possible, which is dependent on how loud the church bells will be. Our morning will be spent walking around time and sightseeing before our 6 p.m. practice. If anyone has an idea of something we should not miss, let us know, as this may be our only chance to do anything before we leave. There is a candy store outside our hotel, and they supposedly have the best gummy bears. My brothers both love gummy worms and such, and since I miss them both -- and I especially miss having Keiffer at my competition -- I will bring some home to them.

Thanks for reading today's blog! See you all tomorrow!

Day Four
Ahhhh, what a lazy day! For all the stress that usually coincides with competition, today was a welcome break. I was able to sleep through the 7 and 8 a.m. bells, and woke up after a refreshing 10 hours of sleep. After breakfast and a shower, and possibly an hour of picking out the right outfit, I was ready to walk the streets of Oberstdorf.

Both dance teams headed out of the hotel and for the center of town, but they only made it 10 steps from the hotel before entering the gummy bear store. "Bears & Friends" is a gummy-lovers heaven! The store's walls are covered with bags of candy in every flavor and shape variety. I love bringing home souvenirs for my friends and family, but it can be expensive ... and HEAVY! I fixed the expensive issue, but I think I am bringing home 20+ pounds of candy!

(By the way, I found it interesting when I asked people for activity ideas on my blog, all I received was a single message, and yet all I have to do is mention candy, and my Facebook is flooded! I see how it is, and I love you all, too!)

Once we finally made our way back into the town, we didn't do much except embarrass ourselves. The tomfoolery began with a trip to a playground. My skirt and high heels that were a "perfect outfit" before turned out to be the worst outfit for climbing around a jungle gym.

Once we got plenty of photos and videos of our climbing, we headed toward the town's amphitheater. Zach and Jordan tried to convince me and Anastasia that we should get up on the stage and dance, but I wiggled my way out of that embarrassment. Zach and Anastasia got the locals' attention by doing a press lift, and I was very happy to stay on the ground and go unnoticed.

After our day on the town, we forced ourselves to get back into competition mindset for our practice. That evening we watched the pairs free skate. Congratulations to Caydee and John, and also to Maylin and Daniel, who spent part of the summer training at Detroit SC.