Euro Trip 2016: Amsterdam Video

Euro Trip 2016: Amsterdam Video

The video below is the last leg of our European honeymoon. Amsterdam was a favorite city of ours and we would love to go back and do more exploring. After using my GoPro Hero 3 for the duration of the trip, I’m tempted to get a Hero 4. I would upgrade to the newer Hero 5 but it’s not compatible with my Feiyu Tech gimbal.

The music track we used was Sheppard’s “Keep Me Crazy” which doesn’t allow the video to play on mobile devices. I did not know it would be restricted but it can’t be helped now. Thanks for watching.

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Euro Trip 2016: Amsterdam

Amsterdam 2016

Amsterdam was our last stop on our European honeymoon and also the shortest. Three days were not enough to fully explore this amazing city.

Cell Phones

Since this was the last leg of the trip and the shortest, we didn’t purchase a new SIM. We decided to use our SIM cards from the previous countries until we used up all the minutes and data. We would switch to WiFi whenever possible to cut back on data usage.

Transportation

We picked up a three day Amsterdam Travel Ticket for 26. This Smart Ticket or (OV-chipkaart) is easy to use and you can choose a longer duration, up to seven days. Getting on a bus or train is easy, you tap it on a pad on trams and buses. It also comes with a transportation map which was helpful. The ticket covers the train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station. This is convenient since you do not need to purchase separate tickets for the public transport in the city. We used the Citymapper app to navigate around the city. It’s a lot better than Google maps for transportation schedules.

Accommodations 

We stayed in Amy’s Blue Room on the historic Haarlemmerdijk. It’s a short distance to central station, two stops on the bus. You can easily get to the other parts of the city from Central Station. It’s about one kilometer to the Anne Frank House and the city cente, and it’s a nice neighborhood to walk through.

The Fun Stuff

The Canal District

We loved walking through the canal district. The clean streets, iconic architecture and fresh air were a welcomed break from the busy streets of London, Rome and Paris. While not many places of interest are in the canal district, the scenery and architecture is well worth the stroll. We would buy pastries and hang out along the canals which looks great at night as well.

Anne Frank House and Museum

The Anne Frank house and museum was a short walk from our place. I did not read her diary growing up but the museum gives a great history of her life. The museum did not allow pictures to be taken inside which was a relief. The wife and I were able to just immerse ourselves in her story without trying to take pictures. I was able to read excerpts from the original diary which was a great experience. We picked up a copy of her diary in the gift shop, which I will read soon.

Heinekin Experience

If you are a Heineken drinker, this is a must visit. The Heineken Experience is a tour through the first Heineken brewery in Amsterdam. You learn the history of Heineken and how their beer is made. Beer is no longer brewed in the building but kegs are shipped in from their closest brewery. Two glasses of beer are included with the ticket.

Van Gogh Museum

My wife and I decided to visit the Van Gogh museum instead of the Rijksmuseum. We wanted to visit both but we were limited on time. She’s a fan of Van Gogh’s work and wanted to see more of his paintings. If you’re a fan of Van Gogh, this visit is worth the trip.

Thoughts on Amsterdam

I didn’t mention everything we did in Amsterdam above. We went to the red light district, coffee shops and two CrossFit gyms (they were closed). We had a blast and we wish we spent more time here. In retrospect, we would have cut two days from Paris, and stayed the extra days in Amsterdam. I hope you enjoyed my recap of our honeymoon. If you have any questions feel free to comment or use the contact form, safe travels.

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Euro Trip 2016: Rome

Rome 2016

Rome was the third stop on our European honeymoon. My last visit to Rome was 25-26 years ago. I was around four and do not remember much. My return to Rome was with my wife and I couldn’t have asked for a better travel partner. Main points of interest on this trip was the Vatican, the Colosseum and the Pantheon.

Cell Phones

We picked up a new set of SIM cards from TIM. It came with a few gigs of data and costs about $30.00. The coverage was great and data speeds were fast. We would switch to WiFi once we got home which made the data last about five days.

Transportation

From the airport, we used an airport shuttle that was offered at the airport. It was about €10.00 per person. We used the same service to transport us back to the airport for our flight to Amsterdam. The subway system in Rome is small compared to Paris and London. It contains only two lines that run near the center of the city. The bus system is your go to for public transportation. We picked up the three day pass and a two day pass from a local convenience store. They also sell passes at kiosks around Termini station.

Accommodations

We stayed in an AirBnB on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. Aside from the awesome name (my first name is Emmanuel), it’s within walking distance of many tourists spots. We walked to the Vatican, Pantheon and Trevi fountain. Unlike Paris, we booked a room but it had a bathroom which was a plus. The person checking us in was very helpful and gave us directions to laundromats, popular eatery’s and tourist spots.

The Fun Stuff

The Colosseum

The Colosseum is an iconic Roman structure. It’s featured in most if not all films that portray ancient Rome. It’s also the setting for one of my favorite films depicting ancient Rome, Gladiator. The structure is large but not as large as I imagined. If naval battles were fought in the arena, the ships would have to be really small. We walked around the ancient arena and then headed towards the Forum.
Roman Forum

The Forum was a short walk from the Colosseum. The Forum contained ruins, churches and other buildings. Some of the churches were old temples that were converted when Christianity became the national religion of the empire.

The Vatican

My wife and I are both Catholic and the Vatican was at the top of our must visit places. We visited St. Peters Basilica, the Sistine Chapel  and the Vatican museum. Like Paris, we were able to attend mass in St. Peters. While there Pope Francis give his weekly address in St. Peters square. We were able to view great works of art such as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as well as the Pieta. Some of the papal tombs were open and we were able to walk through them. Unfortunately we were not able to see the tomb of John Paul II, but we were able to view St. Peters tomb.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of the more famous churches in Rome. It was a former temple that was converted into a church. Two famous tombs can be found in the Pantheon. The tomb of King Victor Emmanuel II (pictured above) and the tomb of the famous artist Raphael.

CrossFit Villa Albani

A trip to Rome wouldn’t be complete without visiting a CrossFit gym. Simonetta, the owner, was very welcoming and asked us to sign her wall in the lobby. We picked up a few shirts after taking a tour. We didn’t get to workout but hopefully we will the next time we visit Rome.

Our trip to Rome was amazing and we were sad to leave. We had a great time wandering streets and eating amazing Italian food. I’m going to miss the pizza and I’m sure my wife will miss the gelato. This will not be our last trip to Rome.

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Euro Trip 2016: Paris

Paris 2016

Paris was the second stop on our European honeymoon and the top pick on my wife’s list of cities to visit. She was very excited and so was I. I couldn’t wait to see the churches, museums and eat in the different cafes. She couldn’t wait to see the Eiffel Tower. After London, we were ready to take on the most romantic city.

Cell Phones

We narrowed the list of cell service providers to SFR and Orange.  After reading many reviews and talking to a few locals. SFR and Orange were the best providers. We went with Orange since it was the closest store to our apartment. We payed €40 each. It was more expensive than a London SIM but it was slightly cheaper than a pocket WiFi. The service was great and we didn’t lose signal while in Paris. We made use of the data and talk time by calling each other when we ventured off on our own. I would recommend them if you need cell service in Paris.

Transportation

We arrived at Gare du Nord and was planning on calling an Uber for transport to the apartment. I wasn’t able to get service so we decided to find a taxi service. Here, is where I screwed up. You should always go with an official taxi to avoid getting ripped off. We went with an unmarked cab and it costed us €75! The fare should have been about half that. It was an expensive lesson but I’ll be more cautious next time.

While in the city we purchased five day passes for public transportation. The total cost for zones 1-3 was about €40. This was a great deal since we spent a lot more than that in London. It came with unlimited use of both bus and metro.  We also used Uber for a few late night commutes, which were great. We also used Uber to get to the Orly airport which was about $40.

Accommodations

We used Air BnB and stayed in the 4th arrondissement. It was a small apartment but it had everything we needed. It was close to a lot of different attractions.  The Lourve, Notre Dame, Musee d’Orsay and Sainte Chapelle were about one to two stop on the metro or bus.

The Fun Stuff

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame is one of the churches that I have always wanted to visit. It’s pictured in many movies especially in the Disney classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dam. After visiting churches in London I was eager to see the churches in Paris. We were able to attend Sunday mass at this cathedral and it was beautiful. The choir was amazing and even though we didn’t understand French we felt the presence of God.

Sainte-Chapelle

Not far from the Notre Dame Cathedral is the Sainte-Chapelle chapel. It is a small one room chapel but it has beautiful stained glass windows. Information detailing the restoration of the chapel is also on display

The Louvre 

The Louvre is one of the worlds most famous museums. Within it’s three wings it houses priceless art pieces. The Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and the winged victory are on display as well as other famous works. The Louvre is was on my bucket list and I couldn’t wait to explore.

Musee d’Orsay
I didn’t know about the museum but it’s just as famous as the Louvre. I saw very famous works by Monet and Van Gogh which I have only seen in text books.

Eiffel Tower

I was able to see the Eiffel Tower during the day and night. They had an awesome light show at night.

Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe is another iconic Paris building that I’ve seen in many movies. It’s has a great view of the city.
CrossFit Lourve and Starplayer
 
As with every stop on the city tour we had to stop by a box and game store. We stopped by CrossFit Louvre which was under a Reebok store. The gym was a good size but not too big. They were out of shirts which was a bummer.
 

Paris was amazing but we should have stayed for a shorter time. Five days was too long, since we saw all the things we wanted in three days. We still had a great time and would love to visit again.

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December 2016 Loot Crate Unboxing: Revolution

Taken from Loot Crate email.

What is Loot Crate?

Taken from the Loot Crate site, “Each month, Loot Crate™ ships a themed mystery box of the best geek, gaming, and pop culture gear to a subscriber base of over 100,000 Looters. We emphasize phenomenal support and content, and include gear from some of the most respected entertainment and consumer product companies in the world.” Loot Crate sells for $15.99 a month plus $6.00 shipping and handling. You can save on the costs by subscribing for longer periods as well. If you like this theme check out the link at the bottom to subscribe.

What’s in the Box?

The t-shirt this month is from Mr. Robot. Mr. Robot is one of my favorite shows and season two did not disappoint.
The exclusive Pop is from Assassin’s Creed. Aguilar is portrayed by Michael Fassbender in the new Assassin’s Creed movie.
The hardcover book in the box is by Daniel Picard. It’s an interesting book with some cool pictures.
The Firefly item is a replica patch from the show.
The pin for this month is also from Assassin’s Creed. The code gives you access to a digital excerpt from an upcoming Assassin’s Creed novel.

Final Thoughts

I actually liked most of the items in this box. The Firefly patch was a bit of a letdown but the other items were great. The photo book, shirt and Funko Pop figure were awesome. I hope next month is just as good.

If you want to sign up use this LINK, also use the promo code BOX5 to save $5 off your first subscription. If that code doesn’t work you can use SAVE3 for $3 off any subscription. I also get credit towards more Loot Crates if you use the link.

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My Week As Rx (Probably Scaled): December 5 – December 11

I was only able to workout at the gym on Wednesday. I ran two days out of the week.

Strength

Back Squat – 3 Rep Heavy
 
My goal was to at least lift 305 lb. since I was able to do it last week. I didn’t feel ready in attempting something heavier or even matching my current 3RM. The workout that day also had a lot of back squats which influenced my decisions on weight. I worked up to 305 lb. which felt a bit light. I could have went up in weight to 325 lb. but time ran out.

WOD

EMOM for 12 Minutes
 
6 push press (95 lb.)
6 back squats (95 lb.)
20 double unders
Initially, I thought the workout was an alternating EMOM at 115 lb. then I found out that it was actually all the movements. The weight was too much for me so I decided to scale down to 95 lb. My goal for this workout was to at least finish the double unders.

The first two rounds were good. I was able to finish all the double unders within the minute but the next round was tough. I was only able to get five double unders and I decided to scale down to 75 lb. I was not able to finish the double unders and scaled the reps from six to four. My goal from this point on was to at least finish one double under. I should have started at 75 lb. but I wanted to see if I could hang on at 95 lb. Turns out, I should have been more conservative. Lesson learned for next time.

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Barbells and Boxcars: Episode 14

Episode 14
On this episode of Barbells and Boxcars we are joined by two guests, Van and Kong. During the CrossFit section we talk about motivation and what you can do to stay motivated. We talk about games we played and others we are waiting to be released.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email them barbellsandboxcars@gmail.com. Check out the Barbells and Boxcars Facebook Page as well as the Limitless Fails Gaming Group Facebook Page. Also, Follow us on Twitch and watch us play some live table top games!

RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/BarbellsAndBoxcars

LinkEpisode 14

My Week As Rx (Probably Scaled): November 28 – December 4

Strength

Monday – Back Squat

4 at 60% (225 lb.)
4 at 70% (275 lb.)
4 at 80% (305 lb.)
2 at 85% (325 lb.)
4 at 80% (305 lb.)
2 at 85% (325 lb.)
4 at 80% (305 lb.)

This was one of my favorite strength workouts for the week. I didn’t set any PR’s but I did reach a milestone. I haven’t been confident in my squat since I came back from Europe. It was kind of a bummer but I knew it was going to take a while for my body to get used to the heavy weight again. Thankfully, I can finally see some progress. A few weeks ago, I wasn’t able to complete a set of squats at 80%. I needed a spot and was only able to get 2 reps and then 1 rep after a short rest. Now, I’m able to complete 4 reps without a spotter and I was able to get 2 reps at 85%. I wasn’t able to complete the last set at 85% because I wasn’t feeling it and it was putting a lot of strain on my knees. It’s going to take time, but I will get there.

Friday – Thruster 3 Rep Max

I set a new PR at 195 lb. My previous PR was set more than a year ago at 175 lb. My first attempt was at 185 lb. I was extremely happy and pumped up that I decided to go for 195 lb. My first rep wasn’t too bad but the second and third were a challenge. The hardest part of the lifts was the breathing. I had to brace my core while trying to take in big breaths. The last rep was tough and I almost didn’t make it. I got stuck for a second on the press and I barely completed the rep. Hopefully with this jump in weight, I’ll be able to set a new jerk PR.

WOD

Thursday – CrossFit Games Open 11.1/14.1 Workout

10 Minute AMRAP
30 double unders
15 power snatches (75 lb.)

This Open workout was programmed about a year ago and I was able to complete four rounds. I was hoping this time around I would be able to finish five rounds. I started the workout at a good pace. I was able to complete the first round of double unders unbroken as well as the first round of power snatches. This took about a minute to complete. I started to fatigue and I was not able to keep up that pace but I was determined to hit a PR. My double unders were not consistent. I would go for a string of 10-15 reps before breaking and in the later rounds maybe 5-10 reps. This was the hardest part of the workout, trying to string together enough double unders quickly. The power snatches were broken up into sets of seven and eight. In the later rounds it would be a fast set of five.

After ten minutes, completed four rounds, thirty double unders and two power snatches, setting a new PR! It wasn’t the five rounds that I initially wanted but I’m excited, since it show improvement. With the open coming up soon, I may have to focus more on metcons so I can work on muscle endurance.

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My Week As Rx (Probably Scaled): New Format Changes

Format Changes Going Forward

Hello everyone. It has been a busy few weeks and with the holidays coming up, it’s going to get more hectic. After thinking about this segment of the blog I realized that I didn’t like writing about everything I did during the week. Their would be one or two workouts and strength sessions that I would be excited to write about but everything else felt like busy work. Now I will focus on highlights instead of a daily journal. One strength and one WOD but I will include more if I can’t choose between a few. This way, I can stay motivated to share my journey. Thanks for reading.

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