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Due to the fact, that I have met so many new and lovely people I decided to write once in English because of them. Sorry for my mistakes in writing/grammar – I hope you still understand it…

Well how did this trip to “down under” started? This is not as easy to say as I thought. Because somewhen Lea and me started to think about if we should go to NZ once and we decided that this autumn would be perfect for it. I have finished my studies as an engineer and she has done her apprenticeship.

So only 2 days after World-cup in Grindelwald we went off to Auckland – no ideas what will happen and what to expect. We arrived at midnight and travelled to two orienteers (Geoff and Lisa) where we could stay for the first days. Even if we didn’t know these two people – after just some days it felt like “being” home there! We travelled from Auckland to coromandel, hobbiton, white island, Rotorua to the Tongariro mountains, where we have done the famous Tongarirocrossing. In Rotorua we met two more orienteers and we stayed there for some days and could go biking in the most beautiful bike park on earth (in my point of view)! We have done a special O-Session in the jungle and have climbed many volcanos.
After this first 2 weeks we went down to the area around hasting and we spent the weekend there for the NZ national championships. Even if I should have had a season-break I couldn’t just “jogg” there and I tried to perform on the same level than back home and this worked out quite well.
I managed to win the sprint and middle champs by a big lead due to good races with a very good shape. In the long I had to quit my race because of shoe-problems and then I was fresh to run against all ME and M20 runners on the first leg in their relay (Relay teams are made of 1 elite / m20, 1 woman and 1 senior / junior runner each). I managed to run once more a bit faster than the Kiwis and came back in lead. These competitions have been amazing but not because of the results. Even if it is nice to win my first elite championships ever, it was more about get to know with many great people, to enjoy the evening with them and to talk about what all of us love so much (our sport).

After the nationals we continued our trip south and went to the south island. We run in the fantastic national park around abel tasman and explored the westcoast where we have seen some nice pancakes, some fantastic animals and sunsets + sunrises.
I fell then in love with the area around Wanaka where we have done some great mountain runs and some cool stuff beside training. We went to Mt. Cook area and then continued to Queenstown and then Te Anau. There we have done part of the “Kepler Track” where I run 30k with 1200m climb around a fantastic mountain view – even if we run through snow it was amazing!

The weather turned bad but that was perfect for our trip in Milford Sound. Due to small injury in my hamstring I needed to skip some running sessions for 2 weeks and did a lot of aquajogging and cycling when we have been in Invercargill and Dunedin. One trip back to the mountains (Mt. Cook and Tekapo) before we went to Christchurch and Hanmer Springs.
We did some very nice Orienteering sessions with the Christchurch orienteering club and met a lot of lovely people there. This weekend was then the last one on the south island and we went back to Wellington.

We changed our plan and stayed much longer in Wellington than planned. We went biking and running and spent a nice week with lot of memories about JWOC 2013 at Robertsons place (Anna and John – I was first when their son Tim Robertson won his first international medal before his great achievements afterwards). At the wellington champs we met again friends from NZ Champs and enjoyed the fantastic terrain around the coast.

Our last week in NZ was full of great tours between New Plymouth and Auckland. Just before we took our flight to Sydney I had the honour of having a presentation about the “swiss orienteering system” for the Auckland orienteering club (North West). We did a run together and enjoyed a nice evening – last time with a lot of sun on this island.

One week of sightseeing in Sydney was then the end of our trip to down under and I can say – it was totally worth to spend this time! I enjoyed the parks in Sydney and was fascinated by many great buildings and the famous harbour bridge – as an engineer I love to see how things are done!

The time in down under was also a bit “changed world” for me because in some weeks it was Lea who run more than me. It was she who wanted to train instead of me and different to usual it was me who read books instead of watching movies. We drove on the left instead the right side, we decided to drink no Coca Cola during this trip and so on…

I could tell 100 different stories and could thank to everyone special from this country but I decided to just say one last thing: Thank you Kiwis! The trip was more than just holidays or a training camp – it was finding a second home! Thank you so much for this time and thank you for getting to know with everyone!

I am back home and will start my “usual” wintertraining – but this time it won’t be very usual because it’s a new time without studies – where I will train like a fulltime orienteer and soon I will move to Tenero (Ticino) to prepare EOC 2018.
But before all this it’s time to enjoy X-Mas time and to analyse the season. I will write a summary about 2017 before Christmas and until then: let’s go out and play!!