No my trip was not very similar to the Chevy Chase movie with that title, but it was still full of some wild and raucous times as I went through Germany, Italy, France and Spain.
The whole reason for the trip was because my friends band, Archer, was playing at the Bang Your Head festival in Balingen, Germany. We decided that since we were in Europe we might as well travel around.
I planned on practicing my hand balancing a lot while there, but do to heavy traveling, poor food, and low energy, I did not get in as much as I would have hoped for. However, I did spend some time and below are two pictures taken in Rome. I would have more, and better ones at that, but my digital camera ran out of batteries, and I had limited film on the disposable cameras.
Since you are here to learn about hand balancing and not just to hear about my vacation, I will critique my own form in these pictures. The first is by one of the Roman Arches outside of the coliseum (which you can see on the right).
Any of you present day gymnasts would probably like to point out that I am in an very arched position. According to Bob Jones this is not a bad thing at all. In fact, in The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing he states that you should use all the arch you can, especially when beginning, and later you can convert to the straight body style common today amongst gymnasts.
My head is up and elbows are straight. All the balancing was done by the actions of my hands and wrists. I specifically recall being in this hand balance for some time as my friend had trouble taking the picture.
The major fault is that my toes are not pointed. I was a bit thrown off because this was my first time ever hand balancing while wearing steel-toed boots. Anyone who has practiced hand balancing knows that there is a large difference between wearing shoes and not. That little extra weight can alter your normal position. Pointing the toes not only makes your form look better but helps you to keep your legs tighter making it easier to balance.
The second is some old ruins near where Caesar’s Palace was. If you examine this picture closely you could easily tell that it was only moments before I fell back to my feet. I was heavily under-balanced (probably because I wanted to make sure I did not topple the other way). You can even see a slight flex in my elbows from me trying to save it.
The whole trip was a blast, seeing the sites, meeting people, in general enjoying the different culture. We all did the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, which falls into the category of one of the most fun things I have ever done in my life. Sorry no pictures of that. Would you believe I couldn’t find a single disposable camera to buy in that city?
It takes speed, agility, and a good sense of awareness to get by unscathed. I made sure to touch all the bulls in the pen when they came running out. However, my goal of doing a handstand on their horns will have to wait until next year.