Trip to Cologne, Germany: FIBO 2018

Köln, I was in you. Although our time together was short, it was sweet & memorable. I cannot wait to experience it again next year. 🇩🇪

Last weekend, I went to my first fitness expo, FIBO Power, in Cologne, Germany. It was my first time in Germany and my first solo trip to a place where I did not know anyone or the national language. With English, a little bit of Chinese and ten German words in pocket, I was able to get by.

I decided to take touristic journey to Cologne via the train. I took four trains from Lausanne to Bern, from Bern to Basel, Basel to Mannheim, from Mannheim to Köln. In total, it took around 7 hours and 45 minutes but I was able to enjoy the scenery through the train windows.

You cannot miss seeing the Domkloster if you ever go to Köln! It is this beautiful, historic cathedral that is a sight to see! You can’t miss it as it is the first thing I saw once I got out of the train station. There are thousands of thousands of people there looking and taking pictures of this monument. I didn’t get a chance to go inside but I would have loved to see the architecture and the stained glass windows.

I stayed in a hotel outside of the city in Pulheim, Brauweiler called the Donatus Hotel on Donatustrauße. It was a little far from the city as it was a little difficult travelling in and out of the city but the hotel was quaint, quiet and the staff were really friendly 😊 We did have some language barrier issues but we understood each other at the end of the day.

The main purpose of my trip was to go to my first fitness expo, FIBO POWER, as it is the largest one in Europe. It was exciting yet overwhelming at first. I had never seen that many people in one location before in my life. I was just soaking up all the vibes seeing so many people interested in fitness, wellness, health etc. in one space. It felt surreal seeing so many of my favourite athletes in the flesh and not pixellated on phone.

I made my way to the Pescience booth and I first met Valentina Esteban after 4-5 years of wanting to meet her. We spoke briefly as the booth was packed but I came back after lunch and spoke to her for about 20 minutes. Her personality online reflects so much of her personality in person. It was great to meet another fitness friend in real life. At the same time, I was able to chat with their International Sales & Marketing Director, Ben Carpenter, about getting products into the Swiss market.

The next two athletes that I met were Stephanie Buttermore and Jeff Nippard. I have been a huge fan of Jeff’s work ethic, YouTube videos and more for such a long time. I was surprised that he recognised me when it was my turn to talk to him. I discovered Stephanie about a year ago when she was doing her PhD thesis and I was doing my Master’s thesis at the time. I found it inspiring that she was able to balance both academia and fitness and it pushed me to find that discipline too. Overall, chatting with the both of them was amazing because the conversation just flowed.

The last athlete I met was Lauren Findley who actually surprised me. I was waiting in a line by the booth she was standing by and she called me saying that she recognised me. I came over to her, gave her a hug and started talking to her. We both went to college in New Jersey and this was her first time in Europe. I was sharing places that she should visit if she comes back.

Last but not least, I met Cindy in the Pescience line. She is doing a PhD in Computer Science!!! How amazing is that?! We ended up spending the whole day together and went to see some tourist sites and buy doughnuts (fit girl things) after the expo.

My overall reaction about this experience was that I was shocked. I felt that I was friends with these athletes that I was talking to last weekend. The conversation just flowed. It was exciting yet nerve-wracking because there were so many people in one place. Meeting new people and can call them friends is just part of the experience of being in a community that share a passion for fitness, health, wellness and more. I couldn’t have imagined a better experience!

My weekend in Cologne went by fast. Sunday morning I was back on the train to Switzerland with my heart full of happiness and my brain filled with memories. Thank you for the wonderful experience Köln! 💓

Until next time,

Folakemi Olamide

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