My Trip to Switzerland & Spain or A Tale of No Vegetables

May 14, 2018
| Created by Sarah Kiel, RDN, CD

My Trip to Switzerland & Spain or A Tale of No Vegetables

Last month, I went to Switzerland to receive my Diploma in Sports Nutrition from the International Olympic Committee! 

The 2-year program focused on the foundations of sports nutrition and practical sports nutrition. Topics ranging from nutrition needs for cold, heat, and altitude, to nutrition for weight-restricted sports (like wrestling or ski jumping) were covered.

Our graduation ceremony took place on the shores of breathtaking Lac Leman.  The IOC Medical Commission Chair, Ugur Erdener, was in attendance, and I received my diploma from Olympic gold medal rower and IOC medical director, Richard Budgett. I completed all coursework back in October, so it was nice to finally wrap up with my classmates from around the world in such a lovely ceremony. The reception was then followed by a tour of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne! 

Let’s talk Swiss food.  The cheese, bread, and chocolate are all INCREDIBLE. I nearly ate my weight in raclette and enjoyed a flaky croissant with my espresso every morning.  We enjoyed rösti, muesli, lots of local yogurt with fruit, and some excellent wines.  HOWEVER, while vegetables are abundant in Swiss grocery stores (we went to a few), they aren’t easy to find at most restaurants. At one point I asked our Airbnb host where to find a restaurant with a good salad or vegetable side and was told that, “the Swiss have a complicated relationship with vegetables”.  

Next, we traveled to the charming town of Sion, Switzerland to spectate one stage of the Tour de Romandie, a professional road bike race. You can see the stage winner in this photo, along with my husband, Matt, furiously snapping photos.

After Switzerland, we traveled to Madrid, San Sebastian, and Bilbao, Spain. We ate so many pintxos, ,which are sort of like the Basque version of tapas.  Pintxo culture involves roaming from place to place and eating small portions of food (and typically a small cider or beer) at each location, and it’s pretty much my new favorite way to eat. Our favorite pintxos included ingredients like Ibérico ham, foraged wild mushrooms, lagoustines, padrón peppers, and marinated artichokes (there were a few more veggies in Spain)!

But we didn’t just eat, we also visited the Museo Reina Sofia and the Guggenheim and the Orbea bicycle factory, and enjoyed architecture and people watching in all 3 cities, both on foot, and by rented bicycle.

Food, bicycles, architecture, art, and Olympians, this trip had it all! We had an incredible time, but were also content to head home by the end of the trip. Returning home from vaca to an empty fridge is THE WORST.  So, I placed my Harmons eShop order on the plane to pick up on the way home. You won’t be surprised to learn that this order had even more veggies than normal!