3 weeks of travel and 2 European Ironman Episodes (Phase 1)

It’s been a long hard journey over the past 3 weeks, but totally worth it! First, lets just touch on what we did to try and get the best programming set up for the show.

Austria was first on the list, but in order to get there, the Endurance Traveler path went through Munich. Toby Wadinger is a friend of mine from there and happens to be life-long friend and manager for Faris Al-Sultan. After spending a day wandering the streets of Munich, Faris sat down with me for a great interview that we’ll be posting here on Endurance Traveler in the coming days.

Faris and Me in our interview

Next, we were off to Klagenfurt, Austria for the first of two Ironman events we would be racing and filming at.

My friend and fellow triathlete Meinhard Vintler was gracious enough to have me as a guest at his parents home in St. Michelle about 15 minutes outside the city and at the base of the 10 kilometer climb to the famed Magdalensberg. If, your planning a trip to Klagenfurt, the views cannot be seen any better than this vantage point. It’s also one of the best places to try Kantner Noodle a regional dish.

Me with Meinhards parents

Our first location was the Wörthersee, the lake is this majestic teal, reminiscent of the healing waters of the Havasu in southwestern grand canyon. The Wörthersee ferry system offers visitors a tremendous way to visit all areas of the lake without a vehicle, take in the castles and view all the different architectural influences that have touched the region.

Denis Dal Bianchi (Camera) Eva Windich (Guide) and Me

Second stop was back in the kitchen. As those of you already following production know, we try to hit at least one restaurant per episode. Maria Loretto, is a seafood restaurant serving both saltwater seafood and fish pulled from the Wörthersee itself. Cooking there was great and the meal was delectable. Whats even cooler, was that the restaurant actually sits right on the swim course and is the marker we all swam towards as we headed into the river

Cooking at Maria Loretto

Our next shoot landed us at Burg Hochosterwitz. The castle that is rumored to be Walt Disney’s inspiration for the Cinderellas Castle now famous the world over. Whats even more amazing is the familial history of the Khevenhüller family, owners of the mystical place. They once owned 16 different castles in the modern state of Karinthia, including Castle Feldon, now a Casino hotel located on the Wörthersee’s western banks.

Burg Hochosterwitz Count Kevin Khevenhüller

During our race, we were able to cover two athletes from California, Joe Traba (on my right) and Bill Moore (on my left). Both of these guys are great athletes. For Bill, it was his first attempt at the Ironman distance, while Joe was making his 8th attempt and looking to go sub 11 hours. We’ll follow their day during the show.

Following the race, Monday was our last day of filming and a great one. We went to Hirter Brauerei (Brewery), founded by monks in 1270. As we find with most edible products that have outlasted all the others, one of the key ingredients that makes Hirter unique is the water they use. They one of only a few brewers that use natural un-distilled water to make their 12 different styles of beer. Between the water, no pasteurization and the dual fermentation process are all part of making Hirter beer truly dignified.

Brew master Raimund Linzer and me discussing the fermenters