Crystal Gauvin, a top five World ranked compound archer, has traveled the world in the past three years in her quest for archery medals and titles. Thankfully, she kept her camera with her, and documented the amazing places she’s visited! Check out Crystal’s perspective on her favorite places to travel for archery:
“I’ve been blessed with many opportunities to travel worldwide to compete in archery. Travel and competition can be stressful and tiring, but when opportunities arise, I find it valuable to leave the field and explore the city/country I’m visiting. Allow me to share a few thoughts on countries I’ve explored during my breaks.
I visited Marrakesh for the first time in 2013, for the Indoor Archery World Cup. Morocco wasn’t what I expected, on and off the field, but it provided many cool opportunities away from the archery venue. It’s also the only place in Africa I’ve visited, so I must include it on my list. When we weren’t shooting, I found many unique things to try. These activities included riding a camel in the desert, watching snake charmers in the city square, haggling with street vendors for “student” pricing, and making friends with trained monkeys.
I live in the Northeast, so the Arizona Cup is one of my favorite tournaments because it lets me escape the snow and cold and enjoy some sun. I might not shoot my best at this tournament, but my body craves the Vitamin D after months of indoors isolation. In addition, the Ben Avery Shooting Facility offers many fun options besides archery. You can shoot guns in a short- or long-range facility, try to hit clay pigeons with a shotgun blast, or spend a day on the field course if you can’t get enough out of your bow. The tournament’s location is great because you can also drive north a bit to check out Sedona and its red rocks, head east to drive along the scenic Apache Trail, or go south toward Phoenix and hike Camelback mountain or simply battle your friends in mini-golf.
Poland’s food wasn’t my favorite, but I enjoyed exploring Wroclaw, the beautiful city that hosted the third Archery World Cup this year. This visit let me see a more traditional European city without the traffic and other negatives associated with large places. Starting in Market Square, you can walk to many highlights, including St. Mary Magdalene Church; the Tumski Bridge, which is much like Paris’ love bridge but smaller; and the Piaskowy (Sand) bridge, which is the oldest preserved water crossing in Wroclaw (it’s painted bright red so you can’t miss it). Also look for the tiny gnomes hidden around the city. At the archery finals’ venue, we were lucky enough to be near the Japanese garden and the Wroclaw Zoo, both worthy visits.
This year, we started our outdoor season in Shanghai, for the first World Cup event of 2015. China is great for tourists, with favorable exchange rates and markets galore. The trip’s highlight for all archers (at least U.S. archers) is visiting the markets and getting great deals on gifts for family and friends. Many visitors do their Christmas shopping here, and I know many archers who bought more luggage just to bring home all their goodies. What can you get at the markets? Purses, golf clubs, tailored suit jackets, flying frozen dolls, noise-canceling headphones, NFL jerseys with your name on them, and so much more!
I was super excited when I qualified for my first World Cup Final this year – something that is not easy to do! Luckily, Mexico City hosted this beautiful event, and I was in for a treat – for me, Mexico is all about the food! Real Mexican food, fresh limes, picante salsa (hot sauce), and real fruit ice cream make me a happy camper. I’d be lying, though, if I said I didn’t enjoy the historical tour I took. We saw an opera house, boarding school and some impressive artwork. Much like Morocco, street performers are an added bonus. Plus, the residents are as great as the food. They’re friendly and hospitable, making you want to return.
I had the chance to visit Italy for a smaller tournament between trips earlier this year. Much like Mexico, I loved Italy for its food and culture. Who doesn’t love pizza, pasta and gelato? You also get to experience a country contained inside another one, so what’s not to enjoy? For those unfamiliar with San Marino, this country is surrounded by Italy, so it’s a “country within a country.”