November 29, 2015

Premature New Year's Resolutions

This year we are starting off early with our good resolutions for the New Year because matter-of-factly 2015 has been a year of underachievement with regards to fitness.

Ok, our activity curriculum contained of some hiking, walking and bicycling, but not as much as we had planned to do, because we were partly thrown off the track by health issues, work schedules and, we dare name it: pure and simple laziness.


This is going to change. We did our first 10k run today... and survived. Ok, it is not a marathon, but given our current fitness level we call this an achievement. Let's see where this path will lead us.

November 22, 2015

White Wonders


It's that time of the year again. One can either stay in bed and sleep in or... yes, we did the latter, and went out for a lovely hike through this temporary (?) winter wonderland. 


We didn't have to worry about getting stuck. As a matter of fact winter driving can be a lot of fun, when your car is equipped with 4WD and winter tires.



Every so often we were bombarded by hail and sleet. The hike was steep but the view was well worth the effort.


We found this cross in the fields, braving the elements since its installation in 1908. 


There was no one to be seen in the forest except for us, and a deer. Surprised by the unexpected wildlife encounter we looked at each other. We didn't hear it coming, because the white stuff had cancelled all noise. It was so silent that you could actually hear the snow hit the ground. Back home we thought how nice it would be to have a fireplace... alas that's something you don't get much in modern housing.

November 15, 2015

Strange Encounters in the Forest


Another sunny, albeit somewhat colder day in an unbelievable pleasant November. We decide to do a hike right in front of our doorstep. As usual the first two kilometers are the hardest as we climb approximately 200m before we slowly start a long descent back to our place.


The sun does not have the power to warm up the cool forest, so although we need regular short stops to catch our breath we do not break into sweat. But we have a couple of strange encounters in the forest...

Someone carved a figure into a tree. Must have been there for a few years, but we never noticed it before:

Nature decided to change a tree stump into a dog sculpture:

A very rugged looking free-running hen looking for some food in the leaves. She looked pretty hungry, so we did not try to approach her:

There is always something going on in the black forest!

November 08, 2015

Sunday Weirdness


The rural scenery proves that fall is supposed to be in its last leg of its journey. However the temperature begged to differ. We likely had a new record happening today: an awkward 23.2°C (74°F) on November 8th, 2015.


And the weirdness didn't stop there, we encountered a small herd of coloured sheep along the road, not sure what its purpose was. However, I liked the pink one best.


And the weirdness still went on... it was Sunday and the shops were open. GASP! Businesses in Germany are not free to decide about their business hours. Opening times are restricted to 24/6, and  opening up on Sundays or holidays is VERBOTEN, due to an archaic legislation called Ladenschlussgesetz (shops closing act). There have always been certain regular exceptions such as gas stations or bakeries though.


But finally after loads of discussions with politicians, members of various churches and unions a more recent rule allows businesses nowadays to open their doors on up to 10 Sundays a year.  And we, the people, like it very much (not that politicians would ever care about popular opinion).

Chased by Fog


The previous Sunday afternoon was lovely, the morning fog had gone, and the temperatures had been in the low teens (°C). My pedal powered Townie was that day's weapon of choice.


While riding through the valley it became clear that the fog was never completely gone but lying couching just behind the next hill, getting ready for a new attack.


The air suddenly became humid and cold, the fall colours were fading, and the scenery turned a bit eerie as the white blanket closed in again.

Jurassic encounter

I tried to get away from it but wherever I went, the fog was already there. I was trapped, surrounded by this misty cloak, and getting cold. So, when I came home after a mere twenty km roundtrip I was in serious need of a hot cuppa tea.


***

Vom Nebel gejagt
Nachdem sich vorigen Sonntag der Morgennebel vom Acker gemacht hatte, und die Temperaturen auf angenehme zwölf Grad gestiegen waren, machte ich mich mit meinem Townie Fahrrad auf den Weg. Doch der Nebel war nie ganz verschwunden. Er lag hinter dem nächsten Hügel auf der Lauer und wartete schon auf die nächste Gelegenheit, wieder anzugreifen. Plötzlich wurde die Luft feucht und kalt und der weiße Mantel legte sich wieder über das Tal. Die Farben verblassten und die heitere Herbststimmung änderte sich. Ich versuchte zwar, dem Nebel zu entkommen, aber er kam von allen Seiten. Ich war umzingelt und mir wurde kalt. Also beschloss ich, nach etwa zwanzig Kilometern zurück nach Hause zu radeln, wo eine heiße Tasse Tee auf mich warten würde.

November 01, 2015

Like Peanut Butter and Jelly


When I mounted Rover, my 2008 HD Sportster 883, again for the first time after returning from my epic Canadian road trip, the bike felt light, nimble, and easy to manoeuvre.


Together we climbed familiar hills and meandered through familiar valleys, moving like one. At first it felt a bit weird not to be restrained by luggage and extra weight, not to have to think about directions, and where to stay for the night. I knew exactly what to expect, where to go, and where to return to. And it was good to feel the vibrations of the Harley V-twin.


I really liked the Honda Shadow for my Canada trip, but my Sporty is home. Customised to my needs and wants, we fit together like the proverbial peanut butter and jelly.


The fall foliage still tries to cling to the trees but wind and rain will bring them down eventually. It is time to put the Harley into storage. 


I won't be able to (legally) ride the bike much longer anyway. Two years have flown by, MOT (TÜV) is due on this one, too, and insurance will expire in November.


I doubt that I will be able to take Rover out for another spin this year. But then there's still Alonzo, my orange Vespa GTS300 SuperSport. So, I won't completely be confined to indoors during the winter months, though long working hours and daylight changing time have made the evenings dark sooner. And I don't like riding in the dark.


There might still be the occasional weekend outing. And there will be hiking, walking, running, bicycle riding, spending quality time with my soul mate, and visiting friends and family. So, its all good. Winter can come... I guess.


***

Zwei wie Pech und Schwefel
Als ich das erste Mal nach der Rückkehr von meiner Kanada-Reise wieder auf Rover unterwegs bin,  fühlt sich die 250-kg Harley leicht und zierlich an. Gemeinsam geht es schwungvoll über die altbekannten Hügel und Täler. Hier kenne ich mich aus, brauche mir keine Gedanken über Streckenplanung und Übernachtung zu machen. Auch wenn die Honda Shadow für meinen Road-Trip das perfekte Motorrad war... meine auf mich zugeschnittene Sportster ist eben doch noch was anderes. Wir gehören einfach zusammen. 
Aber wahrscheinlich werde ich meinen Cruiser so langsam einmotten müssen. Die Harley ist TÜV-fällig und außerdem hat sie ein Bruchstrich-Nummernschild. Doch für einen gelegentlichen Ritt wäre ja immer noch Alonzo da, meine Vespa GTS300 SuperSport. Über den Winter werde ich also immer mal wieder auf zwei (motorisierten) Rädern unterwegs sein können, auch wenn Überstunden und Winterzeit die Abende früher verdunkeln. Es gibt ja immer noch die Wochenenden. Außerdem kann man ja auch Wandern, Joggen, Laufen, Rad fahren, Familie und Freunde besuchen und vor allen Dingen Zeit mit dem besten Ehemann von allen verbringen. Alles wird gut. Der Winter kann kommen... denke ich.