24 June 2013

The wheels on the bike go round and round

In Texas it seems that everyone I know is looking for some way or another to lose weight, yet I feel that if I suggested going out one afternoon and biking 30km no one would be interested. More importantly, we don't have the infrastructure set up - bike paths, drivers aware of bicyclists, signs marking bike routes etc.
But in Germany, the interest and infrastructure are vastly different. The area is full of marked bike routes and one can ride safely in many places. PLUS going for a ride is an activity for all, young and old. It's truly enjoyable.
My friends / colleagues who are responsible for the exchange on this end, organized a bike ride for one of the afternoons we had free from the students. We started out in Unterechlingen, rode in the direction of Unterfallheim, towards Bühl, through Leiphim and around back to our starting point. Wile we don't have an exact calculation of the distance, we estimate it to be about 30km.
The weather was perfect for a ride. It was cool, but not cold. The sun peaked out of the clouds occasionally, but never so much that one worried about being burned. The area we rode through was beautiful and full of history. We rode past historic buildings including a monastery, the (now patched up) hole in a wall where some of Napoleon's men were shot, a castle and more. Sometimes our path was the bed of the forest, other times it was pebbles and still other times paved. We rode alongside the Danube, on city streets, through the forest, under the Autobahn, over the Danube, over the Autobahn and even on a bike path along side the Autobahn.

During our journey, we took one short (15 min) break, to rest our legs and eat apples. We only went the wrong way once...and it must be said the map and the signs didn't really match!
At the end of our ride, about 4km from our end point, we stopped at a Biergarten for dinner. It was a Biergarten that was clearly established for bicyclists. The name was "Radler Tankstelle", a name that basically translates to bicyclist gas station. It was set up with plenty of parking and very comfortable chairs to sit and relax in. After the filling meal there, it was a good thing we had only 4 more km to go before our ride was complete. It was really a great way to spend an afternoon.

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20 June 2013

Like a fish

Germany in June is typically a cool escape from the Texas heat. However this year no respite has been found. It has been hot and humid, sticky and uncomfortable. It's been so hot that our partner school has actually had shortened days due to the heat!
(Just take a moment and imagine if we had that in Texas...)
As its been so hot, it's been perfect weather for swimming. Two days ago I went with my host colleague and her two daughters (aged 8 and 4). We went to a nearby lake. The lake was not too big, but certainly not too small. The water was crystal clear and do refreshing. It was cold at first, but felt great once one was in. The 8 year old had a swim noodle and quickly I became her horse. It was fun to play with her in the water. Then she challenged me to swim across the lake. It must be admitted that I cannot say no to a challenge! I swam across, the water was even colder and clearer in the middle of the lake. I saw huge reeds growing from the deep. I could not have had a more perfect afternoon of swimming.
Yesterday I went to another lake with my two partner teachers. It was a much bigger lake and many more people were there. It was lovely to swim in as well, but not as gold and not as clear. I must admit I missed having an 8 year old to play with - swimming alone is not as much fun! Then connected to the lake was an area known as the beach. There was a small cafe where we had dinner. I got some sun and again enjoyed the day. Swimming in a lake trumps a pool any day!

I must also say that perhaps it was embarrassing to be seen with me as I had on a one-piece suit and here only little kids and really older ladies wear them! My bikini is packed in a moving box....

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Location:Günzburg, Germany

14 June 2013

This is my new home

I didn't post this one before because I didn't share this trip with many until I made the big decision to move here....and then I got so busy I never got to write this post.

This is my new home. I was so amazed by the beauty of the rocks and all the colors.

Colorado Springs has so much to offer by way of nature. Pikes Peak, Manitou Falls and more. My trip was a short weekend with the purpose of deciding if I wanted to accept the job and finding a place to live.

The first day was 110% consumed with that. Although I did find a good coffee shop in Old Colorado City (a great cultural district of The Springs). The second (and final day) there, I woke up early and went out to Garden of the Gods. It was majestic:

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Location:Colorado Springs, CO