Posts Tagged ‘elbe


Back on the mountain bike again and it feels great

Ian back on the bikeIt felt so good to be on the bike again – my real bike, not my daughter’s and definitely not the one that replaced the one that split in two as I was crossing the road last year – that I rode 45km along the Elbe just because.

Tuesday it will be three months since my ski injury, and only three weeks ago the physiotherapist at rehab said to me in a gentle, roundabout kind of way that my goal of getting back on the mountain bike would have to wait.

“I think we all knew that riding again by the end of your time here wasn’t going to be,” she said, “but I think by the end of the year you’ll be ready.”

The end of the year?  Another seven months of taking the bus?  I went home feeling despondent.  I was making progress on getting the knee to bend more and more, so why such a long, drawn-out recovery?  Maybe she was just trying to make sure I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high for a quick return to full range of motion.

By some scheduling quirk they assigned me a different physiotherapist the next week.  She’s no better than the first one, but somehow she stretched me out one day so much, it made all the difference.

That same afternoon – the Friday of week three – I got up on the exercise bike, the real one, the one with the real crank and not the one you adjust shorter for those with limited flexibility – and gave it a turn.  And another.  And another.  I could not believe it.  It felt tight at the top of the circle, but I could do it just fine.  I was so happy, I wanted to scream with joy.  It was like climbing to the top of a ridge when you’re heading for the summit and taking in an incredible view knowing that you’re finally over the first big push.  I clenched my fists, bowed my head,  wanted to scream but couldn’t, so it just happened – a gush of tears.  I could not hold them back.  I was so happy, so incredibly overjoyed at once again proving to myself my leg was going to get better enough to allow me to do this simple task once again.  I tried to hide it by swiping my towel, taking in deep breaths, but it didn’t work.  It was like a release from weeks of frustration and doubt.

I looked over to my right to the desk at the corner of the gym and there she was, the physio who only two hours before had had both my legs stretched out on the table saying, “Gee, you’re really doing this well.”

I wiped off my face and walked over to where she was sitting, leaned over and said as sincerely as I could, “thank you! Thank you!  Thank you!”  She didn’t know what I meant, but I pointed over to the bike and said, “over there, the bike – I can do it!”

I led her over and got back on and showed her, thanked her again, and kept on it for another 20 minutes.

Yesterday, after practising in the  meantime on my daughter’s bike, and the dreaded split-in-two bike, I took out my bike – the one I watched them build from scratch – and took it for a spin.  The right thigh might still resemble a sausage with a slice down one end, but it bends and is getting stronger.  It feels great.


Forgotten moment of joy

This week I’m a straw-widow.**  Or widower, more like it.

Wife K and the red-haired girl have taken off to Turkey for a week’s short holiday.  Missing them both, I’ve been looking at old home movies shot on our sturdy old Hi-8 camcorder.

It’s been fun testing out an analog-to-digital converter a friend lent me, and at the same time re-discovering clips I hadn’t seen in a dozen years.

Here’s one tiny moment of joy I’d completely forgotten:

That girl and I are still playing together.

If we have time when they get back, we’ll make one showing what we’ve been practicing lately.

**A direct translation of the German term Strohwitwe(r), which you become when your spouse is away for a while.


A Hamburg weekend

If you’re going to be meeting me and a few other bloggers in Hamburg the weekend of Sept 10 – 12, this post is for you.   These photos will illustrate some of the details I’ll be posting on our little forum site.

For the Friday side trip with Umlauts, go to the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof and look for this view:

If you’re standing right here, turn around and you’ll see a huge Burger King sign.   We’ll meet there!

Do resist the urge to indulge as you wait for others to arrive, as we’ll be having lunch in Umlautsville.

Personal anecdote: the first time I was at the Hamburg central station, my wife-to-be and I almost tripped over some junkies shooting up in a corner just outside.  The place has been cleaned up a bit since then.

Skipping to Saturday afternoon, I’ll be posting a raft of nautical options to enjoy after lunch.  Beside, on, or under the Elbe – your choice.

Bonus flashback look at winter on the Elbe, as seen from the upper deck of one of these ferries:

OH!  That reminds me.  A blogger in Alabama kayaking (!) through the Panama Canal a while back thought of me when she saw that very ship – or one in its fleet – sailing through that busy ditch.  Here’s what she posted on her blog:

Double-secret-special-bonus photo of the bar That Queer Expatriate and I were forbidden to enter, probably because we weren’t dressed for it:

I guarantee you the best view of the entire harbour through those huge, tall windows at the top, but if you go, make sure you’re clothed in a little better attire than just jeans and t-shirt.  If not, walk straight in like you own the place and head for the windows just to get a glimpse before they throw you out.  It’s worth it.

And finally, the Sunday breakfast/brunch thing:  We’ll catch a boat on the Alster to get to the restaurant. This way you’ll have covered Hamburg’s two great natural attractions – the Elbe and the Alster.  We’ll meet at the foot of the big wooden quay on the southeast corner of the Binnenalster.  The end of the quay looks like this:

Please remember to wave to man standing guard as you float by:


When life is one long tunnel, keep going

Today’s photo:

The old tunnel under the Elbe, which you can still drive through if you put your car into probably the biggest elevator you’ve every seen.  Some great shots of the tunnel you can also find here on a blog called deputydog – a favourite drop into my bloglines RSS reader.

The banner photograph shows the town of Britannia Beach, BC, Canada, where I grew up. It's home. But I don't live there anymore.

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