Sunday, August 7, 2011

What am I thinking?

In my 40th year, I started mountain biking. Sure, I ride around town for extended trips too but the real fun comes in the mountains.

I've always been attracted to adventure in different forms. With mountain biking, there's something so exciting about not knowing what's around the corner while picking up speed. But there's also an inherent danger. I've been on two trips where riders, more advanced than I, have been thrown over the front of the handle-bars: one breaking her vertebrae, the other breaking his collarbone down the pictured descent (below). While I've had a couple of minor crashes, I've also had a couple of close calls where I could have been hurt.

Also with mountain biking come the mountains, with mountains come mountain lions and bears. I may sound paranoid but when trails have signs posted making you aware of the possibility, the thought doesn't easily leave your mind. Although, there's something to be said for safety in numbers when going with a group.

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to be able to go on several group trips. This summer, I've found it harder to make time and harder to get up early when I do. So, I've gone on a few trips by myself. I still thoroughly enjoy the adventure but have a bit of uneasiness along for the ride. It has me wondering, "what are you thinking"?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse

Addiction is tragic. Of course there is personal responsibility but I can only imagine what it must be like to crave/need a substance over anything or anybody. We don't know her struggles, we don't know her pain. Addiction is a waste. And for Amy, a death of what could have been...
Amy Winehouse, You Know I'm No Good

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not quite the same

Since returning from vacation two weeks ago, I have not been motivated to workout. I did manage to make it to the treadmill tonight but all I could think about was my last run which was on the streets of Prague at sunrise. Facing the wall under florescent lights while a TV flickers in the corner doesn't quite feel the same.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Hamburglar stole my photos!

I had this here '96 Chevy of a blog populated with photos...nothin' fancy but they were MY photos. Google+ came along disguised as a shiny new toy and allowed me to, unknowingly, delete the albums from the source site. Yep, it's all connected like an inbred cousin.

NOTE: I realize there is no connection between the Hamburglar, Chevys and kissing cousins but I'm irritated so no matter...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

European snippets 2

Prague - Awake at the very first hint of morning light, I took photos of the sunrise and the moon sliver from my 7th floor hotel room. Ready to seize the moment, I also went for a morning jog. What a perfectly amazing morning.

It is with regret, the one place I wanted to spend more time photographing was the Charles Bridge. While in the area, I had to find a water closet then was distracted by all of the other beauties. Prague is one of the few cities in Europe not damaged from World War II. In awe of the unique and ancient architecture, I snapped photos like a crazy woman during the guided tour and in my free time.

After a gorgeous and unbelievable day, the last night in Prague, an unexpected display of fireworks outside my hotel window dazzled me. I didn't know the occasion, I only savored the moment.

Vienna - on the bus ride from Prague to Vienna, we passed fields of white poppies. Apparently, Austria used to harvest many varieties of poppy seeds, as it is a popular ingredient in their pastries. But all other varieties have been outlawed due to the high (cocaine) content.

I also learned Austria is one of the top environmentally clean countries. Next to the poppy fields, were rows and rows of wind turbines. Also, the majority of food is organic and from local producers. To further their sustainability, the area is known as "bicycle country". Unrelated, Austria also loves dogs and are a large part of the culture. In fact, you can check-in to a hotel with a dog more easily and cheaply than you can a child. Vienna is also the city of coffee houses, ice cream, parks, beer/wine and water from the Alps. I knew I would love this place!

Let the city tour begin! Around every corner, I was captivated. "Oh Wow!" was about the only thing I said for hours on end.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

European snippets

Munich - My first "wow" moment was landing at the Munich airport to see the Alps to the west.

My flight arrived at 7:30 a.m., I checked into the airport hotel and headed into town on the train. After a 45-minute ride, I made a quick stop in the subway restroom which was quite unpleasant and almost made me sick. Rushing up the stairs for fresh air, I turned and, "oh...WOW!" I don't know what I expected to see but right in front of me was the Glockenspiel, a very large, dark gothic (or baroque, I've already forgotten my art history terms) structure lined with stone sculpture and red flowers. Ahhh...this is what I love about Europe, such beauty in the old architecture. But the element that drew crowds, with cameras aimed high, were the little figurines that spun, as if to dance, to the whimsical music.  Oddly enough, the Glockenspiel was one of the attractions I didn't really "need" to see but so glad to have stumbled upon it.

Nuremberg - Perhaps I've watched too many episodes of Rick Steves but I simply must use the words "quaint little village". I suppose the City is really not that little but the old town was so charming. After viewing the named "Beautiful Fountain" in the square, I ventured to the castle up the hill. So many wonderful photo opportunities and found another "wow" moment when, arriving at the top of the castle to view out over the city with red rooftops just as I'd seen in travel photos.

Prague - Having checked in, my experiences have not yet been written. While waiting for the group dinner, I take advantage of the complimentary internet service to write this little snippet.

At the restaurant, we'll start with a welcome drink called 'Becherovka', the national drink once used solely for stomach ailments, and supposedly "tastes like Christmas". For the meal, 'Halusky' will be served, a traditional dish of ham, potatoes and cabbage, followed by roast chicken, a pork kabob and potatoes. For dessert, a glass of champagne and pancakes filled with fruit, ice cream and whipped cream will round off the meal. And if unlimited beer and wine was not enough entertainment, there will also be live folk music played with traditional instruments and costume dancing.

UPDATE: I've returned from dinner. May I just say that was one of the most fun evenings I've had, maybe, ever! On the bus ride over, the Tour Direction mentioned "you must do everything they ask whether it is singing or dancing the funky chicken. (This was an "oh, crap" moment. I do not do group interactives well.) Tip: Beware of the woman with the wooden spoon.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A special occasion

By today's end, I will have received a haircut, pedicure, manicure, lip wax, new clothes and exercise. Wedding? No. Graduation? No. Regular maintenance? No. Vacation! Granted, some of these things I do try to keep up with on a regular basis but there's something special about feeling your best while vacation.