The Chronicles of Travelling Steve

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Stockholm skärgården

Leaving Nora was incredibly difficult and it wasn't made any better when our first experience in Stockholm was with the crowds and bustle of Central station. We had checked into our hotel, StayAt Bromma and Col and I drove out to drop the car off at the airport. The plan was to meet Ruth and Rhett in town and do a bit of exploring in the afternoon. Having two Central station areas, one for trains(from the airport) one for the S-Bahn(from the hotel) didn't help, neither did the huge and pushy crowds. Why did we ever leave the peace and quiet (and sauna) of Nora?

Luckily Stockholm is an amazing city and soon redeemed itself when we wandered through Gamla Stan(the old town). Gamla Stan is an obvious tourist attraction and we heard a lot more English and other languages than we were used to, but it's such a beautiful city centre with cobble stone streets, tiny twisty alleys and amazing old buildings that you spend more time appreciating the town itself than being worried by overbearing American tourists.

Afternoon light on the shutters in Gamla Stan

One of the many beautiful buildings in Gamla Stan

The hotel was a really good fit for us. It was right on the S-bahn line that led straight into the city and with our Stockholm cards we had unlimited travel on all of the public transport for 72 hours. It had a small kitchenette in each room(we were staying in the business apartments) and wasn't just a room with a large bed in the middle of it. This made things heaps easier with cooking food for Josie and hanging out with Ruth and Rhett in the evenings. We even saved a bit of money by cooking a few meals for ourselves. Stockholm remains a very expensive city to hang out in. We got our first glimpse of the Olympics here in the breakfast room where they had a large flatscreen TV tuned in every morning to the events in Beijing.

The next morning we headed back in to Gamla Stan to see the changing of the guard at the Kungliga Slottet. It was 45 minutes of tourist theatre and nothing more, but it was fun to see the bright blue uniforms and all the crowds of people holding their digital cameras above their heads trying to get a decent photo. Photography sure has changed in the last couple of decades... Actually the highlight of the whole spectacle was one of the horses deciding that he really didn't want his rider any more and rearing up until he fell off. We never did find out what happened to that poor soldier.

Good formation of Swedish soldiers marching by

We walked across the bridge to Södermalm and found a few cool shops, one full of clothes for the girls, and one across the street full of high end audio equipment for the boys! We had some good coffee at the corner shop and then headed for the edge of the island where we had heard of a slow food restaurant that sounded pretty interesting. Unfortunately when we got there they had closed the kitchen for lunch so we headed up the road to another very very fun café that had chai tea and incredible food. It was like a Newtown café transplanted to the seaside in Stockholm and was just the perfect place for us to unwind and spend a few hours chilling out.

Some crackingly good looking folks along the water's edge

On a really high bridge looking back over Stockholm

Skansen is Stockholm's outdoor zoo and historical recreation space and is a great place to hang out for a day in the sunshine. We were getting slightly more sunshine in Stockholm than we'd received in Nora and hadn't had any rain at all, but it still would have been nice if it was actively warm. Skansen has a whole bunch of old craft houses where they still practice woodworking, glass blowing and pottery the way it was done back in the 1600s

Traditional wooden forms still used for blowing glass. Still doing the simplest thing that works.

A beautiful set of woodworking chisels

Some very cute and ferocious bears

Our last big adventure in Stockholm was a ferry ride out in to the skärgården (archipelago) to visit Grinda. We missed our boat to Svartö that morning and so decided on Grinda instead. It turned out to be a fortuitous timing problem as Grinda was just what we needed after a hectic few days in the city. The ferry ride out was on a very comfortable large ferry run by the Waxholms bolaget (company). They've been running ferry services out into the skärgården for the last 150 years and were bang on time at every stop on the way out. And there were a lot of stops, the ferry must have made about 15 before we landed on Grinda out near the edge of the middle part of the archipelago.

Sail regatta in the skärgården

Grinda was a nice size island that had trails over most of it and we managed to find the highest point of the island fairly early on. This gave us an incredible view out over the island and the archipelago and the sun was nice and warm on the rocks so we spent quite a while there just hanging out and soaking up the atmosphere.

Hanging on the highest point of Grinda

We went to the north end of the island after that and managed our first dip in the Baltic for this trip which was quite cold but very worth while. We even had a couple of ducks come up on shore near us to thank us for the showing. Invigorated by the cool clean waters we headed back to the harbour where we had some fairly uninspiring food accompanied by some very, very Euro DJ efforts that of course included ABBA and watched the sun set over the water.

Sparkling reflections as the sun starting sinking

We headed back to the ferry dock to catch our ferry home just as the sun started putting on a real show and thankfully we managed to snap a few photos of the sky going crazy with colour. It was a truly memorable and remarkable day and I think next time we go to Sweden we'll spend more time at Nora and plan to do some island hopping in the archipelago in Stockholm instead of staying on the mainland. There are all sorts of interesting islands with youth hostels, hotels, restaurants and communities to explore and you can get day passes for unlimited archipelago ferry travel which sounds like a great idea to me. Anyone interested in joining in must be into cycling, exploring, appreciating incredible beauty and posing for an endless series of photographs in one of the most amazing places on Earth. Just like the folks I went with this time around! So thanks to the amazing Ruth, Rhett, Josie team and of course my ever lovely wife Col for making the trip to Sweden and Stockholm such a great one. Tack ska ni ha!

Red hot island glowing in the setting sun

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Swedish sauna and sommerstuga sojourn

After having talked their ears off over the years about Sweden and how great it is and how everything cool comes from Sweden (IKEA, the Swedish Chef, Volvo etc...) we finally managed to get all of us on a plane there. This was our only actual vacation that we were taking while we were in Germany, a whole week off and it was a little scary that all of a sudden we were going to be in Sweden and if it turned out to be horrible then it was pretty much all my fault, seeing as how I am the past-president of the Swedish fanclub and it was my idea to go and visit while we were here. It was so close after all, how could we not go?

We landed in Arlanda airport to find some pretty interesting poster work in the arrivals terminal.

Capital of not just Sweden, but Scandinavia too! I wonder if the Norwegians know about this?

We picked up our hire car at the airport. No not a Volvo. It was looking like it was going to be a Toyota at one stage which would have been an absolute tragedy on a fairly cosmic scale, driving a Japanese car while in Sweden, home to Volvo and Saab. Luckily however we got to cruise out of the carpark and onto the highway to Nora in a Skoda Octavia station wagon which was huge and comfortable and fit our needs just perfectly and also happens to come from the Czech Republic. How often are you going to find one of those puppies in Australia or Canada? Hah!

A few hours later and a little(quite a lot actually) shopping at the local Willys saw us arriving on the dock at Nora. Lars arrived soon thereafter in Buster (the scissors boat - it's made by Fiskars!) to greet us and take us across the lake to Alntorps Ö where we were to spend the next couple of days.

Lars, Ruth & Rhett Enjoying a boat ride in Buster

Malou having a great time!

Lars and Malou, our hosts for our sommerstuga adventure and my neighbours in Malmö when I lived there back in 1988/9, were as lovely as always and made everyone feel immediately at home. They have recently bought a new sommerstuga for themselves on the island (the white house sommerstuga is shared with Lars' brother's family) and so are still in the process of getting it set up the way they want. The first thing that they upgraded about the land was to install a brand new sauna which was to become our favourite feature of Nora that week! The new cottage also meant that it wasn't quite set up right for the 5 of us so we spent our nights sleeping at the yellow house next to the minigolf course. The yellow house has been various things over the years, a restaurant, café, hotel, shop and is being renovated to be used as a youth hostel at the moment. They're working from the outside in so it looks lovely from the exterior and still needs a bit of TLC on the inside. We had it all to ourselves though and so Ruth, Rhett and Josie got one room, we got another and we had plenty of room to spread our luggage and stuff around. It also had running hot water, showers and toilets so that was a bonus too!

The yellow house, a place to lay our heads

We spent most of the days with Lars and Malou, chatting, catching up, practising my direly out of date Swedish and visiting Nora across the lake. The evening were spent eating delicious food prepared in the tiny little kitchen(the next big renovation project) and then having a nice strong Danish beer in the sauna.

Contemplating the sauna

The sauna is built right next to the lake with a good wide deck in front of it which provides the luxury of being able to get nice and hot in the sauna, jump in the lake to cool down (rather rapidly as the lake was pretty cold!) and then reenter the sauna to warm up again and repeat the cycle. The addition of Danish Harboe beer didn't hurt the equation at all. For Ruth, Rhett and Col who had previously never liked saunas at all, the Nora method of sauna going was a revelation! There's something uniquely special about the process that leaves you incredibly relaxed and happy at the end with a pleasant buzz all over your skin. We've decided that the first thing we are going to do upon getting back to Canada is source a Swedish sauana and build it down near the dock. You had to walk in to the lake in Nora as it's not very deep but imagine how fun it will be if you can jump in!

We had a fair bit of rain and cool weather while we were in Nora but it didn't dampen our spirits at all and we had a fantastic time there. One particularly cool day we got a tour of the Nora Railways Museum from Lars' brother Hans who is the chairman of the board of the museum. He took us through all of the various buildings that are housing the steam trains and workshops for the museum and all of the trains are still in full working order which is quite amazing. If I'd had a tripod and another 5 days I could have spent my entire trip in that museum taking photos of all the amazing equipment and machinery. You'll just have to be satisfied with this photoset that I took while we were there.

Henry the green engine

Another great adventure was going picking mushrooms with Malou. It was a quiet day for everyone and so Col and I joined Malou in a trip to her favourite chantarelle picking spot to see if we could find anything for dinner. We wandered the forest for hours, finally able to tune our eyes in to the particular shade of yellow that the chantarelles had and figuring out good places that they might be growing. It's only when you spend a lot of time in a forest looking intensely at the ground that you realise just how many different kinds of things are growing there. It's so much more than just the trees. We ended up with a pretty good haul and Col and I are now dedicated "kantarelle plocker" junkies, that's another thing we're going to have to figure out when we get home, is whether chantarelles grow in the forests in B.C....

We had a wonderful time in Nora and couldn't quite figure out why we were leaving when we piled back into the Skoda and set off for Stockholm. But that's another tale which I'll leave for later...

Beautiful Nora

The full photo set from our time in Nora can be found by clicking the title of this post or clicking here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back in Berlin

Another quick weekend trip up to Berlin. This time it was just the two of us and we were determined to get a wider overview of the Berlin we'd only just glimpsed the last time we were there. We had caught the train up on Friday night and were staying at the same hotel in Friedrichshain as last time with the incredible buffet breakfasts. You could take on a whole city on just the goodness contained in the huge array of yums that they laid out for us every morning. We had a reasonably early breakkie as we wanted to get to the Reichstag when it first opened to try and avoid the queues that are usually stretched out the front of tourists trying to get inside to see the heart of the German nation. Sadly we got the timing a little wrong and had to line up with the rest of the rabble for about 45min before being shuffled in.

Volke - the People

The Reichstag has been at the centre of events in Germany for a long time as a very powerful symbol of rule. It was the fire in the Reichstag that helped kick the National Socialist party into power in 1933. The Russian Army raising a flag on top of the Reichstag signified the end of the European theatre of war in WWII. The building was severely damaged in the fighting and has been slowly rebuilt and now has a very cool dome of glass designed by Sir Norman Foster. The dome concentrates the sunlight and funnels it down into a heat pump down in the building which supplies some of the electricity needs for running parliament.

There's a double helix ramp inside that you can walk all the way to the top

We then wandered around the main shopping street in town trying to find some new shoes for me (all I brought to Europe were Blunnies and a pair of sandals) to no avail. We found some really cool shoes by El Naturalista in a store on Friedrichstraße but they didn't quite come in my size (that would be "huge and skinny") so we tracked down their Berlin head office and made our way there, only to find that they didn't make them that big at all. Bummed out a little by our failed shopping endeavours we turned to the next best thing which is food. We'd heard about a cool café in Kreuzberg called Gri Gri that sounded like they had amazing food so we caught the U-Bahn down towards Kreuzberg to try and find it. It turns out that they were doing track work on that section of track so we ended up walking quite a bit further than we expected to along the canals which was actually a pretty cool and interesting thing to do anyway. So thanks Deutsche Bahn for fixing up the track that weekend! Gri Gri was as good as we'd heard and we had a lovely lunch watching the passing parade, which included the strange sight of a white van disgorging it's contents at about 2pm of 4 dudes who were obviously in a band and had slept there next to the canal all night. It must have been a hell of a night and their morning(afternoon) ritual was pretty funny for all the people in the café who were observing.

Some random art on the way through Kreuzberg

From the café we headed back through Kreuzberg on Oranienstraße which turned out to be a real find. The street was packed with really cool shops full of amazing things and every now and again we'd hit a pocket of restaurants from all corners of the globe. We'll definitely be back there for a closer visit in the future. Eventually we found ourselves at the Jewish Museum which was our destination for the afternoon. It was designed by Daniel Libeskind and follows a very unusual floor plan which can be seen on their website. We lost ourselves in the museum for hours and were eventually kicked out at closing time. It was a very very cool building, evoked some pretty strong emotions at times, especially in the Void that holds "Shalechet" (Fallen Leaves). If you were to see any two things relating to the Holocaust in Berlin it would be this museum and the Jewish Memorial Park that we saw on our previous visit.

Fallen Leaves

Pretty worn out by the incredible amount of walking that we'd done we headed back to Friedrichshain for some very delicious Thai food to finish off the evening. The next day after another enormous breakfast we checked out of the hotel and found our way to Alexanderplatz where we were due to start a bike tour of Potsdam with Fat Tire Tours.

Waiting with our Fat Tire cruisers for the train to Potsdam

Potsdam is the palace region just outside Berlin that is often compared to Versailles near Paris. It certainly compares well in terms of sheer opulence but I think Potsdam has the edge when it comes to being bike friendly. Our tour guide Marielle was excellent and it was a nice contrast to the walking tour that we'd done before. We visited the New Palace (which looked pretty old to our colonial eyes), saw Sans Souci (no worries mate) and were generally very grateful for the excellent access and bike paths in and around the parks of Potsdam. Friedrich the Great was a pretty progressive leader and the fact that he built places like the palaces of Potsdam is a pretty nice legacy to leave behind.

A brief chalk history of Germany

The historical highlight for me was the visit to Ceclienhof Palace at the end of the tour. This palace was built in the style of an English hunting lodge and it was where the famous Potsdam Conference was held and the Potsdam Agreement was hammered out between the 3 major powers at the end of WWII to split up the spoils(France was not invited but received the meeting minutes!) . This led to the 4 zones in Germany and eventually to the Berlin Wall being built on 13 August 1961. Stalin had the edge in the negotiations having been present at the previous 3 summits between the UK, USA and Russia when they agreed to become allies. Truman was pretty new to it all and Churchill actually lost the job as Prime Minister of England while this conference was on, so Clement Attlee ended up as the English delegate. It was amazing to see the building just as it was when these leaders of the world were discussing how to carve up Germany. The design of each countries rooms was done to try and make them feel at ease and so there were some interesting touches like pictures of bulldogs and so forth. There's no better place than Europe to get a feeling for history and I feel pretty lucky to have spent so much time here visiting places where such major events took place.

Cecilienhof Palace - venue for the Potsdam Conference

We covered more ground than I expected to and had a very nice lunch at a microbrewery by a lake (excellent hefeweissenbier) and before we knew it we were back on the train to Berlin and from there straight back on the train to Leipzig. Another fantastic weekend away full of adventures, food and history. No new shoes and my feet were pretty unhappy about the pounding they'd received with all that walking on Saturday but it was well worth it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

F-Stop 2008: Leipzig photography exhibition

A weekend where we don't travel out of Leipzig? Who ever heard of such a thing? What will we do with ourselves? No tickets to book, no hotels to compare, no tours to pick between, no getting up early in the morning to catch a train. This calls for something different. Something cultural. Something like F-Stop 2008.

The Spinnerei

We rode down to the south of Leipzig with our friends to an old cotton mill called the Spinnerei. It's a rather large complex of old brick buildings that used to be a bustling centre for trade and manufacture that fell into disrepair and ruin once the bottom fell out of the textile market. It's now a very funky space for artists and small businesses that have moved in and set up shop in the old buildings. Most of the previous fixtures and bits and pieces were left behind and so there's an accretion of stuff behind just about every door.

Some of the cool photos on display

F-Stop is a yearly photography exhibition that is held in Leipzig and is spread over a couple of dozen buildings in both the Spinnerei and up and down Karl Heine Strasse. The photos on display in this year's exhibit were pretty cool, but they were outshone by the buildings that the exhibition was housed in and the photographic opportunities that abounded at every turn. There were so many people toting cameras around the exhibition that I wasn't sure whether it was more fun looking at the photos or looking at the people taking photos of photos or taking photos of people looking at photos. The funniest of all was seeing this really bohemian looking dude with the long dreads, a scruffy bit of facial hair, hemp clothes and bare feet - the real struggling artist/uni student look - wandering around with a $5000 camera and a high end lens probably worth more than the camera. Ironic.

300 - The Locker

To Betty?

Crumbling room, photos of crumbling photos - very post-modern

Monday, July 14, 2008


We spent the weekend in Berlin which was a first for Col, a second for me and about the fourth of fifth time for Ruth & Rhett. Berlin is definitely a city that you want to return to. One of the main reasons is that the next time you're there it will probably be different to the last time. There's so much construction going on. Buildings being torn down, old districts being revitalized, palaces that haven't been around for decades reinvented and built exactly as they would have been. It's a city of renewal both in an architectural and social sense and it's a focus for some of the best and worst things that Germany has been through in the last few centuries. It has a fairly long and involved history that's pretty impressive for a city built on a swamp. Most of what we learned about Berlin came from the excellent Insider Tour that we went on with our guide Mike who was quite possibly the most passionate history buff that I've ever encountered. He loved Berlin and its history with a vengeance and his enthusiasm infected all of us on the tour. If you ever get a chance to visit Berlin and haven't done this tour - you should! Highlights included the Käthe Kollwitz memorial, the building with glass on the outside of stone and the incredible number of buildings that Karl Friedrich Schinkel managed to get built in Berlin during the neoclassical period.

We did a whole lot more in Berlin but none of it very interesting: shopping, eating, wandering around, so I'll have to let the photos do the rest of the talking.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

These are a few of my favourite things

Travelling around Europe gives you a sense of history, you get to see the past in stone (or brick, or marble) and a taste of the different cultures living cheek by jowl on the continent. The other thing it does is give you a chance to visit some of the sets of the most famous movies ever made. One in particular used the locations of a town in Austria to play out its story and it just so happens to be Col's favourite movie of all time. The last guesstimate of viewing based on number of weeks in the summer multiplied by the number of trips out to the lake etc brings her somewhere way over the 100 mark which I don't think I could even get close to on any single movie. Irregardless, the ability to recite the entire movie for every cast member at will only comes after a lot of repeat viewings.

In case you haven't worked it out yet, we spent a four day weekend in Salzburg and were accompanied by Col and Ruth's fine voices singing The Sound of Music (not so ably backed up by me and Rhett). I'd seen it enough (I have a younger sister) that I knew most of the choruses of most of the songs and so they were the constant soundtrack in my head for our time there. Salzburg is actually more famous for another sound of music, that made by Mozart and not by Rodgers and Hammerstein. We managed to see a sum total of zero Mozart related things whilst in Salzburg. That just gives us an excuse to go back, right?

Salzburg on the River Salzach

We stayed at the excellent Strawberry Youth Hostel which was located not far from town and right on the river Salzach so we had a nice stroll along the embankment each morning to start our explorations of various parts of The Sound of Music (SOM). The youth hostel was great as it had a kitchen so we could make our own food, was open 24/7 so no worries about being out too late, all the staff were very friendly and the rooms were very clean and had views over the river.

Late night view from our room

We started out just wandering the streets of the old town (the Alt Stadt is actually a world heritage site) to get our bearings and see if we could do the splash in the fountain from I Have Confidence. Sadly there was construction work around the main square and the fountain was dry and inaccessible. Scratch one re-enactment.

Pretty, but dry

We stumbled across some markets in progress and got ourselves some delicious cherries to munch on. They are quite possibly the best cherries ever grown in the world ever. I'm not a fan of stone fruit by any means but these were just unbelievably good. So good I actually had three of them.

Best. Cherries. Ever.

After wandering through the markets we went up the cliff and walked along to the most dominating part of the landscape, the Festung HohenSalzburg. This castle is perched on a ridge overlooking the town and river and is pretty unassailable as far as these things go. It was built by an archbishop in the 1100s to protect the clergy from opposing forces and grew fairly organically after that. It remains one of the most well preserved fortresses in Europe. It's also a good spot to get a fantastic view over Salzburg and the Nonnberg Abbey (yes, The Abbey).

Some of the towers in the Festung Hohensalzburg

Defender's view of Salzburg

We then descended the hill again to see if we could find Nonnberg Abbey and have a look. It was used for parts of the movie including the wedding and hiding in the cemetary but most of the interior shots were actually on a sound stage set. Even so, it's a very pretty abbey and it was a privilege to be able to walk around the church inside. It's one of those churches that has its own sense of weight and history.

The Abbey tower


Apparently the children sing this song about Do-Re-Mi for about an hour, because that's how long it took us to walk from this bridge to the Mirabell Gardens, both of which are featured in the song.

Mozart's bridge, more famous for having singing children hanging off it

Do-Re-Mi steps

Blurry Do-Re-Mi race re-enactment

With quite enough SOM related visits and scarily bad singing by me at times, we went out to try and find some authentic Austrian fare to fill the empty stomachs that you get after traipsing around medieval towns all day. Now everybody knows that I'm a big fan of schnitzel. There used to be a luncthime every week dedicated to schnitzel in Australia where the food courts were plentiful and the schnitzels always available. I called it Fat Friday. I loved Fridays. Wiener Schnitzels were obviously perfected in Vienna (Wien) and maybe someday I'll get there and sample one. For now Salzburg was the closest place I'd come to schnitzel nirvana (although Germany is very very good, let it be said). We found a cool pub called the Alter Fuchs (Old Fox) with old school wooden furniture and a lovely beer garden out the back and they had a fairly traditional Austrian menu with schnitzel of course and knödel (a sort of large potato dumpling). It was a really welcome respite from pounding the streets in pursuit of all things SOM and we ended up having a really nice evening there with plenty of good beer and wine. The Alter Fuchs is also now the place where I had the best schnitzel ever. Austrians really have mastered the art of this wonderful dish full of crunchy deep fried goodness.

The Schnitzel

On the Sunday we took a bus out to visit Untersberg which is an incredibly picturesque mountain just up the valley from Salzburg. There's a great quote by Maria in SOM talking about it:
Mother, I could never be lost up there.
That's my mountain. I was brought up on it.
It was the mountain that lead me to you.

The visit to the Untersberg is probably the most unexpectedly wonderful part of our trip. We took a cable car up almost 1300m to the top and walked around in a generally breathtaken state for a few hours before the weather started closing in and we wisely made our way back to town. We managed to have an alpine picnic up in a meadow on the side of the trail and it is going down as my most memorable picnic ever. So that's at least three personal bests in one town. Not bad for a single weekend away. The pictures don't do it justice.

Tiny little hiking trail at the bottom of the picture

The hills are alive!

Trails along the ridgeline

Family postcard

The Untersberg is really a magnificent place to go and there's even a hotel up on the side of the hill that would be great to stay at and stage hiking trips from. There were a lot of very fit looking hikers up on the peak with those funky hiking poles that we like making fun of and I think we could find ourselves joining their ranks, given the chance (sans the poles). We didn't make it to the ice caves either which would have required a bit more preparation in terms of food and clothing and probably a guide but it's definitely on the list of things to revisit when we get through our current list of places to go.

Travel, good food, good friends. These are a few of my favourite things.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The big bike ride

Every now and again you get it into your head that you want to try something and even though the logical thing to do is to try it when the conditions are good and you're more likely to enjoy it, sometimes that doesn't happen and you go ahead and do it anyway. And enjoy it more because of the challenges presented by weather, wind and the sheer silliness of it all. So it was with the Big Bike Ride of last week where Jens, Thomas and I rode home from work.

Not really the actual start but a lucky photo!

For some background we normally drive to and from work on the very decent German roads and the spectacularly fun autobahn. The trip is exactly 50km by road and takes us about 40 minutes. This particular Thursday that we rode home came after the hottest day of the year so far at 35°C, was forecast to also be 35°C with afternoon thunder storms. The route we took is a little more direct as we got to utilise the extensive bike path system which took us past some lovely little lakes and through some very soothing green forests. Not quite so exciting and stressful as the autobahn concrete ribbon. All in all the ride was about 40km which is exactly 35km longer than I've ridden for a very long time and probably 25km further than I've ridden since being in Leipzig and riding around to all of the various lakes that we've been to.

The Route

It had been hot and humid all day and the storm clouds were brewing as we left the office. We escaped just before the storm hit Thalheim and managed to stay ahead of the leading edge of the worst of it for about 35km. Of course the leading edge of a thunder storm (and a particularly energetic one) is usually full of strong gusting winds coming from all directions, in this case mostly as a persistent headwind no matter which way we rode.

A storm was a brewing
So maybe it was a silly idea. At least we enjoyed ourselves and managed to see a bit of Germany that most people on the autobahn don't have a clue exists. Maybe next time though without the wind and the thorough soaking from the tropical rain at the end of the ride?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Triple Trabi action

Trabants are the only cars you used to be able to get in the former East Germany. Aside from Ladas I guess. They're basically built from pressed board and baling wire. You don't see too many of them around Leipzig - especially with a Porsche factory and a BMW factory right here. I captured these three huddling together on the street the other day. I guess they feel a little overwhelmed by all the changes and like to stick together.

Triple Trabi Treat