Dam! Time to Zip and Shake!

There is a lot to do in the Harz region, regardless of the season you choose to visit. For the winter sports fans, this is of course one of the recommended areas for traditional skiing and cross-country skiing. The Harz in summer is a haven for cyclists, runners, hikers and general outdoors fans. The beauty of being there is that you are not confined to a single activity, and thanks to globalisation, adventure sports has made its way to some of the dams, like the Rappebodetalsperre (Rappbode Dam). When you first read about the road trips to the various dams…

Down From The Hill

For all the Ateneans reading this, I am aware this is a reference to our Alma Matter, which been very much on my mind lately. “Down from the hill, down to the world go I; rememb’ring still, how the bright Blue Eagles fly. Through joys and tears, through the laughing years, we sing our battle song…” It has been five weeks to the day that I had my rendezvous with a parachute and the wind and fractured my shoulder. A weaker, cowardly, frail, and self-pitying person would have remained at home, on the safety of a couch, and healed. It…

The Weavers of Darjeeling

The preservation and sometimes restoration of old print photographs is important to me, not just because it is a way of keeping in touch with my past, but there are some veritable treasures in those old archives. One of the first trips I took in India without my family was to the tea plantations in Darjeeling. It was my privilege to be invited along by a German nun (may she rest in peace) who was visiting a convent in the area, so I said Yes! and never regretted it. One of the projects the convent supported was the displaced widows…

The Unkindness of Strangers

I travelled from Höxter back to Berlin on Saturday, taking the bus from Hannover onwards. It was more difficult than I anticipated, having to navigate the crowded station with luggage one-handed. I usually have a sling pouch in addition to a backpack on me, and it is no problem. This time, since I am under doctors orders not to burden the neck or shoulder any further, I piled the pack onto the suitcase and rolled around. Then I needed to use the facilities, which was a major complication. It was difficult enough to do so in the hotel or training…

Air Adventure 5: Silver Linings

Spending the day in pain and my arm in a sling was not how I had envisioned my birthday yesterday, but that is how the cookie crumbled. After the medical debacle on Tuesday, flying and participating in any of the outdoor activities that involved paragliding per se were out of the question. It was a good thing I packed my camera equipment, because I became the group photographer instead, which is not a bad thing. It was certainly my first time to photograph paragliders in action, and also the first time to shoot one-handed with the left hand! It was…

Air Adventure 4: Rendezvous with Destiny (aka a visit to the hospital)

I have never blogged one-handed before, but then again, this is the first time I fractured my shoulder! The paragliding adventure continues, as did the lousy weather. It was almost wintery this morning with 9C as we hit the training grounds by 8:00am. The winds were still strong, which would not have bothered more experienced paraglider in the least, but for beginners, doing the first flight was out of the question… again. But, after a full day of lecture yesterday we were sent out to do more ground handling work with the canopies and harnesses. During the morning session I…

Air Adventure 3: Still Grounded

Sadly, we are still grounded and it feels more like winter than summer no thanks to the cold front currently passing through Central Europe. I woke up this morning to 11c and not a ray of sunshine to be seen. I thought I was doing myself a favour by switching to the lighter fleece jacket but the wind blew right through me to rattle my bones. Like I wrote yesterday, the wind is our master and commander around here, and there is nothing we can do about it. So we had more theory, which is not a bad thing because…