Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Day II: Riding a bicycle in inclement weather (AND meeting an old friend from my army days)

Yesterday I walked over to my pseudo aunt and uncle.  The half-hour walk left me semi-exhausted.  I hope I can blame it on having spent the night before in a plane and don't have to consider old age as a reason!
The July 2013 lock on that same bicycle.

While I was there I picked up a bicycle.  Yes, the same bicycle that went on a riverboat cruise in July of 2013 ;-). It has been waiting for 1.5 years here for me. Of course, my uncle placed the lock on the bicycle but could not remember where he put the key. So it is time for the tree clippers AGAIN.  And just like the city employees in Bad Godesberg on July 15, 2013, my uncle does not believe at first that his garden tools will cut the lock, but after 5 minutes of work he has become a believer.  Later in the day I buy a new bicycle lock that does not consist of individual metal strands.  If I loose the keys now, I'll have to call a welder or a locksmith ;-(

At 4 am there is nothing that can hold me in bed.

 Breakfast is served at 6 am and the breakfast room is BUSY.  The owners or operators of this hotel seem to be Korean, so there is a little bit of Asian breakfast stuff, a lot of German and English breakfast staples, and I am happy to also see OLIVES. Turkish immigration has had a positive effect on German breakfast tables ;-)

Yesterday's sunny skies have been replaced by grey skies with fast moving low clouds, which will emit white frozen water crystals when I head to the grocery store at 9 am.  

I realize that when I locked the bicycle in the hotel's basement yesterday evening, I must have taken my gloves off and left them there, because they are nowhere to be found in my room.  Unfortunately they are not next to my bike either. Ah well. Someone without gloves and with a purchasing power less than mine now has warm fingers.  I find new gloves in the local Dollar-Store for 4 Euros.

The plan for this evening is to meet Uwe, a friend I met when suffering my mandatory time in the German army in 1986.  I can't even remember when I met him last; maybe 15 years ago?  I sleep again from 11 am to 2 pm to increase the chances of being awake in the afternoon and evening.

Yes, I know. I own many different bicycles. But they get used!

It is already dark when at 5 pm I don my arctic outfit and jump on the bicycle.for a ride to the local train station.

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

I meet Uwe in the banking quarter; I recognize him from his gait across a large square! We decide not to tour the Weihnachtsmarkt but to head to an Indian Restaurant (The Ivory Club). The Chicken Tika is yummy but the Riesling is even better!  

During dinner I describe Vancouver as a place where too many people drive a Porsche Cayenne. Noticing a slight twitch in his face, I tone it down by saying "I should be careful who I complain about before I see your car, which might be a Porsche Cayenne!"  Uwe quickly shakes his head and says "No Cayenne!".
I have to laugh hard when I squeeze myself into his VERY NICE Porsche Targa 4S. I have no desire to drive one myself but must admit that being driven in one is fun.  
Especially when going 200 km/h on the Autobahn (No, I'm not kidding!)
The Porsche takes us to Uwe's home to meet his wife Uta and their two sons.

The Downside:
Whenever I have a grandiose time with friends, whether I have seen them just yesterday or not for 15 years, I never have any pictures to show for it. Not only does one not think about taking pictures when having fun, it would also be a semi-rude thing to interrupt the fun to take those pictures. So, No pictures of Uwe, Uta, the kids, or the Porsche.  I will have to come back here soon and have a 5 minute photo session before things get fun ;-)

At 11 pm, Uwe drives me back to Walldorf train station. My bicycle is still there and after Good-Byes I cycle back to the hotel.

I try to finish watching The Hobbit on Netflix but I have to admit defeat and collapse onto my bed.

The world is not in your books and maps. It's OUT THERE!  Gandalf

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