Tuesday 29 August 2006

Off to Germany

Friends of mine, Birger and Josi got married on the 19th August, so we decided to take a little trip to Germany.

It was a very nice wedding, especially the games. In Germany it is customary to have games throughout the wedding day. For example the couple has to cut a log of wood with a two-man saw to prove they can work as a team. There is also the custom of stealing the bride. The uncle and cousin of the bride dressed up as Mafia bosses, came into the party, tied up the groom and kidnapped the bride. Half an hour later, the groom was released and had to find his bride, who was taken to numerous bars around the village. On and on it goes ... what a fun night.

Just to prove that my hair still hasn't gotten better...

After the wedding we went to my old university town, Rostock, where we stopped at Marco's place, an old friend of mine from uni. We did some sight-seeing and went to see the Baltic Sea in Warnemuende. In the evening I met up with some more friends from uni to catch up on old times.

On the next day we went to my parents' place in Feldberg. It is a gorgeous area surrounded by lakes and lots of green.

We spent most of our time lounging and kayaking. Then we went back towards Hamburg, where our plane would leave the next day. On our way, we visited Luebek, a beautiful little Hanseatic town in North Germany, where they make the best marzipan in the world. We met up with my sister and then went on to go water-skiing not too far away from Luebek. Our muscles were hurting terribly afterwards. We are, after all, sad city dwellers ...

The next morning we had breakfast with Trulli and she saw us off to catch the plane.

Tuesday 15 August 2006

The Isle of Wight

Kate and I decided to do a cycling trip for our summer vacation, so the first thing was: get a bike!

And that's the bike, a wonderful construction from a bicycle design from the turn of the century - not the recent one, the one before!

So we took off, and took the train to Portsmouth and the ferry from Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde, where we had our first little B&B.

On the first day we rode to Bembridge and visited an old windmill, passing picturesque little churches on the way.

We got all the way to Sandown and went to the pikey games arcades that evening on the pier. The next day we took a little ride, just to find out a little later that I had punctured my rear tyre. Of course, the puncture repair kit was at the B&B, so we had to push the bike back. After hours of trying to fix the tyre and realising that it had multiple holes, we finally managed to fix it, but ran out of patches. We managed to find a bike shop, in the middle of the island on a farm, and just to be safe we bought another couple of tyres and a new patching kit.

On the next day we walked down the coast to Shanklin. The walk was gorgeous, and we visited Shanklin Chine, a garden built into the cliff side.

On the following day we cycled to Godshill, visited a miniature village, and had a delicious cream tea in a cafe with a beautiful garden.

And too much clotted cream makes your beard curl:

We then went further inland through beautiful fields and gorgeous weather to a little farm cottage in the middle of nowhere.

Our next destination was Blackgang Chine, a cliff side theme park. After that we cycled down to the coast and saw St Catherine's lighthouse.

On we went to Freshwater, where we finished the day with a sunset dinner right next to the sea. The next day we went on a boat out to see "The Needles", an outcrop of rock on the coast.

We also saw the rocket testing grounds that used to be there. In the evening, we wandered around looking for dinner, and found this little hotel that offered three course dinner, and we went in not knowing what to expect. We were seated in a bar adjacent to a gorgeous garden, where we were told to either turn off our mobile phones or leave them with reception, to avoid disturbing the dining experience. We had yummy appetisers while we looked at the menu and then followed the best meal of the holiday!

Onwards to Yarmouth, and we slept in the old Post Office, converted into a B&B, then on to Cowes, where they have a yearly regatta. That was our last day, and then we cycled back to Ryde to get the ferry, finally having a couple of pints at a pub where they allowed dogs, but not children! Then it was back to the mainland and back to work ;0(