Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kristen's visit!

One of my oldest friends, Kristen, is visiting us this weekend, from her home in Paris. Kristen and I met on our very first day as 17 year old Navy Midshipman, on our way to the Australian Defence Force Academy. We have been firm friends ever since. We traveled to Peru and Uruguay together when we were 18; we went to the same law school in Sydney (she was the year ahead of me); and it turns out that not only do we both live (and love) living in Europe, but we will both be beginning our Masters of Laws degrees in our respective countries (Kristen in France- in French! and me in Germany- in German!) We are obviously very alike with our interests and pursuits.
So, in honor of Kristen's visit, I wanted to do something fun with her, that would show her the sights and sounds of the sweet town we live in. I booked us to do a canoe ride through the canals of our town. Now, I must add that for the last two weeks, we have been having wonderfully warm, some would say hot, weather here in Germany. The day Kristen arrives, the weather turns and we get an overcast sky and rain. Not to worry, we are ex-military girls; we decided to power through the rain and still go canoeing!
After a short explanation of how to use the paddles, we hopped into one of these canoes and set off. I had actually never done of these canoe trips through town before, so I thought it might be a lovely little trip through the old town and past the flower boxes and so forth- it turned out to be a little longer!!
It was a good thing that the canoe leaders had some disposable rain ponchos for us to wear. Don't we look so stylish in these ponchos?
I asked Kristen whether these Crocs were all the rage in elegant Paris...
Although it sprinkled for most of the canoe ride, it was still enjoyable and interesting to see how the river ran through our town and explore sights that one would not normally see from the road. We had some "interactive" events, such as getting out of the canoe at one point, so that the leader could navigate it through this lock:
We also had to duck our heads and "make ourselves really small" at the "guillotine." I translated what the leader wanted us to do, to Kristen, and I said "I don't know what this guillotine is that he is talking about." Sure enough, it looked like a giant guillotine and seriously, if we hadn't of ducked really low, it probably would have hurt us- chopped our heads off? I don't know. I obviously didn't risk the latter by attempting a picture. Sorry ;-) After we went "through" the guillotine (with our heads still intact- seriously, what would happen if someone didn't duck there heads? I shudder to think), anyway, we ended up in the main river, the Neckar River. By this stage, I was getting a decent arm workout from the paddling. So I swapped with Kristen at the halfway point ;-) Here we are waiting for another set of locks to open and close:
Check out these massive "doors"!
It really was quite cool, to see the water gush in once the doors were closed, in order to equalize the water in our "holding area" with the rest of the river that we were going to paddle into. (Side note: by this stage, the hood on my cheapo poncho won't stay up and my hair is plastered to my face. It was a funny sight.) Here you can see the water gushing in.
We paddled through one more "mini-guillotine" before the tour ended. I was able to get my camera out quickly and then duck before this one. It wasn't as low/ as scary as the first one! (The first one had a metal edge that looked like a knife blade; this one, as you can see is only made of wood).
We then headed home to meet sweet Zev for a homecooked dinner on our balcony. Our flowers have blossomed in time for our visitors. Today, our friends Lisa and Jim (also friends with Kristen) arrive from Australia. The are only staying one night. And then on Thursday (I am SO excited!), the lovely Leslie arrives from Louisiana!
Until the next "installment" on Zev and Fi! Have a good week, God bless and be safe.

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