Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This one´s for you, Karen

Dear Karen,

It was wonderful talking with you last night! I loved hearing that sweet Louisiana accent again. Reminiscing about our running days brought back so many fond memories. I loved training with you, Jamie, Natalie, and Lauren. Didn´t we have fun running the New Orleans Half Marathon!? I thought I would "take" you on my run this morning, to share what running is like during winter here. I gotta say, although I appreciated the warmth and convenience of running in Louisiana in the winter (one doesn´t need to wear nearly as many layers for example), I really appreciate the beauty and excitement of running in the snow here in Germany. Wish you were here... 
Yes, the outfit above is for one person. Me.
Getting started is the hardest part. Especially when it is cold and snowy outside. This hill is my first "obstacle." In winter, I usually walk up it. Can you see the snow truck at the top? He is removing the snow from the pathway and laying down gravel so people like me don´t fall flat on their face as they navigate through the snow. As I passed him, he kind of gave me a look that said "I´m being paid to be out here. Why on earth are you out running!?" Instead, he said "Guten Morgen."
THIS is why I run on snowy days like today. I wish you could feel and smell how refreshing and beautiful it is from the top of the hill. I have named this particular run, about a 3 mile loop, my "Enchancted Forest" run. Zev and I have named all of our "runs." His favorite is "Dive Shop Extended." We sound crazy, I know.
Off we go! (Note: Great music is key to running by yourself in winter. And summer. And any old time, really).
Ah the view. Good music, good view. Almost forget I am running...
My "Enchanted Forest Run" follows the same path as the "9 Water Wells" walk, which is popular among the Germans, who like to walk in summer and the fall. I pass about 6 of the wells on my run.
I love this part of the Enchanted Forest Run. (You´ll soon see why I have named it Enchanted Forest.) In this particular section, I run by little huts and garden plots, which aren´t inhabited, but rather used to garden and grow all sorts of produce in the spring and to have parties in during the summer!
The locals seem to love coming to these little huts on weekends during the summer.
Welcome to my Special Spot. This is the Enchanted Forest. Right behind our house. Can you see a fallen tree in the middle? I love coming here in the summer or fall and lying across that fallen tree.
I just look up into the canopy of trees, I close my eyes and listen to the creek.
I love to come here. I brought another Louisiana girlfriend, Leslie, here when she visited us in the summer. I loved running with her and showing her my special run!
I wanted to give you a 360 degree view of where I was standing. If you listen carefully, you will hear the water in the creek burbling away in the background. I moved the camera around a little too fast as I was recording it. Hope you don´t get a headache watching it.
I have my little "favorite" things that I like to pass on the way home. Like this Interstate sign from Nevada. It sort of provides a comforting reminder of home when I pass it. Not that I have ever lived in Nevada.
I know that I don´t have long to go until I get home, when I pass this house. Isn´t it adorable? Can you see the pot hanging on the second floor balcony? The art work on the front is really well maintained.
Either I must really time my runs well, or the buses come very often. Either way, the bus drivers know me as I catch the bus (and train) ever day to go to university. They wave and smile when when they drive past. I, in turn, do my part and make it look like I find running up the hill a breeze. Don´t worry, I slow down once they pass by.
I planned to find a picture of us running, but came across this picture of you at your crowning as a Duchess, first. I thought it was a good way to end this blog entry. Such good memories! I miss Louisiana!!
Thank you for the wonderful advice on my thesis research area. It was a pleasure catching up.
Happy New Year!
Your friend, Fiona xo

Monday, December 20, 2010

Esslinger Fackelzug

Last night was the annual Esslinger Fackelzug at our "local" fortress.
The Fackelzug is a torch lit procession from the Esslinger Altstadt, where the Medieval and Christmas markets are held, up to the Burg. 
There is a quite a "Medieval" community in our local town. Lots of dreadlocks and alternative looking woolen/ tie dyed clothing. I think we saw most of our "Medieval" people at the Fackelzug last night ;-)
It was fun to watch the torch lit procession walk from the Altstadt up to the Burg, along the ancient cobblestoned walkway. (You can see the lights at the foot of the vineyards.)
There were medieval musicians and fire dancers.
(Doesn´t Zev take great pictures?!)
The musicans and fire dancers had the crowd join in with them as they danced around the fire....
Here is a video of the "fire dance".
The best thing about the Fackelzug, is that it is not a great big commercial event. We actually missed it last year, because it was not advertised. I went to the Tourism Office this year to find out te date for this year´s Fackelzug. This is one of the many reasons that we love living in Germany.
Wherever in the world you are reading this blog from, we would like to wish you a warm, happy and safe Christmas. We hope that the love of Christ is shared warmly among you and your loved ones.
Merry Christmas!
Zev and Fi xoxo