Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Berlin, Jena, Freising—the sun keeps shining

A week after leaving the windy Hub City I'm enjoying some of the finest weather I've seen on a trip to Germany in many, many years. Berlin showed itself from its best side, and in the few days I was there I did get a chance to go for daily rides on the single-speed Ritchey that I keep in my dad's apartment.
The trusty steel Ritchey that I keep in Berlin

Thursday night I took the family to a small Italian restaurant around the corner from where my brother, Bux, lives. With us were (from the right) Andrea, my dad, Dennis, Jannick, and Bux; Gabi (Bux' first wife and Dennis' mom) took the photo.

Die ganze Familie

Jannick helps "Opa" walk home
The next stop for me after Berlin was Jena, in the former GDR. There I met up with Dennis, my English instructor and mentor from my university days in Trier back in the '70s. He has been living here for close to two decades, as an emigré just like I in the US. We spent an enjoyable evening and most of the day Sunday, doing what one does in Deutschland: walk, talk, and have coffee and cake.
Der Herr Professor in Jena
And now I am in Freising, just outside of München, with my friend Sabine, enjoying fine countryside, good beer, and general Bavarian Gemütlichkeit.
Church in Freising

I've been traveling with my other Ritchey (yes, I have the one in Berlin and the one I generally travel with) and we've been pedaling a few miles to various destinations. While you might think that the ubiquitous Biergarten is my favorite destination, I do have to say that yesterday's stop-over at the Badeweiher was quite the experience. The Badeweiher is a former gravel pit, of which there are dozens still in operation around the area. Once all the gravel has been mined, the hole fills up with naturally percolating groundwater and—voilà—a new swimhole has been formed. Germans are not too finicky when it comes to stripping down and hopping into the dink, and since only retirees and Beamte (those in public service) never seem to work, a whole bunch of hanging boobs, flabby butts, and other drooping appendages could be observed on the shore closest to the road. So we locked up our bikes and mingled with the natives. The swim was wonderfully refreshing!
Small roads, little traffic, easy rolling
Earlier we had stopped by a fishmonger and had picked up a smoked trout for our lunch at yet another Biergarten cum Badeweiher, but at least here people wore their Speedos. Really, I don't know what's worse.
Sabine debones the trout
And if you've been wondering whether Bavarians really drink out of those huge steins, well, they do—and so do I, whenever the opportunity arises:

Now, that's a beer!
 And that's it for today, folks. Off to ride to München (about 40K) and see my friends Wolfgang and Inge. 

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