Posts Tagged ‘france’

This is what friends do on a Sunday afternoon…


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After brunch on Friday, we took out our friends’ canoe for its 2013 inaugural trip around Strasbourg. It’s not easy going upstream on a full stomach or when it’s only a few degrees above freezing. But we had loads of fun being heckled by bystanders along the quai (and heckling them back). My rowing skills are lacking, to say the least. Luckily, I had Ilo to keep us moving.

The short hour of sunshine did me good. I rolled up my pant legs to make sure I got an extra dose of vitamin D. Afterwards it took nearly three hours and several cups of hot tea for my body temperature to return to normal – it was so worth it.

If you look closely at the photo below, you can see us trying to turn round to go under the Barrage Vauban – just to the west of Petite France. We eventually made it after two tries, but not without seriously struggling against the current.

(Thanks to J.B. for the pictures)

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first snow

December hasn’t disappointed – we got snow!


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I’m pleased to announce my new blog melissa takes a hike – a site dedicated to my journey on the HRP (beginning ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!!!!!).

Currently there a few articles and pages up. You can read the why and the what of it all. I’ve highlighted a few books that have helped prepare for the journey on the Ex Libris page. The My Pack page is under construction – it should be up in the next day or two and give the details on all my gear.

On the right side of the blog you can see “melissa tweets”. My intention is to keep the twitter feeds coming from the trail (via SMS when there’s service). @melissainfrance Though the blog won’t be updated from the trail – you will find twitter updates. Then sometime in November once we’ve completed the trek the plan is to make regular updates of  the people we met, our daily adventures and our struggles on the HRP.

Please go to melissa takes a hike and sign up for email updates (just above “melissa tweets”) – and if you haven’t already sign up here for fossicking updates do it.

Thanks for all your support!

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Paris. I used to live there.

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How do I enjoy the last days of summer with my handsome life partner and two favorite (and beautiful) girls?

This evening we had already had an early dinner and movie when we were faced with this question. Of course we strolled into the city center – not knowing what was awaiting us.

First, we stopped at the La Guinguette à Roulettes for a turn on the dance floor. Then on to the carrousel Place Gutenberg for a spin on the tea cup. It was topped off with fireworks at Place Kléber. Finally the lightening came. We ran through the Contades park. Rain. Summer thunderstorm. Perfect.


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I was bit by the cycling bug.

Never before was I ever really interested in bikes. I have ridden on the luggage racks of old bikes. About 4 years ago, I nearly fell off the Brooklyn Bridge while riding on my friend’s bike somewhere between the hours of 3 and 4 a.m. on our way back to Park Slope from Manhattan – she (Helen) furiously peddled while standing – I got the seat and had to wear the backpack (she at least got the helmet). I wasn’t really into cycles at that point. That same friend is cycle obsessed/loves bikes and what they represent. I’m starting to see her point.

It took the encouragement of another friend (John) who was staying with us for about a month to get the proverbial wheels spinning…he took a 750km ride across France to a wedding – just because he could.

Plus a weekend in Cologne with a few short trips out on the bike was all it took to boost my confidence.

Once back from Germany, I proposed to some friends (Elise and Violaine) that we take a short (55km) ride on the Canal de Bruche. (I needed some new activity to add to my HRP training regime and I didn’t feel like walking.)

I went down to Vélhop and rented a bike on the Sunday morning not knowing what to expect. We had loads of fun, but post-cycle trip I was wrecked…my back was not ready – which meant a next-day doctor’s visit for a muscle relaxer and an anti-inflammatory.

Now we have a bike of our own – thanks to John. It’s great! Last week I took it on another canal trip. This time I went with Anne on the Canal de la Marne au Rhin from Schwindratzheim to Saverne (22 km). Glorious day! We started at 9:30 a.m. and were done by 11:30 a.m. The landscape was amazing. The Vosges were ahead of us and to our right we could see beautiful boats traveling down the canal or to our left there was farmland or adorable Alsatian villages. I didn’t need any drugs post-trip (probably because I didn’t do too many kilometers this time).

Thanks to Anne I’ve got some photos of me (looking like a cool cyclist) with the bike.

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