Tag Archive for 'Harz'

Back in Berlin….

I’m back from Harz, and more or less in one piece. Came off pretty badly on the last run, was going for two rather large drops in a row, the first was fine, the second…..well, not so fine….hehehe

Anyways, can still walk, and unfortunately for everyone around me, can still talk. I am now in Voltaren mode. Landed quite a few metres away from my bike in an awkward position kinda sandwiched between rocks, one rock pressing very hard on my right kidney. And those shorts, yeah, ripped to shreds and are now in the bin. One of only two pairs that I own. So shorts shopping here I come – cause I guess one pair isn’t nearly enough for Sydney weather.

Good times I tell you. Was half expecting to pee blood this morning, but all’s well that ends well eh!?

On the drive back I was looking out the window whilst travelling along the autobahn and couldn’t help but wonder if this was the last time I’ll ever be there with the crew again. Those are some bad thoughts I tell ya, and probably best not thought at all.

In saying that the guys are already making plans for coming over to Australia. So you never really know, it could just be that the next few years are busier than ever. And I would certainly not be the one to complain 🙂

It’s not a good bye

Was with one of my mates last night, a colleague of mine, our VP of Engineering, Stefan. It was our last chance to say so long as he’ll be on holiday as of next week. Over the years you could say we’ve become pretty close. And it was kinda funny. We had dinner at this Japanese restaurant called Kyo Grill in my old Kiez along Kastanienallee, where I had – strangely – never been before. Great food, and great company. It will be a long while between drinks I’m afraid. And not only is it my old Kiez, but it is also the first street I clearly remember walking along in Berlin when I first moved here all those years ago. It’s where everything started. Where I met Stevie, my hairdresser. Where I’ve seen a director of a play climb onto the roof of a theater – defecate into his hands – and fling it at the people on the street below. Where I went to my first beer garden. Where I fell in and out of love with this city.

Oh man.

So I’m not much good at good byes, I guess I’ve come to realize. And there are going to plenty more in store in the upcoming days, with only a little over a week to go before I jump on that plane for the long ride home…..

There is always a positive side to everything though. And I need to remember, and hold onto that instead of getting all gloomy and blue. I should be celebrating the amazing friends I’ve made here – I mean I’ve made so, so many. I should be relishing the fantastic times we’ve had together, the love and laughs we’ve shared together. It has been a great 10 years, a fantastic 10 years even, and I will never, ever forget the great times I’ve had in this city I once called home.

And it’s not over yet, this weekend is the last hurrah with the East Berliner crew as we go on our annual downhill MTB trip to Harz. Weather forecast says it will be 30 degrees, which if you ask me, is a little too hot for that kind of thing, especially when you consider all the gear I’ll be wearing. So I think I’ll be taking it relatively easy. The first couple of runs will be fine, but I fear thereafter I may be a little too hot to be able to concentrate well enough to ride well. So I will take it easy, not hit too many big jumps or drops after that. But let’s see, the weather can be so temperamental, it may well be raining by then!!

And even that’s not it, I still have my farewell party to look forward to, which is in the Berlin apartment on my last Saturday here next week. But then that will be it. I have cleaners coming so I’ve got the Sunday to chill, and Monday to fly. Tuesday I’ll touch down at Kingsford Smith at around 8pm I think (need to check on that), and then I’ll be home – in the place where my heart most definitely resides.

So no point being blue….a lot to look forward to! And I’m certainly not going into this blind, it’s something I’ve thought long and hard about. I know it’s going to be tough to start with – I mean, it’s only natural that I’ll miss my peeps and places – but I have so much to look forward to. And that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside 🙂

Anyways, not my video – Basti, where’s the video from last year huh!? But this is where I’ll be, to give you an idea of some parts of the track. I mean, the place is huge, and there are plenty of tracks to choose from….and plenty of drops and jumps too 🙂

The story continues….

So, we moved into the new apartment, and jammed all our stuff on the 4th floor in the living room. We had to do it that way since the top floor wasn’t quite ready to move anything into. We were having the parkett flooring resurfaced and stained white. Well, of course the flooring guy said everything would be fine and the floor would be ready by the time we wanted to move in, but as per usual, the job took much longer than the ‘professional’ had estimated, so by the time the move day came around, the floor surface was not dry enough to be able to put anything on it. Great!

So yes, everything went into the living room, and Ina and I had nowhere to sleep. Luckily Daniel, a good friend and someone whom Ina had been living with previously, said we could crash over his place until the floor was dry enough to construct the bed etc. So that’s what we did.

Then it was the annual family reunion, this time organised by us, so it was in Berlin – well, Brandenburg to be precise. Which meant we couldn’t do any bed construction, or moving until we were back on Sunday evening – which is exactly what we did. Got home, pulled all the bed pieces upstairs (the mattress was pretty damned hard work) and constructed the bed. Mind you, the skirting boards still weren’t attached to the walls since the flooring guy had decided to make the executive decision and instead of staining them, oiled them white. Which gave the end result of an entirely different colour which by no means matched the floor. A phone call later and he said he would return to do them (as well as a step to the terrace) in the same white stain as the floor.

So all our stuff was in boxes downstairs, the bed was constructed upstairs, a plumber came over to teach us how to use the gas water heater, and we were kinda in business. The flooring guy returned and did the skirting boards and the step, but then we had to wait for all of that to dry too. By this point in time it was coming very close to the time when we had organised for builders to come and remove the wallpaper downstairs and plaster etc. Yes, Ina and I decided we had bitten a bit more off than we could chew, and that the downstairs area would be way more difficult than upstairs, and upstairs was hard enough. I mean, we had made a huge start on the kitchen/entry area – basically almost finishing it. But the living room/stairwell was worrying.

Anyway, because the builders were scheduled to come the following week, it meant that as soon as the skirting boards were dry enough, we had to put them somewhere out of the way, construct the wardrobe, hang all our clothes up finally, and bring everything from downstairs, upstairs. And when I say everything, I mean everything! We now have a bedroom that includes the kitchen sink! So we were more or less ready for the builders to come, just a few more things had to go upstairs, but I was off that weekend for downhill mountain biking in Harz. So you can kind of get a picture., Ina and I both work full-time jobs, both working a minimum of 10 hours a day. All this moving was done throughout the week in the evenings after work.

As you can imagine, downhill mountain biking was awesome fun with the lads, but also exhausting. That was last weekend. And coming back from mountain biking, I wasn’t sure where we were going to live anymore since the top floor of our apartment was full of our stuff, and I mean full. So we thought a hotel might be the best idea for a few days, and thereafter over at a friends.

Over the week we managed to move things around enough to have enough room to move around (albeit like ants), whilst downstairs is going full speed ahead. The telekom guy came around to turn the internet on, one word, awesome, and the builders said they’d be done in a week, which Ina and I both said we’d eat our hat if that was the case. And here we are today, able to live and sleep on the top floor of the apartment, currently sitting out on the terrace writing this post, enjoying our super speed internet care of telekom.

And guess what, downstairs continues into next week – how surprising.

Anyway, still so many things to do. We signed a contract to get the downstairs bathroom built, which will kick off on the 16th of September, and then we’ll get the chipboard that is left in the kitchen ripped up, replaced with concrete boards, and tiled with slate over the top. Then the kitchen can go in, and that is downstairs kinda finished. After that it is just the stairwell we need to do, and finally, when we can be bothered, overhauling the upstairs bathroom – but that can definitely wait. The bathroom is relatively new, and is ok, it’s just that neither of us really like it.

So reflecting on the purchase of this place, was it a good purchase? I still have to say YES! The area is beautiful, quiet, plenty to do, the apartment is in an absolutely fabulous location, we get so much sun it’s not funny. Really just great. We made this mountain of work, the place was ready to move into, and if we didn’t have such specific ideas, as well as taste, we could have moved in immediately and just lived here. But Ina and I don’t roll like that. Why live in something that you own, that you don’t like 100%? Exactly. So at the end of the day, we will have an ‘altbau’ apartment, that will have been given a whole lot of love and been turned into an alt-neubau. Really looking forward to the day we have a proper living room again where I can just sit on the couch, drink a beer, and enjoy my time in the apartment, without feeling guilty that I am not doing the much needed work to it that is still outstanding.

Will we be finished before Christmas? How long is a piece of string I ask you? You just never know 🙂

Here are a few shots to bring you up to speed though, as you can see, we are in the process of removing a door and sealing the wall since removing the wall separating the kitchen from the living room. No point having two entrances, and we can use that corner much more effectively if it is closed up:

Once again getting the better of me…

Yes, time that is.

It is flying along.

I mean, I have been super, super busy both at work and at home doing a bunch of things.

Let’s cover what has happened lately though:

  • Had a bike accident and hurt my left leg
  • Downhill mountain biking in Harz
  • Interviewing potential candidates for the new position at work
  • Ina celebrated her 35th birthday
  • Went to Croatia to visit Ina’s dad and go sailing
  • Helped Ina move into a friends apartment in P’berg
  • Someone built a pump track just up the street that I have been taking advantage of

I wish I had the time to write a better post, but an overview is all I can manage at the moment.

And I know, I still don’t have photos up from Nicaragua, not from Croatia – time, time, time…

Still gotta visit my sister before she leaves London.

How will I manage all of this? I mean, I also want to plan a trip for Ina and myself to Poland (maybe Krakow) for a weekend get-away to celebrate our anniversary. Man 0 man.

Anyways, I’ll leave you with a fav of the moment – take care all!