# Sunday, June 19, 2005

Mittelrhein-Marathon

Two hours, twenty-eight minutes and one second – that is how long it took me to skate 42.195 km today. Good thing the marathon started so early (9.10 am), or it would have been unbearably hot. I crossed the finish line before it got real hot after noon, and I’m thrilled with my time. During training, I managed to skate this fast only once or twice, but that was for 20 km and in cooler weather; I never imagined that I would be able to do this for the whole marathon!

I have great respect for the inline-skaters who managed to finish in about half my time, and I’m determined to do it faster next year. You can already register for the Mittelrhein-Marathon 2006 on June 18 (my 31st birthday).

Photos of today’s Marathon will be available at Finisherphoto on or after June 25th.

# Saturday, June 18, 2005

The big three-oh

Yep, it’s true, today is my birthday. Thanks, Hal, Susan, Cathie, Garret and Scott!

It’s also Sheila‘s birthday today, so happy birthday, Sheila!

However, the real big day for me is tomorrow because tomorrow is Mittelrhein-Marathon day! I went to the Marathon fair yesterday and got my number and a chip for measuring the time. There are going to be about 1300 inline skaters and 9614 participants altogether.

This morning I went skating for the last time before the marathon, but I only did 10 km today. Besides the usual knee, elbow and wrist pads I’m going to wear a helmet tomorrow, so I feel well protected and prepared. I’m also going to take lots of water even though drinking water is provided. Why? Take a look at this:

Translations: Low temperature, high temperature, weather in the morning, afternoon, evening. And for those of you not familiar with the metric system:: 30°C is 86°F.

Wanna play?

For my birthday, my parents gave me Polarity (deutsche Seite: Polarity), a game in which

“magnetic forces combine with physical dexterity and strategic thinking […]. Enter a new dimension as you learn to wield the invisible forces at play on the board. Force your opponent to disrupt the magnetic traps you have set – setting off dynamic chain reactions as pieces flip and collide – allowing you to score points to win the game!

A unique board game for 2 or 4 players, Polarity is easy to learn and very exciting to play over and over again. Casual players enjoy the exciting game play, and more advanced players prize the depth of strategy that can be employed.

Never the same game twice, Polarity will entertain you, amaze you and challenge you for years to come.”

We haven’t played it yet, but I played around with the magnetic discs and tried some of the moves. The website provides more information and examples of possible moves that are not mentioned explicitly in the rule book (of which I’ve got the German version, obviously). I predict that we are going to have a lot of fun with this game!

# Monday, June 13, 2005

This weekend André and I had time to explore our new (as in: we moved here almost a year ago) surroundings a bit. We decided to visit Burg Eltz (Burg means castle), but to take the long(ish) way there, along a little brook which is also called Eltz (Eltzbach). About ten kilometres upstream from Burg Eltz is another castle called Burg Pyrmont, and we started our hike in the middle between the two. I guess our next hike will have to be the other half of the trail and a visit to Burg Pyrmont.

Burg Eltz is one of the most beautiful and best-preserved castles in Germany, and indeed it almost looks like a building out of a fairytale. But see for yourself:

Starting out.

After taking a “shortcut”, we found the path again – but we were on the wrong side of the Eltz. Backtracking for half an hour? Nah, …

… we prefer taking another shortcut.

The Eltz, viewed from a bridge.

Wild flowers grow next to the Eltz.

This is the view of the Eltz castle you’re greeted with after hiking the Eltz valley.

Getting closer to the castle.

The Eltz castle is situated in a picturesque little valley and almost completely surrounded by a loop of the Eltz brook.

Another view of the castle from the other side.

The castle up close and personal. It looks like something out of a fairytale, only less kitschy and more real.

A spigot on the outside of the castle.

The inner ward of the castle.

Another view of the inner ward, which is surprisingly small.

Looking up to the castle from the valley.

For more information on the castle, visit Burg-Eltz.de, which is available in English and German. Or visit Ingi’s page about Burg Eltz (text in German, but interesting photos).

Cheers to Craig who forewent the excursion to the Eltz castle on his trip to Germany to meet André and me! (By the way, I just noticed that we met exactly five years ago tomorrow.)