Our R&R on the island of Rugen in the Baltic Sea is almost over. Thanks to good friends here, we managed to get our bad back ( Esther ) and bad foot ( me ) looked at, in double-quick time. We were exhausted when we arrived. Which we kind of knew, but not until we had time and a place to completely collapse, did the apathy take full hold of us, and the 1,000 yard stare kick in. I did not even want to look at my bike for a week.
We are very lucky to have a family bungalow that looks out onto the Baltic Sea. The heat wave broke, and then storm after storm rolled in, trying to throw back all the energy and water that it had sucked up over the last month. Very exciting. A good storm viewed from a comfortable chair, with a cup of tea, is something to savour.
Combine harvesters cost about as much as a luxury yacht and are used about as often. We looked on as they moved up and down the huge fields that surround the bungalow. First the Barley was harvested, and then they started on the Wheat. Still there are fields of Porridge to be started on. Already seeds have been sown, and a filigree of green haze can be seen as next years crop makes an early appearance almost two months ahead of harvest festivals ( how the agricultural seasons have changed! ).
The island has cold and hard and penetrating winters that come in fast on the heels of hot summers. The Cranes are starting to arrive, and dawn and dusk flights of Geese across the bay in front of us are becoming more spectacular as numbers increase. Soon, the sky will feel as if it stationary and the world turning under thousands of Geese, as skeins fill the sky to the horizons.
A new school year has begun at the islands village schools. Here in Germany, the day is celebrated with paper cones, ‘ Schultüte ‘, full of sweets. I cringe at the thought of the first day at school. For weeks, possibly months I had been told ” Your going to school soon Warren “. This changed to ” Are you looking forward to going to school Warren? “. Well, yes I was, so what is all the fuss. ” School next week Warren ” and finally ” Your going to school in the morning Warren “. At 5 this is probably the biggest thing to have happened to you so far. You can not really count learning to walk and talk, but you do not feel part of that as such. This is the first thing that has had such a build up, such a climax. So I went to school, and loved the fuss and attention. Next morning when my mum woke me , ” Up you get for school ” all I could think was there was some dreadful mistake, some contract broken, defaulted. ” I’ve been!!!!! “I cried. No one told me you had to keep on going. This could have been handled much better.
The apples that were green on Grandfathers tree, have taken a hint of red over the three weeks we have been here. Rowan berry are already being picked over by the Black Bird near the door, and Sea Buckthorn, otherwise known as ‘ the baked bean tree ‘, are full of fruit. It will be these that the birds turn to in the depth of the hardest of winter.
We have pottered around on our mountain bikes, never really straying too far from ‘ home ‘, and the south of he island. Over the last 5 years, the island has gone through a cycle touring boom. There are over-packed German tourists everywhere. It fully deserves to be popular. It has a great path network and wonderful coffee and cakes, added to which, it is mostly flat.
In a months time there will be as many as 20,000 Cranes here and fields full of geese all carbo loading for journeys south. Our own thoughts and plans are in that direction and a little sooner. We are fighting Newtonian Physics, ‘ an object at rest continues to be at rest ‘. There is quite a bit of inertia to be overcome. We have changed the geometry on Esther’s bike to make it a little easier on the back. What she has lost in aerodynamics she hopes to gain in a lack of debilitating back pain. I am waiting for a set of space age insoles to be delivered. I realized that I have put 30,000Km into the present set of insoles and am need of a small miracle. It is a stupid price to pay, and I knew that at the very moment I was pressing the ‘ buy now 1-click ‘ button on Amazon. If they do the job, I will be the number one fan and may even break my self imposed exile from Amazon Feedback.
So, the blog will resume normal service very soon. The plan is to head for the Czech Republic, Slovenia and then Italy. We have been boring the grandparents with photos from our journey this year and have been close to tears at the wonderful things that we have seen from the discomfort of a Brooks saddle. If you have ever thought about touring, you must go and do it. Get out for a long weekend and enjoy a microadventure. Take a camera and start a blog. Then, when we are all old and some of us smell of wee, we will have something to tell our carer as they wipe food from our chins.