Thursday, October 30, 2008

Europa 2008

Alison and I were told that we were the first Americans in history to fly into Munich, Germany the week after the end of Oktoberfest. Well, here's a secret that I'll share if you promise not to tell anyone: there is no shortage of beer in Bavaria, even after the conclusion of the Fest.

Alison and I spent two weeks in Europe. Our mornings were lazy, but our days were full and varied -- we did lots of sight-seeing, ran the Munich Marathon, hiked all over the Alps, rock climbed in Bavaria and northern Italy, visited a pool/waterslide with Malen Pichler (age 9), and practiced our German with the locals. Regardless of the day's activity, however, every afternoon or early evening we always seemed to find ourselves at a table like the one pictured above sipping a wheat beer or white wine and just enjoying being in Europe. Then we would find dinner and a Gasthaus, Pension, or a friend's house to stay, and repeat the whole procedure the next morning.

The highlights for me were running personal bests in the marathon (we both ran 3 minutes faster than the personal bests we set in our last marathon), staying with old friends the Pichlers in Ruhpolding, Bavaria, playing hockey and visiting with the Odies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, driving our rental car (a Mercedes hatchback -- not unlike our Honda Fit) over the craziest mountain pass I've ever experienced (or imagined) in the Italian Dolomites, driving the same rental car down a street with a width of 1.8 meters in Arco, Italy... well, forget listing the highlights. The whole vacation was a highlight!

Now we're back in Vermont, the snow is starting to fall, and we are ready for our next vacation.

Europa '08 Photos: Click here!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A New Season

I'm back after a short hiatus, and I have to say to all those who said "where have you been? What have you been doing?":

None of your business! I've been busy, okay?

The fact is, everything has changed. These days, I'm a married man with responsibilities. Yeah, that's right. What exactly are these responsibilities? Um, well, I'm not exactly sure, but I have them now, so there!

In other news, the temperature dipped almost into the 20s last night, causing the season's first frost. We can officially say that summer is over and fall has begun. No more swimming in the river for Oscar and me, but we will be enjoying the changing of the leaves -- which, by the way, are the best in Vermont in at least three years. It has been a colorful fall.

In other signs that summer is over, I am back in the regular ice hockey rotation. Two highly competitive regular (for old, out-of-shape guys) skates, plus two others that I plan to pop in on every now and then. Hockey should keep my fitness level up through the winter -- plus the sport rules.

And, finally, Alison and I are testing out a new concept this week: a fall marathon. So far, it seems like it has been working; we never stopped running after Vermont City Marathon, so you would think we're in-shape and ready. Well, we are in-shape, and hopefully that translates into two awesome marathon results. We'll keep you posted.

That's the report this week from Aiken-land. Married life is good, and fall is here. Get ready for falling leaves and a long, dark (but fun) winter. Go old-guy hockey!