The Misadventures of Kai and Pixel »

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Screw you, heatwave!

We are stuck in the European heatwave in a country where there are few air-conditioned buildings. The last four days have hovered around the 37-degree mark. Ouch! So we’ve been trying to be creative about how to escape the heat, especially since Andreas’ mom was down from Hamburg on a visit.

On Friday, we hit the outdoor pool. Along with the rest of Freiburg. That wasn’t a particularly creative solution.

Yesterday, we drove for over two hours to get into the Swiss Alps. Now this was a creative, if not slightly desperate, solution. On top of the Hasliberg, we did manage to enjoy temperatures below 30 degrees. We found a snow field, had a snowball fight, and made snow angels. On the way down, we hiked the Muggestutz, a trail specifically designed for kids. There were several little stations along the trail, each of which told more about the story of a dwarf named Muggestutz. Kai loved the pine cone mine and Muggestutz’s little house, which was completely furnished and was the perfect size for a nine-year-old boy.

Today, we are back in Freiburg, bunkered down in our apartment and taking turns sitting the bathtub. Christiane is back in the reasonable temperatures of Hamburg, but we have at least another two days of temperatures above 35 degrees to survive.

Hiking in Swabia

We are wrapping up two weeks of school vacation here (Pfingstferien). We’ve mostly taken it easy with Andreas and I continuing to work and Kai in sports camp for the two weeks. I really don’t think that Kai has ever been so active in his whole life.  After a full day of running around and swimming, he could barely speak.

And then his parents dragged him hiking and camping on the weekend! Fortunately, his favourite and only German cousins were part of this adventure and any fatigue was quickly forgotten. We met half way in between their place and ours in the Swabian Jura (Schwäbische Alp) – a ridge of land that runs through the mid-section of Baden-Württemberg and close to where I studied in Tübingen in 1993-4. The attraction here was the castle of Hohenzollern, an impressive castle that rivals anything built by that Mad Bavarian king (i.e., Neuschwanstein). Seriously, if you want impressive German castles without the craziness of millions of tourists, Hohenzollern is an excellent option.

On the first day of our adventure, we hiked along the ridge of the Swabian Jura which gave us spectacular views of Hohenzollern.  (For anyone interested, a map of the hike is here. We didn’t do the full hike (too hot), and it is easy to shorten.) The following very hot, and therefore sweaty day, we made our way up the hill to the castle and had a look around. As you can see, the view was spectacular!



The new adventure season begins

After a full semester, we arrived back in Freiburg at the beginning of May.  (To recap, we have been spending the summers in Freiburg for the last few years.  Andreas is working on a joint research project, bringing samples of trees that have been killed by the pine beetle infestation to the lab in Freiburg for an analysis.  This year, I am also working with the writing centre at the University of Education here.)

Since my last post in January, we have renovated and moved into our new apartment in Edmonton as first-time property owners. This was an easy move in some ways as we just moved up two floors in our building. However, in the middle of January, Andreas woke up with half of his face paralyzed, a condition called Bell’s palsy.  This initially caused him a lot of pain, and certainly set us back in terms of energy and desire to do anything exciting this summer. (And he still has not recovered any movement in his face.) In other words, our plans for this summer in Freiburg are simple: go to the Biergarten, eat lots of gelato, go hiking and biking on the weekend, and do nothing that requires us to get up early.  Fortunately, there is no end to the adventures that can be had around here.

So, first up.  Andreas’ cousin Claudia and her family came to visit us in Freiburg, and we got our first hike in.  We hiked the Wutachschlucht, one of the more famous hikes in the Black Forest.  We’ve done this hike before (photos here), but we were happy to tackle it again, especially with Linus, Lasse, and Mara (Claudia’s kids), as they seem to come up with the most amazing ideas. This time Lasse hiked a good while with a dead tree attached to his back.

On the following day, we hit the Todtnauer waterfall and zoomed down the Rodelbahn in Todtnau.  Big hit with the kids, of course.

The kids got a hold of our camera at one point.  Should be obvious which photos they took!