Friday, June 29, 2007

My favorite mode of travel is most definitely the German trains. It's the usual stress getting everything together and getting there on time, but once on, it's just a matter of kicking back and enjoying the ride. A couple of nice Polizei helped me get my bike on board this dusty old regional bahn. My legs always get incredibly banged up, for some reason, hauling the bike on and off the train. I try not to load the bike itself too heavily, it's a mountain bike and not exactly light. I tried to fill the panniers with bulky but light stuff (food and tea bags) that would probably get squished to death in my rucksack. The rucksack overbalances me a bit, and I have to pay attention. I'm just hoping that it's all lighter on the way back!
I have a triple set of folding bench seats to myself, and a window that opens if I want it. My bike is propped up parallel to the seats, so that if the train lurches I can catch it, and it's out of the way of the constant thread of traffic down the aisle of the train. My shoes are off, my feet up on the second seat, and I am typing on the little laptop I take to school. It's a little noisy, but the rock, whoosh and rumble of the train are familiar noises, and the seat is fairly comfy.
It's wonderful to watch the scenery go by this time of year. Germany doesn't have much summer, so when spring hits, she goes all out. Forsythia explode in bright yellow first, with the fields glowing green and cherry trees fluffing out into pink clouds. I always love lilac season. Lilacs don't grow well in Texas, and I was delighted to find them when we lived in Indiana. They grow like crazy here, and I love to cut the full rich blossom heads and stuff vases with them. The scent will just about knock you over if you overdo it, though, and lilacs are toxic, so I try to keep it to one vase per room.
This is going to be my second to last training, and I intend to enjoy it. I know I will miss these monthly adventures down to Munich. It's a vibrant place, and the training is brisk and vibrant as well. My colleagues are fun and supportive, the teachers are brilliant and fascinating, and the environment is open and adventurous. Sure, homesickness is often a factor, but I find myself thriving on the change of pace and the independence.

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