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Cycling through the industrial area in Germany

I was home in Germany last weekend. It was a good time to do some cycling instead of running. My dad can’t run with me, but he cycles frequently, so it was something fun to do together.

Schiffshebewerk Henrichenburg – old ship lift

Whenever I am home, my parents like to reacquaint me with the area that I grew up in. This time, my dad chose a route along canals and through the industrial area. The “Route der Industriekulture” or the route of industrial culture takes you through 150 years of industrial history in the heart of the Ruhrgebiet in Germany.

It’s a 700km network of streets and pathways that are easy to cycle and take you past power stations, coal mines, steel plants, river ports, an intricate canal system with old locks and ship lifts (the German word “Schiffshebewerk” sounds much more elegant).

Route Industriekultur – power plants

The steel plants and coal mines are all closed down and what is left now is a beautiful and green network of cycle and hike paths with many museums on the way.

The Alte Schiffshebewerk Henrichenburg (old ship lift) started its operation in 1899 and only closed in 1970. It was inaugurated by Kaiser Wilhelm II (the last German Emperor). Not sure what he did in this part of Germany. Anyway, next to the ship lift is the old lock, Alte Schleuse Henrichenburg, which was also inaugurated by Kaiser Wilhem II (he must have liked this area).

Here is another photo of the ship lift. This is taken from the entrance of the museum (which is closed on Mondays – which was the day we were there…)

Schiffshebewerk Henrichenburg

The old lock has this fine plaque commemorating history:

Alte Schleuse Henrichenburg

I missed taking a photo from below the lock. There is an under path below the street that used to be the canal.

Alte Schleuse Henrichenburg

None of these are in operation today. there is a new and modern lock and also a new and modern ship lift (which is not in operation either…).

The canal waterways have been changed around the old locks and ship lifts, so that now you have little canal dead ends and it’s no wonder that there is a dragon boat in hiding:

Dragon boat

As I said this cycle network is pretty nice actually and I would encourage you to cycle there if you happen to be in the area.

The canals are pretty:

canals along the Route der Industriekultur

There are fields of maize. Something I grew up with and I do miss the sights of these in London. We used to play hide and seek in them as kids. Sometimes we pretended that aliens had landed here…

fields of maize along the Route der Industriekultur-

This part of Germany has some very picturesque villages, some more than 600 years old. The cyclist in the photo is not quite as old and he probably wonders why he is in my picture. I wonder that, too…

Freiheit Horneburg

And you can’t complete a cycling trip in Germany without at least seeing one castle. Schloss Horneburg is over 600 years old and has some colorful history including being a court for witch trials during medieval times. But don’t let that stop you from coming here. The castle is still in use today and is now a school.

Schloss Horneburg

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Nike+ is my new therapist

Last night. Watching American Idol. No, Ryan Seacrest, you are not live. And, no, I am not going to look online who has made it already… Oh no, I just did. Oops…

As a side note, there were some good performances. They love Adele. Singing one of her songs seems to automatically qualify for the next round… Is this really J.Lo? What happened to her face?? This is a really ill-fitting lipstick!! (she is also lying to contestants, telling them they could win the show when – I can clearly see into the future – I know they will not make it into the next round…)

Anyway, I was REALLY updating my NIKE+ challenges and American Idol just happened to be running on TV…

So as I am looking through my challenges and withdrew from a few that are really not challenges for me, I signed up for some new ones (new to me) and suddenly it dawned on me. I have very split loyalties.

My NIKE+ challenge loyalties:
GERMANY – EU Member State challenge
TEXAS – 2012 State Run challenge
MICHIGAN STATE – Run for March Madness Challenge
ROYAL BOROUGH OF RICHMOND – London Boroughs Annual Challenge 2012

I often don’t feel very settled. Looking at the above, I kind of get why. Thanks, NIKE+, for pointing this out clearly.

Or maybe I should look at this of being privileged of calling all these places my home?

By the way, all you Richmond runners. I see you every day running the Thames path. I need your help with the London Boroughs Annual Challenge 2012! Are we going to let Hounslow win??

Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest.
~ Henry Van Dyke


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Cross-training with Snow Patrol – Part 2

This past weekend I took a break from running and healthy eating. Off I went to Germany to spend the weekend with my parents.

My mom is a great cook. Whenever I go home I do like to indulge in her home cooked meals and forget a little about low fat and low sugar. 🙂

I opted for an hour’s walk with my parents rather than a run and it was a refreshing break from my routine and great time spent chatting with my parents.

The actual cross-training happened Sunday night at the Snow Patrol concert (I kinda like their songs…). Some jumping, a little dancing, lots of singing along – and a weekend of cross-training was complete!

In the end, In the end
There’s nothing more to life than love is there?
In the end, In the end
It’s time for us to lose our weary minds.

~ Snow Patrol

Snow Patrol in Duesseldorf, Germany

Snow Patrol in Duesseldorf, Germany