the adventure continues:- pints, pizzas and pulling on plastic………

It was the night before another 4am start to get to the airport and I was on my way to Messerstadt West to meet Paul-Matthieu to go and have one last climbing session. Tonight I would belay him on a couple of routes he wanted to do and for me, one last power endurance session to cope with the steep long routes that I want to attempt in Kalymnos.

The Plastic Fantastic.........Munchen Climbing Gym.
The Plastic Fantastic………Munchen Climbing Gym.

IMG_4681

When we arrived there were the two Frenchies that we had climbed with on Saturday in Kochel and they were ready to climb. We all headed to the outdoor walls and started. Guilham and Aderlin got going a little slower than Paul and I , however we were all there to see each other again before I floated off on another climbing sojourn……..I am a very fortunate man.

The weather was good and the day light was fading so we ploughed through about 8-10 routes each and called it quits. Wandering back inside Paul said “beer and pizzas boys!” and he was welcomed with a resounding YES! We got changed and sat on the couches and it all started from there. There goes the early night……………………

Aderlin (left) and Paul-Mattheiu
Aderlin (left) and Paul-Mattheiu
Guilham (left) and I being absolute clowns :-)
Guilham (left) and I being absolute clowns 🙂

Thanks guys for a great and energetic send of to Greece…………………. 🙂

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the adventure continues:- swap a beach for a lake for the end of summer break………

Today Erin and I had a relaxing start to the day as Paul-Matthieu and one of his extremely fit and healthy friends Silvia decided to cycle down to our destination. Our destination was Walchensee, Kochel. A beautiful lake in the German pre-Alps that is the place to be on a hot summers day with great people.

The crew at the lake.
The crew at the lake.

Paul and Silvia left at about 9:30-ish in the morning and 67 kilometres later arrived at the lake. They had not taken their time and powered through the countryside in great fashion. Jaques met Erin and I at the house and we all travelled together while the two “Tour de France” cycling maniacs worked themselves.

A lone windsurfer honing his craft.
A lone windsurfer honing his craft.

We arrived at the lake and found a nice spot just slightly shaded from the sun and close enough to the waters edge that we didn’t have to move to far……….this was supposed to be a day of leisure. Paul and Silvia turned up about half way through our first swim. You have to love this place, it is simply breathtakingly stunning.

Breathtaking.............
Breathtaking………….
Stunning..............
Stunning…………..

This is definitely the way to spend a day…………….the water was cool and refreshing, the sun was out and the mountains lush and green. I will miss this place and these people when I move on to my next adventure…………..because the adventure must continue!!

the adventure continues:- climbing with a great friend and some other Frenchies…………. at Kochel!!!

This weekend was my first back in Munich for sometime indeed. Erin and I were trying to work out just how long it has been; approaching 7 weeks. I have had some amazing adventures over this time and I thank all of you involved in them, both old friends and new.

The summer has not quite left us here yet and Paul-Matthieu and I headed out at 8am to go climbing in an area known for its slippery, polished limestone. I was really excited to be getting out again with my friend. We have wanted to do a lot more climbing together than we have actually achieved. We were meeting up with Paul-Matthieu’s longtime friend Adelin and another friend Guilhem in Kochel. We were having a boys day out in the German pre-Alps (as it is known).

We arrived and got ourselves sorted pretty quickly, the other boys were running a little late so we waited to walk the 200 metres to the first sector called Weisenwand. Once all together we headed in. The sector was small and we were the only ones there. This was great…….:-)

Paul-Matthieu on the sharp end.......
Paul-Matthieu on the sharp end…….
Giulhem after his ascent of a tough, slabby and technical 6+...........well done mate!
Guilhem after his ascent of a tough, slabby and technical 6+………..well done mate!

We climbed for about 5 hours in total and had an absolute blast, laughing, joking, learning slang in each others language and motivating each other up the walls. I had an especially good day of climbing as I flashed every route that I climbed 6/6+ to 7 (the UIAA grading system is used here). Paul said the grades were stiff too. All in all it was a really fun day with the boys and we called it quits about 2:30pm and headed for the lake.

The wall of much resistance ...
The wall of much resistance…….
the wall of most resistance.......this is steeper than it looks here.
the wall of most resistance…….this is steeper than it looks here.

As we walked back to the car I looked up at the mountain tops and spotted a paraglider high up on the thermals just floating about. I turned and looked further a field and there were three more all heading down off the mountain. Five minutes later we were near the open field and in they all came, one after the other landing silently. It was a wonderful sight to see.

Hurrying to the lake to cool down.
Hurrying to the lake to cool down.
Descending from the heavens.........on a beautiful day.
Descending from the heavens………on a beautiful day.

The lake was cold and refreshing as I hit the water and the view spectacular indeed. I always know when the water is super cold as my shins start to ache with pain. This however was not the case and it was refreshing enough to stay in for a while. We all swam out into the deep water and just floated about for about ten minutes. Slowly emerging from the water, the sun hit my back and it was scorching hot. Later we found out it was 30 degrees celsius.

A most refreshing place.
A most refreshing place.
Stunning and peaceful.........How's the serenity.
Stunning and peaceful………How’s the serenity.

There are many ways to get to the lake at Kochel and some are more efficient than others:

Option one to get to and from the lake.
Option one………….
Option two.............
Option two………….

It was so great to be back in Germany and hanging with my friends Paul-Matthieu and Erin. I will miss climbing with them whilst I am heading out of Europe for a while………but there are more great adventures to come………….stay tuned 🙂

the adventure continues:- much ado about nothing……….NOT!

Well today was bit of a non-event. I really just felt like bumming around the house. I did a bit of research on the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro and found a 14 day trekking trip that sounds pretty awesome so I sent an email off about it to Intrepid Travel. I watched a couple of movies, did some washing, did some shopping and had a late lunch.

I decided to do some stretching and strengthening exercises later in the afternoon and really enjoyed just loosen up my body after yesterdays sustained bouldering session @Boulderwelt, Muchen Ost. I met a really cool German guy Nathaniel and he basically gave me a guided tour of the gym and the associated grading system that they used. It was great afternoon of climbing and socialising with the locals. Thanks Thani 🙂

Paul arrived home around 4pm with the shopping and then headed out for a mountain bike ride. Erin turned up a little later and we sat and talked over a New Zealand Sav Blanc and watched a great TED Talk on emotional intelligence called “emotional hygiene“. Really informative and perfectly illustrates a flaw in our thinking as humans. The other one we watched was by Monica Lewinsky called “the price of shame“…..this was one of the best I have seen.

Erin and I decided to cook an easy Satay Tofu with veggies for dinner and dessert was wild berries picked from the local woods by Paul on the way home on the bike. All in all a pretty good day actually. Time for an early night. Paul and I are off to climb at Kochel tomorrow for the day……… 🙂

the adventure continues:- making the most of catharsis and appreciating “good humans”

So its been few days since my last post and I have been relaxing at Lottie and Steve’s cute little house in Dublin. The weather has not been consistent and it has been cathartic to spend some time by myself just being. My darling hosts went away for the weekend to finish off some important work in the Irish countryside. I sat and watched the Gotham TV Series on Netflix until about 2am and then took myself to bed on Saturday night. I really needed to just sit and be.

Sunday morning I wandered around to the local cafe. Farmer Brown’s is a cute little wholesome establishment with great food sourced from local farmers and I have to say the coffee is pretty good. I just sat peacefully there for a couple of hours chatting to Gemma on Fartbook back in Australia. We get through some of the big issues and its a lot of fun to be connected with home regularly. I also talk to my mum a bit as she is really interested in what I am doing.

My phone rang at about 1pm and it was Sinead. She is a friend of my belay buddy Eva at West Wood Fitness Club where I have been training. Eva put us in touch after spraining her ankle bouldering. So anyways Sinead said her and some friends were climbing at Awesome Walls Climbing Gym from about 3:30pm. I had already considered heading up there to do some training anyways but this was just a great bonus to have people to climb with.After heading home and packing my gear I called a taxi. It was raining and one and half hours on public transport didn’t really float my boat. The taxi got me there very dry and very comfortable.

I wandered in to the gym and signed in and got the standard speech. All good and ready. I found an auto-belay and warmed up. Four laps of cruisy climbing and I was definitely warm. Sinead wandered over and introduced herself and we began climbing. Twenty minutes or so later David turned up and Sinead belayed him on his warm up. David hadn’t climbed for a long while due to injury and this was his first time back after the injury. Michelle turned up next. I introduced myself and we went climbing together for the afternoon.

Michelle wasn’t a regular climber she said, however watching her climb she had great technique and really climbed well. She was really pleased to say she was a great belayer too. this I was happy to hear. I got on a series of steep harder routes over the course of the afternoon and thrashed myself into oblivion and Michelle was a little more relaxed and climbed the more slabby and vertical things.

It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon when the weather was average and the rock was wet. Michelle gave me a lift home as she lived close to where I was staying. On the way home she basically gave me a trip through the touristy things on the north-side of town and I learned a lot about the Irish Catholic culture and how it has changed over the last century. It was a nice trip back to the south-side of town. Thanks Michelle for the very appreciated education. I will be sure to watch the documentary that you recommended called “One Million Dubliners”…..and thanks for the lift home too.

I showered and decided at about 8:30pm to head out for dinner. back to Farmer Brown’s again for the ribs and a nice Argentinian Malbec. Delightful way to spend an evening really. Very relaxing and very enjoyable indeed.

the adventure continues:- high on a hill with a lonely goat…….and the little prince.

I need to tell you all about this. This is a day to be remembered for me. Not for its excitement nor its adventure, but for its charm and grace. As I said in my last blog. I headed down to the cafe. When I arrived I ordered a coffee and just sat and read a great book called “The Little Prince”. It was a stunning little story and it brought a tear to my eye as I read through the last 15 pages.  This book was recommended by a lady I went climbing with in Greece earlier this year. I am now recommending it forward, let me know if you know of or have read the book.

Then I wandered off back home to get ready for……wait for it…………a night at the theatre!! We were off to see the Sound of Music at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. We had pre-supper drinks at The Marker, followed by pre-theatre supper at Hanover Quay and then in was all systems are go for 7:30pm curtain call. What a great fun night of music, humour, campness and simply great songs. Every time we were back in the convent scenes all I could think of was the Monty Python crew be completely and absurdly sacrilegious. It was making me laugh continually. I was forever hearing “High on a hill with a lonely goat, yoddlayee, yoddlayee, yoddlay eee ooooo”.

Totally fabulous night with Lottie and Steve. Aoife you really missed out……………maybe next time 🙂

I don't think this was the "Lonely Goat".
I don’t think this was the “Lonely Goat”.

the adventure continues:- Lovin’ Dublin! It is beautiful from one day to the next.

I decided that it was time to go for a wander around Dublin and took myself for a stroll from Sandymount where I am staying, through the back streets and head into the centre of this fair city. As I walked I was getting these flashes of song lyrics in my head. As I passed by the old gas works I was hearing “I met my love, by the gas works wall” from the Pogues song Dirty Old Town.

This is the old gas works - now beautiful apartments.
This is the old gas works – now beautiful apartments.
The streets of suburban Dublin.......
The streets of suburban Dublin…….

Moving closer to town I could start to see the architecture start to change. It became more gothic sort of and the magnitude of the structure changed. They just simply got bigger. I could see this structure at the end of the road I was on and it was enormous, I couldn’t get a good shot of it so I didn’t bother, it just wouldn’t do it justice. I found out later it was the Viking Parliament. It was glorious and the size was very much Viking sized.

Dublin's boasts biking as a form of healthy transport.
Dublin’s boasts biking as a form of healthy transport.

I had lunch at The Bank on College Green. Bangers and mash were the order and I didn’t drink because I had to train in the evening. This bar is gorgeous, simply beautiful to walk into and it was originally the old bank, the safe is still down stair and the little museum is a wonderful walk down amnesia lane for those truly interested.

The Bank on College Green.....great vibe and great food.
The Bank on College Green…..great vibe and great food.

I decided to have a wander around after lunch and checked out some of the sites. An old Georgian era church and a really good doddle through the main shopping district. It is all pedestrian access only and packed with avid consumers all vying for space and discounts. It was great to see some of the very talented street performers too. Really inspiring stuff.

Another grey building.
Another grey building.
This is Dublin's shopping district........on a Monday during summer.
This is Dublin’s shopping district……..on a Monday during summer.

Trinity College the famous home of the Book Of Kells. The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. Trinity College is a beautiful old grey building in the centre of Dublin with stunning grounds, monuments and cenotaphs throughout.

The famous Trinity Collage
The famous Trinity Collage
The grounds at Trinity College.
The grounds at Trinity College.
The cenotaph in the grounds of Trinity College.
The cenotaph in the grounds of Trinity College.

There has also been some venturing about in the “Dublin Bush” on da’ weekend. I was taken for a walk around Dalkey Quarry by my friends Lottie and Steve on Sunday afternoon. This is Dublin’s premiere climbing area. Two tiers of granite, three sectors and not a bolt in sight.

Me looking at the possibilities from the top.
Me looking at the possibilities from the top.
The sharp unforgiving rock of Dalkey Quarry.
The sharp unforgiving rock of Dalkey Quarry.

These routes are runout, only protectable with small gear and an occasional big piece. Anchors are the scrub bushes that the locals trust and happily tell you they are bomber. The slabs are unprotect-able and normally top roped. Climbing here is not for the faint hearted and its also pretty cold too. Here are a couple of pics to give some perspective.

A pretty nice looking pice of granite.
A pretty nice looking pice of granite.
This is the large hard wall at Dalkey Quarry.
This is the large hard wall at Dalkey Quarry.
The 10 metre slabby wall at Dalkey Quarry.
The 10 metre slabby wall at Dalkey Quarry.

We then went down to Greystones for lunch and a wander around the new marina. A lovely day out all in all and very much worth the drive. You can also catch the DART down to Bray as well and its a very scenic trip apparently.

The view from the top. Right the way back to Dublin town.
The view from the top. Right the way back to Dublin town.
A beautiful meadow at the top of the lookout.
A beautiful meadow at the top of the lookout.
Just a nice walk around on a Sunday.
Just a nice walk around on a Sunday.
I just love the level of rebellion in Greystones.
I just love the level of rebellion in Greystones.

I’m off to the cafe now to start  reading “The Little Prince”. This book was a recommendation from Grace and her daughter Alex when we were in Kalymnos in May – June this year. Lottie and Steve just happen to have a copy of it and its cold rainy day in Dublin town today. What better way to spend it…………………… 🙂