Saturday, January 25, 2003

Outdoor swimming in the cold Danube
Today I have been to Neuburg near Ingolstadt with Kai and a friend of him. Normally not a place of extraordinary significance, but every January it holds Europe's biggest winter swimming event. Normally more than 2000 people go into the cold river Danube, most of them groups who have built special theme boats for this event to escort them downstream.

(click the two images for bigger ones)

Especially these funny ideas makes it a great event for the numerous sightseers. Well, they could have made a bigger party out of that as there was no supporting programm except some music, an annotator and a mulled wine-stall. Anyway, it was quite fun for a normal Saturday in January.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Back again
A nice day again snowboarding in Austria. The afternoon was as good as the morning was wet. Kai and Steffi have been quite good for their first time on the board. So hopefully we'll do this again soon.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Day trip is coming

Wilder Kaiser/ Austria (& copy 2003 by

Tomorrow I'll go on a day trip to Ellmau in Austria for snowboarding with Kai and Steffi. It's their first time on the board, so I'll definitely have fun. The ski area called "Wilder Kaiser" is Austria's largest with over 250 km of slopes and almost a hundred ski-lifts.

Wilder Kaiser/ Austria (& copy 2003 by

And doesn't it look terrific? I only fear the weather. They forecasted snow which can be quite nasty when it's too wet. Anyway, we'll see.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Skiing photos
The photos from my skiing and snowboarding trip are uploaded and ready to be seen. Go to my pixum photosite or directly to the album.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Frozen lakes in Ingolstadt - finally
Last week wasn't so special except a riday party with Kai, Maxie and Georg where we made raclette (kind of table barbecue) and played some games til midnight when it was time to celebrate Georg's birthday.

Kai and me waited since our arrival here in Ingolstadt that the lakes freeze and that we can skate on them. A good week of very cold weather was enough, so we did it Monday morning at the Baggersee. We would have waited longer but today the warm weather is said to return to South Germany, so yesterday may have been the last chance for outdoor ice-skating for a while. It was snowing and the lake looked so nice under this plain white and innocent surface. The ice beneath was very smooth and nice.

To complete Monday's description: In the evening Marc, Feli, Steffen and me went out with Prof. Lee, whom we know from the Sogang GSIS in Korea where we studied. First we visited the restaurant Weissbräuhaus and later we visited the "le café", a relatively new and very nice bar in Ingolstadt. It was comfortabel to to reminisce about our experiences in Asia and compare the different lifestyles.

(click on the image for a bigger one)

Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Back in Ingolstadt
I'm back to town since Saturday, working on my thesis. I may find some time to go out, just contact me. This evening I have to clean up my calling list and phone some dear friends.
New Year in Austria
It was quite an effort to pack all our stuff into Kai's Audi 100. Ayway, around one o' clock in the night we left his home and hit the road. The autobahn was as empty as expected, therefore it was quite foggy. Our goal was to be at our bed&breakfast at 9 in the morning and we almost Snowboarding Jolle in Soelden, Austria (&copy 2003 by Johannes Beck)succeeded. The guesthouse was located in Laengenfeld, 10 to 15 km from the big ski town Soelden, in the middle of the Tyrolean valley Oetztal.

We had two medium twin rooms including breakfast for around 450 Euro (for both rooms) which is quite cheap for this location and for the most popular skiing week in the year. We also had luck that we had chosen Soelden for our winter location as Austria was hit by warm weather and snow was rare almost everywhere except our nice Soelden ski area, which sports two glaciers and ski pistes in over 3000 m altitude. It snowed for the first 3 or 4 days during the sun was just rarely be seen. But therefore we had the very best powder snow you can imagine.

That was the reason I changed my skies into a new snowboard on the third day. I learned fast and could ride it by the afternoon, waglling down the black pistes or carving on the edges when it was less steep. Snowboarding isn't difficult at all if you have a good sense of balance and not too much fear of speed. I also learned that it makes much more sense to try it on your own at the beginning rather than taking courses. They are not just expensive (50 Euro for the first day) but the result is minor to the well tried learing by doing. From time to time I spied out other snowboarders for their technique and found out that it is quite easy if you just try it out. My second insight was that the more speed you have the more easier and the less shakier you stand on your board. There's nothing more difficult to stay on the board on a flat hill on low speed. And this is where the snowboard school starts. Well, to be honest, I tried out snowboarding already before, but this were just some hours in an Korean ski resort, that's all.

The best day of the week was New Years Day. An empty ski resort (people where still recovering from the New Year's eve), a blue sky, sunshine, beautifull vistas and powder snow. Just wonderful. It was worth getting up at 8 and having had just two hours of sleep.

After four days I returned my board to the rental station. Originally I just wanted to try it out for a day, but I liked it more than expected. Also the board was much better than the one from Korea. I had a brandnew Burton with Salomon shoes and the easy step-in binding. Anyway, the ski pistes got harder during the week and there was less powder snow to ride. In this conditions I still clearly prefer skiing. It's not that funny with a snowboard on an icy piste.

You could get the intention that we've just been skiing, no party, no aprés-ski etc. - Well, that's true. - No, not really. But we were normally skiing from 10 to 4:30, so that we first went home, took a shower and cooked something, before taking any further action. On New Year's eve we partied outside in Soelden til half past midnight, then went into a nice discothèque. For the name of the place and the names of their female guests you better ask Kai than me. I'll forward any inquiries to him :)

The photos are uploaded to my pixum photoalbum. Click on the picture above or here. There ain't that many this time, I was to lazy to carry my camera everywhere.