Open Water Swimming at West Reservoir Centre, Stoke Newington

A few weeks ago, I’ve decided to pick up open water long-distance swimming [30.07.2021 update: I’ve since completed several long-distance swimming events, but in my mind attempting the 10km Hever Castle Endurance event was the highlight so far, even though I dropped out after 6km]. This is why I started to check out open water swimming venues in and around London. I ended up at West Reservoir Centre in Stoke Newington. Open water swimming? Basically swimming. When I grew up in Germany, my buddies and I would always go wild swimming in rivers and lakes, often several times a week, twice a day during summer. My parents grew up in the Bavarian town of Passau, at the confluence of the mighty Danube, the Inn, and the Ilz rivers. When they were 10 or 11 years old, they swam across the Danube with their big brothers and sisters, zigzagging between the […]

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Bad Hofgastein – this skiing paradise 1h from Salzburg sports the Eastern Alps’ longest slope

To me Bad Hofgastein is synonymous with winter fun. My parents first came here with four of my uncles and aunts and one of my grandmothers in the late 1960s. From the time my sister and I were born in the mid-1970s my parents took us to the same B&B for a week every winter. The owners’ son, who now runs the hotel with his wife and oldest kid, and I engaged in snowball fights and built snowmen 40 years ago. This year round, my parents met up with Ms B & me for just an extended weekend (4 days and 4 nights). While my parents brought all of their own gear, we borrowed ours at Ski-Verleih Service Irausek (pre-ordered via Alpinresorts.com, both of which I’d recommend, even though if you can get a decent deal for ski rental at Angertal valley station then go for that, as much more […]

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Kayaking with ‘New Forest Activities’ – Fair bit of exercise, fabulous fun, and you get to see jellyfish!

Last summer Ms B & I decided to venture to the New Forest again as it was the start of the pannage season when local farmers have permission for two months to let their pigs roam free around the woodlands. The idea is that the pigs eat all the acorns that are harmful for other animals like the free-roaming ponies, horses, and donkeys (in principle the acorns are harmful to pigs too, but these smart badasses simply spit out those bits). Anyhoooo.. didn’t see a single pig, so resorted to other activities. Besides horseback riding (post here), the most fun activity was our 3h kayaking trip with New Forest Activities (£39.90 per person). The starting point is at the beautiful Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum (open air, admission included) on the banks of the Beaulieu river.     At the start of the 18th century a highly ambitious and (following his […]

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Deep Sea Fishing for Congers off Brighton with Grey Viking II

Ever since I first went fishing for gobies with my buddy Marcel as 7-year olds while we were camping next to the Adriatic Sea with our respective families, I am a fan of this sport, even though I hardly ever get a chance to practice it. It’s relatively relaxing, certainly doesn’t usually require enormous effort, you’re out in nature, enjoying the sun, and maybe best of all, you get yourself some nice dinner onto the table, what’s not to like. It’s got something archaic to it like hunting, mountain-climbing, boxing or foraging. While polo is perhaps best left in my view to the Camerons, Borises, and Rees-Moggs out there, surely fishing was for me, the common man (or equally the common woman, if she likes; Ms B is not very fond of it though). I’m saying this despite a horrific fishing incident outside Dallas, TX, in 1991, when I sat […]

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Runner’s MOT with We Run

I’ve been a passionate (yet unambitious) long-distance runner for as long as I can think. Until two years ago I went running 10km every day come hail or high water. Since then, mainly because I got older and lazier, but also because I do not want to over-exert myself, I usually run three to four times a week, and normally a distance of 6 to 8km, with only rarely a 10 or 12k thrown in for good measure. Four times a year Ms B & I take part in organised 10k’s and half-marathons. Five years ago Ms B gave me one of the coolest birthday gifts to date: a 4.5h one-on-one barefoot running training session with a running coach. Long story short, I started barefoot running, then switched back and forth between barefoot running and regular running. When I saw the We Run advertisement for the Runner’s MOT (£90 for […]

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