Kitesurfing (well, for now: kiting) near London with The Kitesurf Centre

I had been wanting to learn how to kitesurf for quite a while. So as soon as the last lockdown was over and it was possible to book training sessions again, I booked one of the first sessions available near London, a two-hour personal training session. The Kitesurf Centre There are quite a few options of learning how to kitesurf within a doable distance from the Big Smoke. I picked The Kitesurf Centre in Camber Sands near Rye, about 95km to the southeast of London (135km by car or train), roughly two thirds of the way from Brighton to Dover on a beautiful beach. A Family Business The kitesurfing school has been founded by two brothers, Thomas and Tristan, in 2007. Both of them had run a number of watersports companies around the world until then. They were joined by brother #3, Rupert, a few years later. All three men […]

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Open Water Swimming at West Reservoir Centre, Stoke Newington

A few weeks ago, I’ve decided to pick up open water long-distance swimming. This is why I started to check out open water swimming venues in and around London. 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, who grew up in the Bavarian town of Passau, at the confluence of the mighty Danube, the Inn, and the Ilz rivers, when they were 8 or 9 years old, they swam across the Danube zigzagging between the mighty freight ships heading towards the Atlantic Ocean from the Black Sea or vice versa. Here in the UK in the 21st Century visiting a lido as a grown-up is already considered to be quite adventurous. Wild-swimming has the sound of anarchy and is about as reputable as wing-suiting or base-jumping.   […]

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Rollerskiing in Hyde Park, London – Loving it!

We have tried out rollerskiing in Hyde Park, London, for the first time last summer. We’ve already been back, since, and were about to book more sessions when London was placed under the current lockdown. Prior Experience Inline Skating and Cross-Country Skiing Both Ellie and I have done a fair bit of inline skating. For Ellie it’s been several years since she last put on her skates, I usually go inline skating several times a year. As a kid, growing up close to the Bavarian Alps in Germany, my parents regularly took me cross-country skiing. One popular track started just behind our backyard. As a result of our different backgrounds, I found it a lot easier than Ellie to learn the basics of rollerskiing. I am still very much a beginner, but I feel comfortable on the rollerskis and can easily and safely get from A to B. Two Techniques: […]

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Packrafting in Wales with Tirio – Mountains to Sea

Last August, Jason and Marianne from Tirio invited me to join one of their tour groups for a weekend of packrafting in Wales. The two-day tour I took part in is called “Mountains to Sea”, because, as you guessed, you start in the mountains of Snowdonia and you finish at the shore of the Irish Sea.  What is packrafting? I will be frank: I had not heard about packrafting before. Apparently, this new sport developed in the 1980s in Alaska. Packrafting refers to a combination of rafting and hiking, often combined with camping. Each member of the group carries their own light-weight inflatable rubber boat (strictly speaking TPU or “Thermopolyurethene”), paddle and any other hiking gear. This includes camping gear, when staying out in the wilderness for more than one day. Sounds like a hassle? Well, I should mention that the raft, inflatable seat, pump, life jacket, and foldable paddle […]

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The Amazing Chihuly in Kew Gardens: ‘Reflections on Nature’

One of Ms B’s and my biggest regrets in 2019 is that we only visited Dale Chihuly’s ‘Reflections on Nature’ exhibition of glass sculptures in Kew Gardens a few days ago, and not much earlier, thus missing out on the opportunity to return again and again. The exhibition will close forever on 27 October after a hugely successful six months. Ms B, whose nick name at school apparently was ‘voucher chick’, managed to find us a 50% discount, which brought the ticket’s price down to £9 per person (deal can be found here) Even the full price of £18 is extremely good value for what you get. They also offer great deals for families. We’ve been big fans of Chihuly’s for many years now, and especially of his large-scale outdoor sculptures. His equally well-received 2005 Kew Gardens exhibition was one we missed out on, because Ms B was busy settling […]

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