Wednesday, August 26, 2015

5 days in the mountains

5 days in the mountains. I took about two hundred photos, but didn't really log into the web for the time out there, and didn't write, not even diary notes. I was just out there, after this long time of being caught in an endless list of doctor appointments and treatment dates. Yet coming back, I wrote this note:

5 days in the mountains

Open time, or rather: this open feeling of timelessness. Breakfast on the terrace. Roads we never took before. Feeling like a beginner again, arriving in a new place.

It is so good to be in France, at this lake surrounded by mountains, and then driving into the higher mountains. Being out there, in places where time is flowing slower, and the news of the world more distant.

There’s a different tune of feelings in me, after the days that I went through. In the days that I am in now. All this sun. The open horizon. And then, finally: rain. Which is okay, too: it belongs to this landscape. I stop to watch clouds, the way they move. And see an eagle, soaring up there, in this valley of larger dimensions.

The pass is foggy, but just minutes later, in the valley towards Briancon, the skies clear. I think of the breakfast conversation: “It’s raining but it’s a good day. Every day without doctor date is a good day.”

This feeling of freedom. I could catch a plane and fly to New York for some days, if I wanted to. Could just do it. And the thought: I should do it, at some point. Do those things I tend to postpone. Make time for them.

Because you never can know.


And because it was so good to be out there - out in the mountains, out on the road, out of news and schedules - we will we go on a lil' short trip today.


Here's a short version of the trip in photos:

on the road

our breakfast view at Lake Annecy

watching clouds, and seeing an Eagle (not in the photo :)

mountain butterfly

from mountain to mountain: Mont Blanc view

What the old tree said

What the old tree said 

There is an old tree standing beside the road that runs through this valley, it’s just standing there, not able to move, locked to its place with its roots. As I cycled past it, I thought how sad it must be to grow old near a road like this, to see all the others travelling past you, day in and day out, while you aren’t able to move, while the only thing you can do is to waive your twigs in the wind.

 But the tree smiled at me without any trace of jealousy, and said: “moving and travelling ain’t the same thing, you know. It’s your body that does the moving, but it’s your soul that does the travelling. That’s why it is possible to move for hours without travelling an inch, just as it is possible to travel beyond the horizon without moving a foot.”

I don’t know if that’s true, but it somehow sounded right to me, even so it’s just what an old tree said.


This road memory, it was brought back by driving along the same mountain road again, and by the "Tree" photo theme.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

tyrol short trip: from hospital to road to loft to mountains, or: this new feeling of freedom

Some trips happen well-planned, with route and room fixed weeks ahead. And some trips come together out of the blue. Like this trip to Tyrol. Which basically happened as I had my final hospital appointment this week, on a Wednesday afternoon - after the long time of treatments, especially after the last 7 weeks of daily radiation dates, this brought a feeling a freedom. My partner accompanied me to that date, and we had thought of going to dinner somewhere that evening. Then the forecast turned all rainy for the weekend, and the idea came up to go on a short trip on Thursday and Friday.

We figured out the "details" on Tuesday evening: where to go (Tyrol mountains, staying in Innsbruck for the first night), and when to leave (right on Wednesday afternoon, so that we would wake up in the mountains on Thursday.)

So I booked hotels, via a hotel booking page (, and while figuring out the second hotel, the one close to the centre that I had bookmarked for Innsbruck wasn't available anymore - and so I browsed the listing, and then saw one a bit further from centre, not a usual room, but a loft. Cool, I thought. And it was. This is were we stayed:

And this is the view from the loft, to the city and mountain side:

We even could see the famous "Bergiselschanze", the ski jumping facility of Innsbruck:

We went to the old town for Italian dinner, and could sit outside - it was that warm still at 9 pm. And the Italian restaurant - we just came across it while walking. It was right at the "Freedom Sculpture" place, which turns into a skate-freedom-place in the night, with its own vibe that connects history and youth.

After dinner, we went for a night-sightseeing walk, and realized it's a really lovely and shaded way to explore a city, especially during summer highs.
For some more views of Innsbruck, try the Innsbruck webcam page, or the Innsbruck wiki page.

Then: Thursday. Waking up with mountain view, in a waterbed - yep. hadn't known this, but the double-bed in the loft was a waterbed - it made me think that on a trip, it's all the unplanned things that make it so special.

From Innsbruck, we took the old route to Brenner Pass, and arrived at the top point around noon. You can see the Italy-Austria border crossing sign on the right side, it's an open EU-border.
Here's the wiki note about it: "Brenner Pass is a mountain pass through the Alps along the border between Italy and Austria. It is one of the principal passes of the range and the lowest of the Alpine passes within the area. As a result, it has been coveted throughout history." (more)

Our route lead from Innsbruck through 3 famous passes in the region:
Brenner Pass - Jaufen Pass - Timmelsjoch (which leads back to Austria)

The weather was brilliant, and the mountains are Heidi-film-like there: 

....More gorgeous photos in the file, but it is getting late. Yet before i go for today, this reflection on things:

Still so very glad that we went, especially as it's a rather rainy sunday all around. So the timing really was lucky, and going with the flow on short notice the best idea.

It's strange to think that just 2 weeks ago, I had my last radiation session (more about that, here: radiation countdown + hair identity matters).

On the other hand, travelling showed me directly how not-really-fit-yet I am. We want to travel for some days longer next week (actually this trip was both a lovely short trip and a "test" for going for some more days) - and I realized I better go a bit slower then, and have more leisure time during the day, to relax and recover.

As to the treatment - it's "finished" for the intensive part, but there are still several side effects I am dealing with. There's a next doc date already, and it's good that there is the cure stay upcoming in September, and meanwhile I am working myself on the recovery, and try to get more active again.

Step by step....


mountain road trip sky

for sky friday... a mountain sky moment:

this is a special sky - I finally could go on a trip again, leaving
Wednesday afternoon after my final hospital date.
so good to drive through mountains with this feeling of freedom

the next photo is from the same road,
even taken in the same minute - just a slightly different angle:
this is on the "Fernpass" which leads from Germany to Austria,
on our way to Innsbruck:

more about that trip, in a longer post later today ...

and such weather luck.
today it's rain pouring both in Austria and Germany


more skies from around the world: sky friday 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

evening moon sur/reality

evening full moon
this feeling of walking through a painting;
only that it is simply reality
(last day of july, 20.47 o'clock)

more skies: skywatch friday
more evening tunes: photo friday "End of Day" 

Reading (+crowdfunding) a global walk & road memoirs: Nepal, Europe/US, Worldtrip

Reading: trail notes from one of the longest walks through the world, and road memoirs:

Since last year, I am reading the trek notes of a global walk: Paul Salopek, a journalist who won the Pulitzer, is walking the world, following the trail of humans from the origins in Africa along the directions they walked to migrate and spread. The name of his project is “Out of Eden Walk”, it’s partly supported by National Geographic.

The walk will be 7 years long, leading through 4 continents. Salopek started walking 2 years ago, in Ethopia. From there, his journey took him to Djibuti, and to Saudi Arabei. His journey notes are collected in an online archive: Out of Eden Walk - Notes

To finance his walk, Salop does a yearly Kickstarter campaign. I joined in backing his previous one, and now his new one is coming to closure: 4 days left, and 43.598 of 45.000$ funded. I just backed it, too. Here's the Kickstarter link: Out of Eden Walk.

Here's a summary of the walk so far, from the Kickstarter page: 

"In January 2013, Paul walked out of Ethiopia. He’s since traversed Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Cyprus, Turkey, and crossed the Caucasus Mountains into the Republic of Georgia. Pausing only when seasonal or geopolitical factors demand, Paul won’t break from the Out of Eden Walk trail until he reaches the tip of South America, where our ancestors also ran out of new horizons.
 The physical rigors of the journey, though obvious, are far from the point. The Out of Eden Walk is primarily a storytelling quest into the lives of the people and the human landscapes that Paul encounters on the trail. Moving at the slow beat of his footsteps, Paul is revealing the inner worlds of people he encounters: the nomads, villagers, traders, farmers, and fishermen who don't ordinarily make the news. The Walk is a way of being; a commitment to humanity."


Global walks - that could also be the titel theme for some of the books I read recently:

"Even Everest Shook: Caught in the Nepal Earthquake 2015"
by  Tony Hill
This is a touching read, starting light-hearted and adventurous, and then turning a book about witnessing the devastating earthquake on a personal level, as part of a trekking group:
"After visiting the ancient temples and squares of Kathmandu, Tony Hill and a group of fellow travellers from around the world set off up the Himalayan valleys Everest bound. Only 3 days into the trek they were in a mountain village when the devastating Nepal Earthquake struck. Lucky to escape uninjured, they find themselves stranded. Journey with Tony Hill, before, during and in the aftermath of the earthquake, experience breathtaking beauty, the bonding and humour of a diverse set of characters, then overwhelming tragedy, and the fragility, resilience and spirituality of the human condition."

"2 years 4 months 2 hours : From Italy to the world - A memoir of love and travel"
by Chiara Townley
A personal and emotional memoir of Chiara, written in diary notes and mails, about the difficult journey of 2 people from different continents from the first meeting to the final reunion: "Chiara meets Tyler in London while she's working in a hotel. For her it's love at first sight. She is from Italy and he is American. There is no time for dating because he's leaving for a trip to South America then back to the US. What happens next is the journey of a woman that follows her heart against all odds."


"Journeyman" by Fabian K├Ârner
This is a German book: the memoir of trying to travel all continents in a year and work in each for a while - interesting read, especially with the focus on the working, which gives the journey a different spin and focus and differnet destinations, away from the usual tourist trails.


Reading Links:

For more reading notes, click here: life as a journey with books 

reading list by regions is online at: World Reads by country

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

3 circles, or: from distant to right here

The first circle: the dome of the state theater in Stuttgart, with its strange moon effect.

The moon brought me to the second image, a rather distant circle: the full moon in a summer night.

And the third, smallest cirlce: the mandala I painted on monday. It’s the latest in an almost daily series, and it’s interesting how different they turn out. There is no plan to them, just the page and the moment: the circle of right here, right now.


More circles: photo friday

Monday, August 3, 2015

today: the final radiation date, and this lightness of healing

today: the first monday of august
today: driving that road to the hospital for the 40th time, smiling with this light feeling of happiness
today: wearing my yellow radioactive t-shirt
today: trying a reflection photo that didn't really work...

but i post it anyway, for that yellow moment
today: my final radiation date, which was same like the ones before, and so different.
today: finally pulling away the medical radiation marker plasters under the shower
today: time to start healing for good.

The nature photo above is from yesterday - it was a beautiful sunny day, and i felt like driving up to the Alb plateau. Haven't been there for a while. There's a summer sculpture walk now, and i enjoyed the stroll through the landscape and the art, along the open horizon. a good place to reflect, and think about time, about the weeks past, and the time ahead:

For me, august will be about recovering and healing. Finally, finally, just healing, and not getting-well-enough-to-be-okay-for-the-next-treatment.

It felt symbolic, to walk there, towards the wider view.

Another tiny symbolic moment: today i received an invite for the frankfurt book fair 2015. the fair, it feels like a time marker: the day at the frankfurt book fair 2014 was the last day of ease and taking-health-for-granted for me. one day later, back home, i found the lump in my breast. that day is like a divide: the time before, the time after.

now, into this new days..  into the lightness of healing. and so lovely that summer is coming with blue skies right now.


previous, longer blog post with links:
radiation countdown + hairy identity matters + shadowlight