Wednesday, July 21, 2010

at least cover your parts, you're going to work. (The Post Wherein I Go Back To The Real World)

getting dressed in the morning has been something of a challenge, ever since returning from our family vacation to Bavaria a little over a week ago. in fact, most things have been something of a challenge. upon returning to work, which, by the way, was in the throes of what some might call a Deadline Crunch (and all the subsequent freakouts and meltdowns) i told my husband that i felt quite like Peter in Office Space, right after the hypnotism heart attack scene. everyone was running around as if there was some kind of unannounced fire drill not involving an ice cream truck, and there i was, in a delightful haze at my desk while twangy tropical music floated through my head. this first day back was followed by several mild temper tantrums, in which i, at least once, declared loudly that if i was not in Europe riding bikes in the mountains, well, then life just wasn't worth living.

needless to say, getting back to normal has been a bit of a challenge. but the deadline at work has passed, and i've had some time to reflect on this trip and forget, at least for a few minutes, that i probably ought to be Doing Something.

i have very little hesitation calling this My Best Trip Ever. (i considered it for a minute, knowing this would knock my High School Junior Year Band Trip to Hawaii out of first place, but then remembered the 10-hour sunburned flight home, and well, that was that.) and not to get all mushy on you, but i believe the reason this trip ranks so highly on my very short list of destinations is not merely the Currywurst, latte macchiatos or even the Sound of Music tour, but because we never stopped moving, not for a minute. we rode bikes along the river in Salzburg, hiked to the top of Kehlstein (or The Eagle's Nest, as we, the Allied, may remember it) and spent countless hours walking to and from our hotels and the charming city centers of each place we visited. and for the first time in my life, i did not even complain about how badly my feet hurt. (okay, so i did once, but i maintain that my father-in-law is responsible for promising a cab ride home and not delivering, even though the promised cab ride home was the reason i wore Those Heels in the first place.) but seriously. for the first time in my life, i was able to enjoy a vacation that wasn't centered around eating until The Ulcer came back and loafing around Doing Nothing. and i started to think, hey, maybe this is what living an active life is all about.

my most favorite part of Bavaria, especially Munich, was how active and fit everyone there was. i wasn't sure what to expect of Germany and Austria, not being really German or Austrian at all, but admittedly knew i wouldn't be surprised by a mass of burly, solid folks dressed in funny leather pants and carrying head-sized mugs of beer. and there definitely were head-sized mugs of beer, but rather than being delivered by buxom barmaids in lace-trimmed aprons, they were skillfully carried, 4 at a time, by seemingly very small but obviously quite strong 20-something girls. (!!) guys, these things were liter mugs of beer. made of heavy glass. FULL OF BEER. half the time, they tossed in a couple head-sized pretzels too, just to show off.

and we haven't even gotten to the bikes. oh! the bikes! everywhere you looked people were using bikes as transportation, rather than driving cars or scooters. sure, there were cars and scooters, but because Munich and Salzburg are so beautifully dense, using a bike to get from place to place really makes a lot of sense. and of course there was no shortage then of yummy bike eye candy. vintage cruisers, stylish new city bikes with all the bells and baskets, sleek road bikes jockeyed by even sleeker young Europeans. guys, it was as if i had died and gone to my very own personally-designed heaven. complete with Turkish food, strong coffee and functional fashion!

so it was no surprise that having realized the pitiful state of disrepair of my old hand-me-down, white-and-teal Trek road bike from the early 1990s just before our trip, that upon returning, we'd find ourselves salivating over new beauties in the local bike shop within mere days. and now, my friends, after a quick test drive and subsequent squealing, i am saving my pennies for this charmer:

while considering this hefty purchase, my husband asked, would i rather have a bicycle or a moped? "bike, duh." i replied. "i'd rather be active than merely have an alternate transportation to work."

... wait, I said that??