The end of 2019!
2019 has been a good year, and as you can see my cycling total for the year isn’t tooooo shabby:
I also did quite a bit of walking after getting my Garmin Vivoactive 3 smartwatch:
And I am particularly proud that I managed to hit my Steps goal 103 days in a row! So that was 8000 steps (about 6km) every day for over three months. Boxing Day was the first day that I didn’t hit the goal as we had visitors most of the day, after they left it was rainy and dark, and then we had to get on the ferry – at some point I had to stop reaching my target!
I wasn’t always walking alone with Poppy though – Klaus also came along, as did his daughter Lara when she visits us.
Poppy finds Klaus rather fascinating as it tends to be him who feeds her in the morning so she associates him with goodies…
They have a lovely relationship!
Here is my Veloviewer Wheel for the whole year with cycling in red and walking in green.
This year I cycled in Germany, the Netherlands, England, Austria and Switzerland.
And as for the month of December, it wasn’t brilliant (I was very busy at work and also in England for a week)
On a large proportion of these rides I have been accompanied by my partner Klaus, and also many rides with Ralf the Cookie Monster, days on the summer tour with TimB, Uli, Christoph and Anna, and the final hurrah of Oliebollentocht with 160+ velomobiles. Thanks again for everyone who rode with me during the year – it was great fun sharing cycling time together.
Mannheim twice in December
Klaus’s father lives in Mannheim and we visited twice during December.
The first visit was before Christmas and Klaus’s daughter Lara came with us. The plan was to visit Opa (Granddad) with Lara and then also visit a Christmas Market in Mannheim.
Mannheim had a really good selection of Christmas Markets and shops too, and we had a very enjoyable couple of hours wandering around looking at all the goodies. And we had a very successful time in one Christmas Market stand where we bought two hats (one for me and one for Klaus), a scarf and some ear-warmers. It was not cheap but they were good items – I am always looking for suitable hats so was delighted to find one!
I also found some Poffertjes on sale
And then afterwards we went to the Eiscafe Fontanelle which is where Spaghetti Eis was apparently invented. It was too cold for ice cream so we had a hot drink instead.
We had lunched at a nice Italian restaurant and walked about 9km around the Christmas Markets so it was a good day with lots of exercise!
The second visit to Mannheim was for Silvester/New Year’s Eve where we visited Klaus’s father and joined him for lunch at a local restaurant.
On the way we stopped for a coffee and I had a play with my new iPhone camera which is brilliant!
After lunch with Klaus’s father we returned to his flat and he gave us some Cheesecake.
We gave him a mince pie with clotted cream in return, not sure what he made of them!
We had to be back in Kempen for the evening because of the fireworks and the dog, and ended up putting on the 5 hour long DVD of Das Boot to shut out the fireworks noise for Poppy. It partially worked, although I think depth charges and fireworks are probably not that much different. It was good to see Klaus’s father again and wish him the best for 2020.
Christmas in England
As for the past three years, Klaus and I have travelled to England to celebrate Christmas with my Mum.
As usual we took the ferry across from Hoek van Holland but this time travelled during the day which involved lots of watching films on the iPad etc while the Ferry did its eight hour trip. But it was a good way to relax before the holiday.
We arrived at Mum’s house in Witnesham which was of course all decorated for Christmas (we have very few decorations at home in Kempen as we are never here for Christmas).
As I was still doing my walking challenge we went out for several walks. We wandered north from Witnesham into Swilland where we visited the church which was still open during the day.
It was a very traditional English church and very similar to that in Witnesham (although smaller), but I think Mum said they only have one service per month now.
On Christmas Eve we decided to take a trip to see the sea and rather than going to Aldeburgh we would travel a bit further to Southwold as I had never been there before. It turned out to be lovely!
We had parked a fair way from the town but there was a nice walk across some dunes until we reached the main area with lots of beach huts.
Of course we saw the sea too!
After walking for a bit we wandered into the town, passing the Adnams Brewery site and then deciding to have a piece of cake for lunch. We found one of the Wilkin & Sons Tea Rooms (they have one in Tiptree which we have often visited) and I had the requisite Cream Tea.
Klaus, being continental, had a slice of cake.
This was about the maximum for him as he finds British cakes incredibly rich. My genes are correctly aligned to allow me to eat these things without any ill-effects.
On our way back towards the car we saw a sign which may have partly explained why there were so many dogs at Southwold:
For our walk back the skies were less blue.
In the photo below you can see in the far distance the shape of Sizewell B, one of the British nuclear reactors. Having watched the HBO series of Chernobyl just before heading to the UK it does make you think!
When we got back home it was technically Christmas for Klaus (Heiligabend), which is when the main Christmas meal is eaten. So, just because he could, we decided to walk to the pub in Swilland so he could have a pint on Christmas Eve.
This seems to have fulfilled some long-desired wish so we walked home again.
Christmas Day was celebrated with just the three of us (Klaus and I and my Mum) but we had the proper turkey and all the trimmings and it was lovely!
We were both relaxing a lot, reading books and taking it easy.
I was reunited with the 1,600 tea bags I had stored at Mum’s and which we would take home with us – Mum bought an extra packet of teabags for my tea drinking at her house!
On Boxing Day we were visited by my sister and her daughter and son-in-law, plus their dog Chip. We had a lovely time with them, eating Christmas turkey again (although Anna and Gwen also had a veggie option which looked nice). Anna had brought along a “Chocolate Bomb” which turned out to be a kind of treacle pudding but with chocolate. This was a mega sugar affair, but as Klaus and I were being non-Keto for the Christmas period we tried some. It was OK but very, very filling!
Before we headed back to the ferry on Boxing Day evening I popped to a supermarket to get some supplies. I got a bit carried away as things seemed such good value in UK supermarkets, plus the selection of some things is rather better. In a German supermarket we tend to get one type of Cheddar, usually Cathedral City, and here in Sainsbury’s Ipswich we had four metres long of cheddar…
I ended up taking 3kg home, plus clotted cream, Tiptree jam and scones for Gudula and Frank, and even a pyrex bowl because it was a third of the price than in Germany. I do miss UK supermarkets!
Our journey back was good, we travelled overnight and were back in Kempen at 10:30 in the morning on the 27th. We saw Lara in the afternoon and the next day was Oliebollentocht, the velomobile gathering for which I have written a separate blog post here.
After Oliebollentocht we had a quiet few days as Klaus had picked up a cold in England and it laid him a little low.
But all in all it has been a good month and a good year and we are looking forward to 2020.
Cakes this month
And not just a cake, but I also made some Keto Sushi which was a bit of a success!
I do hope that all of my readers have had a good 2019 and that we will enjoy 2020 with all its opportunities and interests. It will be my last year as a European Citizen (as far as I know) but we will cross whatever hurdles Brexit gives us when we meet them.
Happy New Year everyone!