23.2.14

22.02.2014

SLEDDING IN THE BLACK FOREST

I have written on this blog in the time that I’ve been here that snow doesn’t do anything for the amateur photographer – it’s pretty boring to look at in photos. But when you’re there it’s much nicer.

Snow like sand at a beach that has had super glue stirred through it which hasn’t quite set yet. It’s solid for the first part of a footstep, but then it crunches a little and gives way just a bit. You don’t progress as far as you thought you would. It can be written as a “crunch”, but it sounds more like a “pop” – someone walking along compacted snow sounds like multiple potato guns being fired in the next room.

Today I was once again in the Black Forest, and very close to its highest point. There’s a good walk up and then a warm lunch, followed by a very quick way to get down. It involves the wooden contraption you dragged behind you the whole way there: the sled.

The sled is a little thing. About 40 centimetres wide and 1 metre long, it doesn’t look very stable – but remarkably it is, which is verified by the fact I didn’t come off at all.

I’m told the snow was bad today and as a result the sleds didn’t travel particularly quickly. It was a struggle between going as quick as possible and the powdery upper layer of snow clogging up the runners and bringing the thing to a halt.

If a cracking pace can be sustained the light snow that is falling around you flicks into your face and clings to any fibrous surfaces – beanies, pants and scarves. Your boots – chief steering apparatus – are clog up with snow as you plant them down to direct yourself away from rocks, the edge of a cliff, barrier, walkers or any other form of impending death.

And you don’t believe I did any of this? Well, does the following picture of yours truly help you?

The author sitting on a sled in the snow

What? So you can’t see the sled, I grant you that. But do you really think I would be sitting in the snow and obtaining my very own personal wet arse?

 

FOOTBALL – i.e. SOCCER – WATCHING

Football, as they call it here, is a big deal. Every second person you talk to plays in a team, and there are impromptu matches springing up all over the place. There are countless teams and associations and everyone has an opinion on who’s the best. But a good Australian friend who is also here tells me there is one fundamental difference: they don’t really “get into it” when they’re watching it on the telly.

He told me they just don’t get excited. “When [the team I was going for1] scored a goal I got up and was screaming and carrying on. When the ref was being an arse I was up on my feet saying he was an effing moron. But they [the people here] were just sitting back and watching. When a goal was scored by our team they would just say, ‘That wasn’t bad’, and give a light clap,” he said.

I suppose they were looking at him with heads tilted to one side.

I wonder why this is. Perhaps people here are sensible?

 

1Not really caring what team anyone goes for I can’t remember who was playing. But if anyone asks, I have nothing against SC Freiburg, even though they’re currently 17th on the ladder, which isn’t that flash, and they lost this evening to some other team 4-2.

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