• You call this “short”?

    by  • 28 April, 2008 • General, Travel • 1 Comment

    My “short break” turned out to be a rather longish break. Everything went fine with the trip to Brussels. We had some problems at the car rental desk due to my credit card having extended it’s limit for the month (I didn’t keep track carefully enough) but after 3 hours of phone calls and running from one booth to the other, we were on our way in a small Ford Ka to my father’s place on Saturday morning. The weather was unexpectedly nice, sunny and dry. That would change quickly though.

    My trip from Lanaken to Nijkerk started out in the rain on Sunday morning 6 o’clock. I had planned on leaving at seven, so I had set the alarm on my mobile to wake me up at six. Problem was that the clock of my mobile had not been automatically reset to take into account the one hour time difference. So effectively I was running around at five before I noticed it. Except for the rain the 2 hour trip went pretty smooth. I found out that the little Ka didn’t have much of acceleration power in 4th or 5th gear.

    I arrived in Nijkerk at the Zhineng Qigong workshop venue 2 hours before due time. Fortunately the bar/restaurant was open so I could have a coffee (or two, or three). The workshop went pretty well. I got some special attention from Patricia for my back problem. She couldn’t find anything wrong with my movements. Yet in the afternoon I started developing back pains at the level of the lower lumbar vertebrae. An assistant monitored me closely for the rest of the sessions and we discovered that what I think is a “straight back” as in a normal relaxation state is in effect a “hollow back”, tensed and tight. I also tend to “lock up” my knees. At least in that respect I wasn’t the only one and we had some quite hilarious moments trying to correct that.

    So, not a bad result: I discovered what it is that I have to do so that I can move forward with my Zhineng Chigong practice… Only problem is: I’ll need to give it some rest since my lower back is now totally effed up by the day long practice followed by 5 nights in a bed which is too soft for me. The trip back to Crete was pure torture from beginning to end. The first night back home I didn’t sleep at all, I couldn’t lay down, sitting was a pain after more than a few minutes, walking around was the only alternative. That’s the reason I couldn’t start blogging right away, I find it rather difficult to type while walking. Over the next days my back would improve gradually, giving me some extra sleep for every night passing. I would usually wake up in the dark, crawl (sometimes literally) to the couch in the living room (which has a very hard bottom) and doze for a few more hours there. Today I had the first complete uninterrupted night’s sleep, waking up at seven o’clock. Fantastic!

    In the mean time, during our trip:

    • we had one night below zero while in Belgium!
    • at the same time Crete had another “bloody rain” experience with temperatures up to 39°C (102°F).
    • we had the best cuttlefish (σουπιές) on the grill ever at Dimitri’s place in Maasmechelen (Taverna Olympia).
    • in one week we watched 2 football matches and 1 biking classic (Amstel Gold Race) on television with my father, something I would never do otherwise. We enjoyed it too!
    • Yvonne and I modeled for an art project of Lucien, so soon we will be famous somewhere. Perhaps not.

    Easter in Crete came and went pretty much unnoticed by us, as we — or rather I — was forced to stay at home, unlike all the previous years when we packed up and moved to the mountains or the south coast. We’ll catch up next year. In any event, albeit a little late, Χρόνια πολλά για όλους!

    Huge Platanos in Krási, CreteRuud and Yolanda arrived three days ago, just as the weather took a turn for the worst. We managed to spend some good time with them at what must be the wettest Easter ever. That resulted in another nominee for “Taverna of the month”: Káres in Krási, 20km south of Mália, 600 meters up in the mountains on the way to the Lassithí Plateau. We had excellent lamb in the oven, with the usual assortment of side dishes. Krási hosts a huge “plátanos” (plane or sycamore), more than a 1000 years old according to the locals, with the largest circumference (24 meters/78 feet) of any plane tree in Europe.

    One Response to You call this “short”?

    1. kat
      2 May, 2008 at 13:04

      LOL! How fun, well except the part about your back. :(

      Glad to have you back in GR and thanks for sharing your time abroad. I haven’t practiced Qi Gong in years.

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