USA 2nd visit: 18.09. - 04.12.2009

A bit shorter than the German version, but at least translated! :-)

All the stories from Canda are now translated!

Route: Buffalo, (Las Vegas), Buffalo, East Aurora, Alfred, Hornell, Finger Lakes, Syracuse, Uthica, Scotia, Troy, Bennington, Brattleboro, White River Junction, Randolph, Waterbury, Rutland, Manchester, Bennington, Berlin, Poughkeepsie, Port Jervis, Delaware Water Gap National Park, Palmerton, Harrisburg, Baltimore, Washington DC, New York
330. Weekly Report 18.09.- 27.09.2009

Route: Buffalo, Las Vegas, Buffalo

Marie-Anne and Ray: As we decided to take just one bike to the bikeshow we asked Mary-Anne and Ray, Warm Showers members, if we could stay with them before and after the bikeshow and if we could as well store one bike and some gear at their place in the meanwhile. We feel pretty bad as we ask for so much, but Mary-Anne receive us with open arms. They are both lawyers and life in a very beautiful old house in Buffalo. While we're busy al day long to arrange everything for the bikeshow we get treated with an awesome dinner and some lovely conversations until late at night. As this would not be already enough their son Dan (who dedicates his time Capuera the Brazilian form of martial arts) gives us a ride to the airport!
Ondirt Demo: Vaude, the company who supported us with their waterproof panniers since the beginning of our trip and now also with a tent and some clothes, invited us to join them at Interbike in Las Vegas (the second biggest bikeshow in the world). As we're right now already in the east of the USA they paid for the flight to Las Vegas and our hotel room and so we're now for a couple of day back in Nevada (on our trip we've been here already 7 months ago). the first two days we join them with Nadines fully packed bike during Ondirt Demo, the test days of the show. Nadines bike receives a lot of interest and so we even end up with a small photo in the Magazine published during the show. We also set out on a small testride and are impressed from the new Suspensions and Discbreakes from Magura. there happened certainly quite a bit during the last 6,5 years.
Interbike:After the two test days everybody shifts into the convention center. Besides our packed bike we also have a worldmap, showing our route, and some photos of our trip with us. While Nadine is busy all day long answering all the questions about our trip I'm busy to explain the dealers the features of the Vaude panniers ad backpacks (Good luck that I worked in an outdoorstore for a couple of years so that I felt quite familiar with all the features). After we show we grab a quick shower and then we set out together with the people from Vaude, Magura and Uvex for dinner. On the first evening we end up in the Hofbräuhaus, a funny imitation of German beerfestival culture, but quite a shock for us. Back in Our hotel we are always pretty busy as we either have to prepare the map or arrange some photos Cd's so that I'm always busy until 02:30 am or even 03:30 am! We're so busy that we even find no time to jump into the pool in our hotel. The reaction to our trip form the visitors and even the other exhibitors is huge. All of the 500 postcards we printed for the show found happy new owners and even some companies approach us and ask us if we would like to test their gear. As Uvex and Magura are at the same booth as Vaude we also get some new helmets, new Hydraulic breaks and Nadine a new front fork. On the photo you can see us with Ruthie Matthews (the super friendly MTB racing legend).
Flying back to Buffalo: When we check in Nadines bike on our way back to Buffalo the Check In guy from Continental Airlines packs out is measuring tape and tells us, that the linear length (length + width + height) is once 1 inch (2 cm) and once 4 inch (10cm) too big,. When I offer him to pack it a bit smaller he asks me: "You really would do that?!" "For sure! To save the 100,-$ surcharge I certainly would repack it!". The guy at the check in considers the mess I would create at his Check In and agrees to take it without any surcharge. Completely exhausted from he bikeshow we sleep most of the time on our way back but awoke just in time to see the Niagara Falls before we land in Buffalo. Reclaiming our bags one of the bikeboxes is ripped completely open. The box was checked by the airport security and they didn't bother to reseal it properly. While the "friendly" people from TSA accuse the airline for the damage the airline people accuse TSA. We decide to check all our gear right t the airport and good luck: nothing is missing.
Recovering and a great surprise: Thanks to Mary Anne's and Ray's hospitality we can stay until Monday in Buffalo. Nadine is so tired that she falls asleep for 17 hours after the show. As we're not used to so many people around us, the bikeshow was pretty exhausting for us. So we use our days of to recover, to catch up with our journals while we also enjoy Dan's lovely homebaked cookies. Finally we check our webstatistics just to find out, that the visitors of our website jumped from 230 a day to nearly 700 on the Monday after the show. So nearly everybody who got our postcards also checked our website. :-)
331. Weekly Report 28.09.- 04.10.2009

Route: East Aurora, Alfred, Hornell

The Palmer House:Instead of camping during our first night back on the road we got invited by Palmer and Sharon. The bought the old Mansion which once belonged to Abbot Griggs 120 years ago. They worked hard for a couple of years and now opened the house as a lovely B&B. They accommodate us in the Roycroft Room, named after the artist community founded by Elbert Hubbard in East Aurora. At the moment Sharon and Palmer restore the Fisher Price room, named after the local toy company. The Fisher Price room will probably be a special treasure as they plan to decorate it with a lot of old toys. Besides the guestrooms also the entire house and especially the saloon and the dining room are real treasure. Not only that we spend the night in this lovely house but we also get treated with a great tour around the house, a lovely dinner and a great breakfast.
Bicycleman: Scott and Becky told us about a recumbent bike testcenter located in Alfred Station NY. As it is almost on our way we stop by, but as it is raining we can't test anything. Instead Peter the bicycleman allows us to pitch our tent in the still empty house which is supposed to be the new bikestore next spring. Very convenient as it is pouring outside. Debra, who works for Peter, also invites us for dinner. The rest of the evening we spend in on a comfortable couch in a cozy cafe in Alfred.
Recumbent Bike Test: Next day we're surprised by the blue sky, so nothing can stop us now to test the recumbent bike. first we check out the trikes and are surprised, how fast they are. I think they are a really great option for people who have trouble to balance a normal bike. Then we check out some of the recumbent bike and while Nadine prefers the ones with a long wheelbase (they run smooth straight ahead) martin prefers the ones with a short wheelbase (they are more agile). But at least we agree, that the underseat steering is what we really prefer. Though we still prefer our normal bikes as they give us more options, we now can see why other people love their recumbent bike. Recumbent bikes and trikes are even pretty good for touring as Scott and Becky showed us. Though they are slower on the uphill they are much faster on the downhill and probably even on flat ground, thanks to their better aerodynamics. But check the out for yourself! (Peters recumbent bike test center), (Peters own recumbent bikes. Good handling and not as expensive as many similar bikes)
Gary and Kathy: As we wanted to use the sunny day we said good bye to Peter and Debra. But Just 13 Km later we stop in front of a supermarket where we chat wit Gary. Gary cycles back home but returns a couple of minutes later to invite us. Eliot and Sam, Garry's and Kathy's two boys are pretty exited about us to stay with them and as it is supposed to rain again on Sunday we decide to stay another day. On Sunday afternoon their family comes over and so we show our small slideshow on their TV. Eliot, first a bit shy warms up with us and besides many hugs Nadine even gets as kiss from him.
332. Weekly Report 05.10.- 11.10.2009

Route: Hornell, Finger Lakes, Syracuse, Uthica

Highschool: Kathy is an English teacher at the local Highschool and so she asks us, if we could talk to her students about our trip. So I again shorten our slideshow as we have only 45 minutes for presenting it. The school is super modern and so we have no trouble to connect our camera to the dataprojector in the classroom. I need exactly 35 minutes to present our last 6,5 years, but for this I have to speak very very fast! I was very interesting to see, that most of the younger kid's (8th grade) have been still very interested and curious while the older student's (11th grade) were mostly already too cool for it. After the fifth show I'm finally exhausted and Nadine has to take over for the last presentation. As we finally leave school in the afternoon it's already a bit too late to start cycling and so we stay another night with Gary and Kathy.
Finger Lakes: Gary decides to take a day off and cycles with us through the Finger Lakes region. Of course he also has to testride one of our bikes and as he is very strong he has no trouble with my heavy bike. Fall is presenting itself from it's best side with lots of sunshine and so we have a great day until Gary gets picked up by Kathy and the kids in Penn Yan.
Indian Summer: Though being on our way to Vermont for some Indian Summer it's already pretty beautiful here.
Camping next to a church: Syrause is much bigger than expected and on our way out it's getting already dark. Around sunset Jim stops in his car and suggests that we could sleep next to the church. We just pitched our tent in a small forest next to the church when Jim returns with about 25 kids and some of their parents. Of course they are curious the hear something about our trip and so we show them our map and some photos with our flashlights .
Scott Mott: It's just not raining for awhile when Scott, offers us a dry place for the night. Scott is commuting everyday 20 miles one way to his work. It's already impressive during summer, but Scott even cycles all winter long with temperatures down to -15° C . As he work starts early for him he's pretty often out on the road even before the snowploughs are out. That way he cycles about 13000 Km a year, which is not much less than we cycle though he still has a normal job!
Sculpture garden: Next morning, after Scott returned from work, he shows us the nearby sculpture garden. Off all the sculptures we especially enjoy the bookshelf which is growing out of a tree. Scott is not yet tired from cycling today and so he joins us for a couple of kilometers on our way towards Vermont on this beautiful and sunny day.
333. Weekly Report 12.10.- 18.10.2009

Route: Scotia, Troy, Bennington, Brattleboro, White River Junction, Randolph

Invitation week: This week we just slept two night in our tent. First we got invited by Audra and Kevin, two very good friends of Gary and Kathy from Hornell. Audras and Kevins kids have lots of energy and so we spent and lovely and exiting evening before we fall asleep in a cozy bed.
David, Tony and Laura: Though he himself stayed with his friends Tony and Laura David invited us to sleep in their Garden. We pitch our tent under the trees, but it got so cold that it is frozen in the morning. Before we set out again we quickly visit the primary school across the street where Tony and Lauras son attends first grade. On a huge worldmap an the wall we show them our trip and they especially like our photo from the Urang Utans in Indonesia.
Indian Summer: Due to the many invitations we're now a bit late for the Indian Summer , but there are still enough leaves on the trees in Vermont.
Paul and Kathy: We just picked up some parcels from the post office in Brattleboro and are looking for a good campsite as a snowstorm is supposed to come when we got invited by Paul and Kathy. They live in a lovely loghouse and with ha hot chocolate next to the wooden oven we warm up quickly. As we're not used to the modern world any more Nadine sips in the shower, injures her knee and is bleeding quite a bit. Afraid of the big snowstorm we stay another day and spend the evening playing with their kids.
Jan: While we cycled all day long through pretty remote areas wit's getting quite built up in the evening. It would have been pretty difficult to find a campsite, but just around evening Jan stops in her car and invites us.. Jan works for the school authorities taken care of kids with special needs. Originally she also studied classical flute and so just as we are ready to depart the members of her flute choir come in to practice for their concert.
Frosty nights: Slowly the nights get more frosty and it's getting even so cold that the water is frozen in our water bottles. Unfortunately the sun needs quite long to melt the frost from our tent which makes our short days even shorter.
334. Weekly Report 19.10.- 25.10.2009

Route: Waterbury, Rutland

Magura:After the Interbike Magura USA decided to support us with hydraulic brakes and Nadines bike also with a front fork. so they shipped all the stuff to Aaron, who used to work for Magura. Right now Aaron is on vacation and so he helps us (or more exactly we help him a little bit) to put the breaks and the fork onto our bikes. While we had no trouble at all with Martins bike it was a bit tricky to get Nadines new fork (Magura Menja) in and also to connect her lowrider (front rack). We solve our first problem with a new headset and the second as we drill bigger wholes into the connection plates and while bending them a bit. I thought it would take may be 1-2 hours to replace the breaks and the fork but in the end it took us 1,5 days and this even though Aaron helped us so much! What would we have done without him? Finally everything is done and the difference is tremendous. Nadines front wheel is stable again and if we pull our break levers our bike slows down immediately. Seems that our old stuff was already a bit too old.
Aaron and Shannon: We come along pretty well and so we spend two nights with Aaron and Shannon. Aaron really loves bikes and so he owns about 20 of them. Every bike is a small treasure and I especially like his touring bike which has a titanium frame. The weldings are so good, that I can hardly see them even though the frame is not painted! On our second day Aaron and Zilla (his dog) take us out for a bikeride into the mountains. The trails are really cool and so we have a lot of fun cruising through the colorful forests. Aaron rides his 29er singelspeed and even though he has just one gear (therefore it's named singlespeed and 29er means that the tires are 29 inches big) we have no change to keep up with him on the uphills! Also on the downhills we can't follow Aaron as he used to compete in professionally in MTB races. We spend the evenings in front of the warm oven
(here we're as good as Aaron) and if reason wouldn't have won at 01:30am, Aaron and Martin would have chatted until sunrise. Thanks Aaron for everything! We're looking forward to welcome you and Shannon at our place in Germany, so that we can check out the trails in our region. (But is is true for nearly everybody whom we met in the last couple of years though we did not always write it onto our website).
Vermont: Vermont with its mountains, forests, valleys, small villages and rivers is a real treasure!
Rainy day: Finally the rain came back but as we have been prepared we found a pretty good campspot and spent the day translating the missing parts of our English journals. We also started our new baby, the Photo of the Week and the Photo of the Month.
Union for Touring Cyclists: We think that it's getting time to establish a Union for touring cyclists. Here our program: 1 Flat bikepaths (even in the mountains). 2. Unlimited supply with chocolate and ice-cream (even though our members who are concerned about their health won't like it, but Martin insists on it!) 3. No flat tires! 4. Constant sunshine while cycling (for taking photos storms and thunderstorms are temporary allowed as they add some drama). Tailwind for everybody (Even if two cyclists cycle on the same road in opposite directions). Initially we also wanted to add "Never ending downhills" but this would degrade our bicycles to rollerbikes and also couldn't exist alongside #1 (flat bikepaths). I also planned to ban "slave drivers" but Nadine instantly used her Veto right, so that she can continue pushing me to work harder. If someone has another good idea which should be added to our program then please send us an email or even better put it into our Guestbook.
335. Weekly Report 26.10.- 01.11.2009

Route: Manchester, Bennington, Berlin, Poughkeepsie, Port Jervis

Indian Summer: Suddenly the sun breaks through the clouds and shines straight on this hill with its colorful trees!
Invitation for breakfast: Shortly before sunset Julie, riding her roadbike, stops and starts talking to us. As it's already too late for us on our heavy bikes to make it to her house she suggests that we should come over next morning for breakfast. Heavy fog delayed our departure next morning for quite a while ad so it's nearly noon, when we arrive at Julie's house. Julie is working from home and has to attend a telephone conference and so we have to enjoy the lovely homemade pancakes together with her husband. Though we wouldn't have minded to stay a bit longer Julie is very selfless and insists, that we should use this beautiful sunny and warm day for cycling.
Nearly home: After we arrived in Alemania in September 2007 (in Argentina) we already made it by now to Berlin. So if we keep up this pace we'll be in Limburg in probably 2-3 years :-).
Schuyler, Colby and Huck: After a frosty night we're just warming up in a gas station and are updating our website, when Schuyler and Huck start talking to us. we talk for quite a while but finally they leave. About 15 minutes later they return, as Huck, with his 2,5 years, wanted to invite us to his place. As Huck is pretty shy and so finally his mom invites us. Huck, Schuyler and her husband Colby live just 3 Km south of the gas station and so our speedometer just shows 5,93 Km when we arrive at their house. We spent the afternoon comfortably right next to the warm oven while it is raining outside. After Schuyler made a lovely Quiche for dinner and after Huck was already sleeping we have been so busy talking, that it was suddenly shortly before midnight. Their house is pretty small and as it is also by far too hot in there for us we sleep in the now unused "partyhouse". After a long breakfast we finally had to say goodbye with.
Tony: We we just hiding from the rain in a gas station, when Tony came in, saw us and suggested, that we should spent this wet day in his house. Though Tony still has to work during the afternoon he is sending us to his house. Tony, originally an architect, now creates beautiful designer furniture. A couple of years ago he also built a cello, following the model of a cello built by Stradivarius. Tony's cello was so good, that many Luthiers came to see ad to hear it. Unfortunately Tony made the finish with some special coatings from Germany and that we the cello lost a lot of its great sound. Tony's next project is to build a sailing boat. Not that Tony wants to have a sailing boat, but he wants to make one. As he says: "It's all about the process and not about having it!"
Walkway: Just four weeks ago the longest footbridge in the world was opened here in Poughkeepsie across the Hudson River. No wonder, that the entire town is out to see the new footbridge. while we walk across the bridge we even meet Fed Schaeffer, or better said he met us. Fred Schaeffer is the one who finally put the project of converting the old railroad bridge into a footbridge into action. The photo was taken from the bridge over the Hudson Valley.
Halloween: During Halloween all the kids are supposed to walk in costumes from house to house, where they ring the bell and say "Trick or Treat". As nobody wants to see their tricks they generally collect a lot of sweets. Bus except of two families, where the kids are are still so small that they have to be carried around, we se nobody out on the street.
Decorated gardens: Many gardens and parks are lovely decorated during the fall like here in Wutsboro.
336. Weekly Report 02.11.- 08.11.2009

Route: Port Jervis, Delaware Water Gap National Park, Palmerton, Harrisburg


Delaware Water Gap National Park:We assumed, that it would be flat along the Delaware River but we couldn't have been more wrong. While the river flows peaceful in the valley while we're climbing up one hill after another and after just 74 Km´s at the end of the day it all accumulated to 1630m in elevation gain. We didn't even come close to this while cycling through the Rocky mountains in the USA and in Canada. The last time we climbed more in one day was about 1,5 years ago in Colombia where we climbed 1700 m in one day in the Andes. But as I said we expected to follow a river!




Hunting Season:Its hunting season and so hunters with their rifles or with bow and arrow are everywhere. To avoid that they kill each other they have to wear bright orange clothes. as we don't have that nice orange gear, camping gets a bit more exciting it you hear the shooting all around you!

Mudcap: This beautiful mudcap was given to us by Aaron in Waterbury. I finally mounted it to Nadines bike and it looks great. unfortunately it didn't fit to my one as I would hit it all the time with my feet.
POSTED: One of the many American dreams: a house on one acre of land. Of Course the land then has to be protected from everybody and though we are happy that there are no fences around in the northeast of the USA the constant POSTED signs are ale not really nice. We're really looking back to Germany where everybody is allowed to walk through every forest and over every mountain.
Patty and Rich: On Saturday morning we met a big group of cyclists who invites to their pumpkin feast on a parking lot. After lots of very tasty pumpkin dishes we get invited from Patty and Rick to stay at their house for the night. Their house is not strictly on our route towards Baltimore but then also not really far out of the way. At their house we not only enjoy a great hot shower but also get treated by a lovely dinner and some even better pancakes before we go back to the road next morning.
337. Weekly Report 09.11.- 15.11.2009

Route: Baltimore, Washington DC

2ndWeekly Report: Unfortunately closed our completely written weekly report without saving it and so everything was lost. as she was not too motivated anymore now the new version is a bit shorter :-)

Visiting Diana and Jochen: Martins cousin Diana and her Baltimore was not really on our route but as Martin hasn´t seen diana in over 9 years we didn´t mind to cycle the extra 500 Km's.

Sightseeing with Diana: After we relaxed during the rainy week Diana showed us a bit of Baltimore during the weekend.

Fort McHenry: During the war with England in fort McHenry was attacked in 1814 from the English Navy. the fort was bombed with 1500 1800 shells and rockets for 25 hours. Finally the English Navy figured out that they cant win the battle (only 4 people had died during the battle) and retreated. not a really special battle but Francis Scott Key, a captive on a British boat during the battle, wrote a poem an a hymn about it which is now the nation anthem of the USA, the "The Star-Spangled Banner"!

Shopping: Having had no chance to go out for shopping for about one year, Nadine was pretty happy when Diana took us to a mall with many outlets!
Arlington: On Sunday we went together with Jochen and Diana to the Military cemetery in Arlington (Washington DC). Here rest over 320.000 soldiers and their relatives from most of the wars of the USA. Still there are about 27 funerals daily. But Arlington is also quite a tourist attraction and especially the grave of John F. Kennedy and the change of the guard at the tomb on the "Unknown soldier".
338. Weekly Report: 15.11.-22.11.2009

Route: Baltimore, Washington


No ID Card no train ticket:As we didn't carry our passports with us we haven't been allowed to buy a train ticket at the ticket counter. Instead, for a 40% surcharge, we had to buy our tickets on the train. Somehow the media learned about us coming to Washington DC, but we managed to pass them undiscovered :-)


The White House: Being in Washington DC we also had to visit the White House. But to join one of the guided tours you have to reserve about 3 months in advance and so we just marveled at the beautiful building from outside.
Lincoln Memorial: The Lincoln memorial and Nadine. Guess: Who is who?
Washington Monument: The Washington Monument is 169,3m high and thanks to an elevator one can ride to a viewpoint to enjoy the great view over Washington. George Washington was the first President of the USA.
National Air and Space Museum: The Air and Space Museum hosts quite a couple of really cool airplanes and spaceships. Of course the first airplane made by the Wright Brothers is also shown here, but what we liked especially was the information that the Wright Brothers actual business was manufacturing bicycles!
Dinner at Diana's place: Diana was hosting the applicant dinner for her hospital and so we cooked a Chili for about 20 People. The evening was pretty nice but as we didn't want to interfere into the conversations about the program of the hospital we made friends with Nithin, on of the applicants husband. We had quite a good conversation and so Nithin invited us for dinner. Nithin is originally from India and so we enjoy of course some great Indian food.
The last breakfast: Enjoying out last breakfast in a small cafe in Baltimore.
Saying good bye: Hard to believe but we stayed already two weeks at Diana's and Jochen's place. As we enjoyed our time very much saying good bye is especially hard this time. But as Diana and Jochen are family members well definitely see them again. :-)
339. Weekly Report 22.11.-29.11.2009

Route: Baltimore, Newark, New York City

Beaver trees: For the first time on our trip we see some trees nearly cut down by a beaver. Seems that the beaver was recently active, though somehow it seems to be a bit late in the season as all the leaves are gone.

Warmshowers: In Newark we stay with Pat and his wife Karen, two Warmshowers, who treat us with a delicious dinner, lovely pancakes for breakfast and even better conversations in between.
Taking the train: From Newark (Delaware) through Philadelphia and Newark (New Jersey) straight to New York we would have to cycle though one city after each other with no space in between. Not knowing which suburbs are best avoided we vote for the commuter train. In general bicycles are allowed on the train, but as there is no real space for them they end up at the place for wheelchairs, while the front wheel has to go onto the seat.
Apartment on level 33: When we met Werner during our stay with Seppel in Vancouver, he invited us to visit him in New York. Werner (originally from around Frankfurt in Germany) and his wife Laurene (from Ireland) have a great apartment just 2 blocks away from Times Square with a great view from the 33rd level from their livingroom down to 42nd Street.
Thanksgiving Parade: The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York is the biggest parade in the USA and so the streets are already crowded a couple of hours before the parade actually starts. We manage to sneak through Central Park and find a pretty good spot. The main attraction are the big balloons which are hovering high up in the air so that even people who stay far away can see them. For the balloons being able to glide through the streets all the traffiklights along 7th Avenue have been removed, which is quite an undertaking.
Central Park: Central Park is the quite oasis in the middle of noisy Manhattan. Central Park is 50 blocks long and boosts even two lakes. We start missing our bikes and so we take them out for a ride through the park on Saturday afternoon.
340. WeeklyReport 30.11.-04.12.2009

Route: New York City

Chinatown: Chinatown in New York is supposed to be the biggest Chinese settlement outside of China. We wander around the busy streets, wonder about the frogs which are supposed to get eaten and enjoy a huge pot of noodle soup in a small Chinese restaurant.
Manhattan: To get a view of Manhattan we take the ferry to Staten Island. As the ferry also passes by the Statue of Liberty we're not the only tourists on this free ferry. We enjoy to view of Manhattan so much, that we do the trip twice, so that we could see the Skyscrapers during sunset and also at night.
Statue of Liberty: As we learned from our guidebook in Egypt, the Statue of Liberty was originally planned to stay besides the Suez Canal. Due to the lack of money the order was canceled and so the statue was built right here in front of New York.
Meeting Manon: Manon graduated Highschool together with Martin and works nowadays for the UN as a lawyer. Just before Christmas the UN is always pretty busy and so we're very happy, that we manage to meet her. Manon takes us out for dinner and while we enjoy a lovely Pizza we tell each other the most important news from the last 17 years.
Lunch with a view: Werner is working for Allianz, a German insurance company, and as their canteen has a great view, he invites us one day for lunch. Unfortunately it is raining when we arrive at the canteen, but the view over Central Park is still great. As we forgot to take a picture topdown here one bottomup.
Werner, Laurene and Chester: Our hosts in Manhattan.
New York: Before Christmas many stores have great window decorations and quite often people have to queue in to see it. But besides all this wealth New York has also another side. Homeless people sleep in front of churches just covered with some cardboard. Quite often the garbage is not in a bin but everywhere and if one would close his eyes he would assume to be on a garbage dump but not in one of the worlds most famous cities.
Hair: Werner and Laurene's place is just two blocks from Broadway, and so we decide to see the musical Hair. Unfortunately taking pictures is strictly forbidden (probably because once all actors are completely naked on the stage), so we have no photo for this article. Really cool is, that sometimes some of the actors race straight through the audience while singing. For the gran finale everyone is welcome to join the actors on the stage (we went down) and so everyone is singing and dancing together.
Apple Store: We just bought an Apple laptop and as we also bought the one year one to one training we spent quite some time in the Apple Store at Fifth Avenue to learn how the programs are working. Nearly every day we, and especially Martin, spent some hours at the Apple Store and Werner is already joking if we would get already some wedding invitations. Well, we got no wedding invitations, but at least the people working at the store started to know us by name.

Pedestrians: Not quite typical for the USA, but in New York one finds more pedestrians than cardrivers. All the sidewalks are completely crowded and also traffic lights are not taken too seriously. As soon as someone sees a gap in the traffic he starts crossing the street and of course everybody else follows, so that the cars have to stop even though they have a green light. Even the fact that policemen stay at many traffic lights, trying to control cardrivers and pedestrians alike, doesn't change anything at all.
Christmastree: The original plan was to join the lightening ceremony for the Christmastree in front of the Rockefeller Center, but as thousands of people had the same idea we couldn't even come close enough. We either could hear the music or see the tree from far away, and as it was raining we went "home" to watch the show on TV. Most of the artists playing during the show used to be famous way too many years ago and so the show was, as Laurene put it, "pretty cheesy".
Feuerzangenbowle: Werner and Laurene invited some of their coworkers to our small slideshow. They also decided to treat their guests with something very special and made a Feuerzangenbowle. The Feuerzangenbowle is an enriched hot wine. As the wine is enriched with rum, which is poured over a loaf of sugar, and the lightened, the Feuerzangenbowle is burning and therefore pretty cool to see. But be careful, as the alcohol is hot and also thanks to the rum, the Feuerzangenbowle is really really strong!
Leaving the Americas: In total we spent more than 3 years in South- and Northamerica and during he last 12 months we cycled through the USA and Canada. Saying goodbye is pretty hard, but slowly home starts calling. But before we can cycle from Spain back home to Germany we first had to catch our flight to Madrid, and this was a very close one. As we haven't been allowed with our bikes in neither the Metro nor in the Shuttlebus we had to take a Taxi. But flagging down a Taxi during Rush-hour on Friday is quite an undertaking. First the Cabdriver didn't want to take our bikes as well, but for an extra 20,-$ it was ok. As we spent the first 45 Minutes moving slower than walkingspeed in the big trafficjam in Manhattan, we already assumed that the plane would leave without us. But then traffic started moving and so we made it to the airport just in time to check in our luggage. Fortunately we had done the online check in or we would have missed our flight! During the security check the officer finds a big pair of scissors, which we unfortunately had forgotten about, and so we arrived at our Gate just when they started boarding the plane. Europe here we come



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