Yesterday morning I got off the S-Bahn at the Nikolassee station as I always do, and as I walked down the stairs toward the street I heard a distinctive tapping sound behind me. I realized that “The Blind Tobias,” as Helga once referred to him, had gotten off the train a few cars back.
I hadn’t yet been introduced to him, so it didn’t seem right to go over and greet him just because we’d been on the same train. But the walk to the boathouse is long and quiet, and few cars ever pass, so as loud as his tapping was to me, my footsteps on the stone sidewalk surely echoed to him as well. There are no real destinations between the station and the boathouse, no cafés or shops or even many houses, so it’s pretty obvious that anyone getting off the 9:40 a.m. train walking in this direction must be a rower headed for the 10 a.m. session. Continue reading →
Have you ever had a friend disappear from your life, only to return at the most opportune moment?
How can it be that I lost the friend who brought me to Minnesota in the first place over 20 years ago? And found her again in Berlin?
The other day, before my family and I trekked over to the visa office, I was reading an article in the New York Times about how outraged Germans are that American intelligence has been tracking Angela Merkel’s phone calls. “Not a good day to be an American applicant for a German visa,” I thought, as I reached the bottom of the article.
And who turned out to be the contributing reporter from Berlin? None other than my old friend Mel, a fellow rower on the Bucknell crew team. Continue reading →
Thursday was the Unity Day race, and though I emailed my interest to several people at the club and told many more, there were no women’s boats from our club participating in Thursday’s 15 km. regatta. I was hoping that some rower would drop out at the last minute, and someone else would remember there’s that crazy American woman who wants to row this race, get her down here. But no such luck.
I did, however, go to the party. I met my friend A at the Wannsee S-Bahn station and from there we walked the few blocks to the Berliner Ruder Club, the hosts of this event. They are one of two elite men’s clubs in the city, located on the Kleine Wannsee, just south of the bridge that separates the wild and woolly Wannsee from the narrow, more riverlike water. We arrived in time to watch the presentation of the silver cups to the winners. The winning team came from their own club, and the introductions went on for so long that it became clear they were highly decorated rowers with many international wins among them.