Thursday, 28 July 2011

looking for a pet/home sitter?

It's always nice to go on holiday or on a long weekend away. But what about your furry life partners. In SA there's less opportunity to take your pets everywhere with you like in Germany. And going overseas chances are you'll leave them behind.
Before going to Challenge Roth we were faced with exactly this dilemma. It would be to far out of the way for friends and family to look after the 3 Border Collies. Plus these fine creatures really need someone who understand their needs to take care of them. Anyone who ever had a Border Collie will confirm.
We got a couple of contact numbers from the internet. But how do you swipe your card and trust a complete stranger to look after your extended family and house for 3 weeks while you are nowhere close?
We tried to shortlist the contacts through our communications via email and telephone and then decided to see Angela from Home Sitters.
We could see that she is used to handling dogs and it looked liked she had pet sitting experience as she also asked all the right questions, even about things we didn't even consider.
Still, I think that she could have said what she wanted, but more importantly I wanted to see how my BC's interacted with her, especially Zeke. If Zeke is fine with her then chances are pretty good that she will take good care of them. Everything went well with the introduction and all 3 liked her.
Sometimes you just have to take a chance and as time was running out we decided to go with Angela from Home Sitters.

.... (all the time hoping that Angela stands for Angel)....

While were away we got almost daily emails telling us that our BC's and everything at home is fine. She fed them at night after work and also slept over at our house. In the mornings she left fresh water and pellets for them for during the day. When Zeke started itching she took her own initiative and treated him with a very effective spray. They got their weekly baths on the weekends.

We arrived back home to find everthing in perfect order. She even left some doggie magazines. Although we would have been fine with it she took/used just about non of the food and no wine that was in the house.

Angela was also very punctual with all her appointments and arrived at exactly 17:30 (the agreed time) to hand back the keys.

We were very happy with the service from Angela (Home Sitters) and can highly recommend her. Although I was a bit hesitant to post this on the internet as she will be in higher demand and it will make it more difficult for myself to book her, I'm sure it's in the best interest of all of our pets.

Angela operates in the Parklands and surrounding areas, but Home Sitters have agents all over Cape Town and also Pretoria.

Contact details:
Angela Straub
Mobile: 0825176876

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Running with Uwe

Yesterday, after arriving in Hamburg we went for a run with Uwe and his running team in the Stadtpark. Some of them are training for a relay later in the year. It is so beautiful here. It is also much easier to run to the Stadtpark and then run around it, because there is only one set of robots and then you are there. At Düsseldorf it was nice to run along the Rhine rivier, but to get there was really difficult as we had to stop at all the robots and for straßenbahnen (trams), busses etc.
There were lots of people around playing with their dogs, others were walking or making a "grill" (braai).
If you ask a Hamburger (yes, someone that lives in Hamburg) then he/she will tell you that Hamburg is the most beautiful city in Germany.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


In Germany you don't just throw all your rubbish in one bin. Here they have many bins, all with the purpose to recycle.
Brown rubbish bin (Biotonne) - left over foodstuffs, compost, etc
Glas (3 bins) - Brown glas (Braunglas)
- Green glas (Grünglas)
- White glas (Weißglas)
Plastic bin
Metal bin - Scrap metal (Altmetall)
Paper bin
Clothes bin - Some companies will then make products from it, like washcloths
- Welfare/Communities will sort it and see what clothing can still be used and will then distribute it.
Other - Black bin
Electronics - Keep your batteries and put it in a small container by the bins
- PC's, When you buy a new pc/laptop you can hand the old one back to the shop. They have to take it back for recycling.
Pfand - At most of the grocery stores there's pfand machines where you can put your empty water/cooldrink bottles in and get your deposit refunded.
Garden rubbish
Bigger items - Twice a year you have the opportunity to call the garbage collectors and let them know that you have bigger items to dispose of. This can be anything like an old table, ironing board, fan, etc. This you can then leave next to the rubbish bins for them to collect.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Challenge Roth

Yesterday was a good day for triathlon. The men's and women's iron distance world records were broken by Andreas Realert, 7:41 and Chrissie Wellington, 8:18 (5th place overall!) There were also about 180 000 spectators.
My personal highlight was my 1:00 swim and I hope that I will be able to break the 1 hour mark sometime.
I had a good race, but had to slow down on the run because it was 39 degrees! Not sure how some of the pro's handle it. The volunteers were amazing and really did an excellent job at keeping us well fed and hydrated at the aid stations and cool with the schwämmer (wet sponges).
Around 19:00 a big thunderstorm broke out and it started raining heavily. At that time there were still many athletes out on the run course. Those who had finished already all made their way into the tent for food and massages.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Bike check in

Just came back from bike check in with our German friends Uwe and Silvia. They are from Hamburg and Uwe is also participating tomorrow. There's a thunderstorm approaching so we were not allowed to put plastic sheets over our bikes like last time. 
I made a calculation error in the previous post, but there's slightly more athletes participating than I thought...
Challenge Family Challenge Roth 10th anniversar​y celebratio​ns in the market square last night. Race day tomorrow when over 5,200 athletes will race the world's largest iron distance event.

Here's some photos of the 1st transition area as the athletes are checking their bikes in by the swim start and the biergarten.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Registration & Expo

Today we went to the Challenge Roth race registration and expo. Challenge Roth is the biggest iron distance triathlon in the world in terms of participants. This year almost 4700! The expo is so big that it can't fit into any tent or building close by, so there's rows and rows of stalls outsite plus more inside the city hall. You can find any of the latest swim, bike, run, nutrition related products. ...and a biergarten!

Thursday, 7 July 2011


Today we visited München by train. We left the car at the Allersberg station in the field. It's perfectly safe to do that here. There's a couple of stops on the way to München, one of them at Ingolstadt where one can see the freight trains loaded with new Audi's, ready to be shipped all over the world. München is very big, so don't expect a full report. For the couple of hours we spent there, the highlight was definitely the Apple iStore. And I guess the same goes for the masses of visitors that were there. The store was packed. Not a single ipad, ipod, iphone, macbook, etc was without 2-3 people looking and playing with it. Ladies pay attention, a single store like Karstadt or Kaufhoff Galleria are probably the size of a rugby field or 2 and with 6-8 floors. Shopping like you can't believe and many products are on special (reduziert). Each floor usually represents certain items like women's clothes, men's clothes, electronics and multimedia, food, etc.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Today we've spent a couple of hours walking around in Nürnberg. It's a beautiful town in Bavaria with lots of beer gardens (bier garten), shops, churches (kirche) and statues.
The statues are especially nice, here's some pics.

Nürnberg #2

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Went for a run in the forest by Pfaffenhofen with Herbert and his local running group.
See how beautiful it is.

Herzlich Willkommen

We just arrived in Germany today for the Challenge Roth iron distance triathlon. Our German friends, Herbert & Renate Pototzky meeted us at the airport in Nürnberg and took us to their home where in Roth where we will stay. See how nicely they greeted us with "Herzlich Willkommen"!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Take me to my happy place

To achieve your goals, let’s say you would like to run a faster time, have stronger legs, etc – you also need a strong head. Negative thoughts or doubts can derail your attempts. You need a mantra.

A mantra is usually a string of positive words or phrases which you can think or recite to yourself and can use in any aspect of life. These words aren’t about how to overcome your sore legs or obstacles, but rather about where you want to be or see yourself, or what you want to feel. So, the mantra you use is meant to represent the quality you wish to infuse into your consciousness. The mind will then focus on the positive instead of the negative. For example, say positive words like run, power, speed, jump, bounce, dance, sing, smile, love, play. Or just normal phrases like “what a beautiful day!” or “to God be the glory”. To use phrases like, “my legs are tired” or ”hang in there the suffering is almost over” aren’t mantras.

Mantras are often used by athletes in training or racing, in yoga for meditation and religious worship. What’s nice about mantras is that you can make up your own and use them daily in different situations. Practice makes perfect and then when you sense an uphill approaching you’ll have a mantra ready.


To take it a step further, you can visualize yourself being in a situation you want to be in. Like running strong, smiling, being at the beach, etc. I’m sure you’ve all heard someone before saying something like take me to my happy place. This is a great technique because rather than getting pulled into the dumps by circumstances you are now able to sit on the beach and take a look at the situation from outside the box.