We're very sorry for the delay of this entry, but our excuse is all the more pleasant. Since the beginning of January, we've been on the ice together again on a regular basis. Of course we can't take the full workload yet, but it's a start. The beginnings were arduous, but worthwhile. Except for a little incident in the form of a fall (no, not during practice!), we're making steady progress. We had actually wanted to participate in a show in Kitzbühel at the end of January, but unfortunately the show got cancelled by the organizer. Now we're starting to prepare for the new season by keeping ourselves busy with practicing our technique and the compulsories extensively. We will soon start choreographing the new programs as well. At the same time we naturally try not to rush things in order to give my knee a chance at healing completely. Daniel is already as fit as a fiddle and merely feels a little pain in the lifts and in his strength training.
Instead of the skating show, I treated myself to a few days in Bern to visit the European Championships. Daniel wasn't able to suspend his obligations here in Berlin and therefore couldn't come along. It's a pretty strange feeling to attend such an event in the stands and to experience the competition in such a different way. I used the opportunity and purchased cheap train tickets by auction and also registered with www.couchsurfing.org instead of booking a hotel room. It's an easy principle: whoever has a sleeping accommodation at home can offer other people to use it and also use those of others in other cities. Whether guestroom, couch, or air mattress, you create a profile on the website and rate your hosts or guests, respectively (like on eBay). If you want to learn more, you should definitely check out the website. Even rather small cities like Bern offer about 1,000 accommodations free of charge; Berlin has way more, of course. You should watch out, though, where you'll be staying and with whom. In my case I was really extremely lucky. The family was just great. Not only the fact that I even received my own key totally rocked, but also the funny mornings with interesting conversations and hot tea to get warm for the ice rink. That one was definitely too cold. Most people will probably have noticed on TV how the spectators had wrapped themselves in thick coats and blankets.
Back in Berlin, some friends of the "House of Athletes" kindly picked me up from the train station. For over 6 weeks, we haven't had a car anymore and we therefore have to rely on others' help every now and then. Especially in Berlin, it's definitely possible to get by without a car. However, it's often way more practical (and, I have to admit, more convenient, too) to have one at hand. Particularly in January, and even more so if your bike conks out on a regular basis.
In early January, we had moved into the neighboring building and will most likely stay here for the time being. In contrast to the old accommodation, the building is completely renovated and it has discarded its GDR charm. It goes without saying that everything is extremely athlete-friendly: a drying room for sweaty training clothes, a bathroom for doping tests since the ladies and gentlemen with their suitcases visit regularly when there are 40 active A- and B-envelope athletes. We're totally thrilled that we've again found a pleasant atmosphere and companionship with the other athletes, and we'll surely tell you some anecdotes about what's happening in this house in future journal entries.