Monday, November 21, 2011

Bouldering moments at Targassonne

A beautiful location, a wide valley between snowed-in mountains, sunshine and crisp temperatures - what better place to go to on a day full of rainy forecasts all over Catalunya?  A short (but expensive) drive brings one just over the French border, in time to order a true "pain au chocolat" at the Llivia Boulangerie, and hit the warm orange granite running for the gold.

Beautiful scenery of late autumn...

More of the same - Targassonne boulder field with snow in the background

It's been a long while since I bouldered, my most fond memories going back to Fontainebleau.  Frozen and cold, it kept us interested and happy for many days, escaping Belgian rock gyms and rainy season.  Old times, with old friends, Taz showing off her ankle tatoo while pulling hard on some problem with Scappy in the background, Max and Paolo figuring out the footwork with Dolomite altitude of distinguished Italian mountaineers, Ren trying hard 6cs at Cul de Chien or Sabots, Tim running from one 7a to the next, dynoing up the heart problem, Marc sending 7bs while cheered by Olov.  Me never managing to even do a 6a there, falling off many problems, sending a few.  Meeting all in the evening to cellebrate with crepes and cidre at the awesome Breton restaurant in the center of the town. Old times, that from far away now seem good again.

I managed to try many boulders in Targassonne as well, falling off most of them, but at least with style:

Falling, all the way...

Trying (without success) one of the more inspiring lines that day...

While I boulder in France again, here is a little video of Ukrainian bouldering scene, in the only climbing location I have actually visited in Ukraine, Dovbushevy skalu sandstone:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Between seasons and worlds

Miami Beach, Florida

My travels have continued lately, between seasons, among worlds, sadly lacking in one thing - climbing.  Life is possible without it, for sure, although it does seem (much) more dull.  From autumn, I went all the way back to a pleasant tropical summer in Florida, that reminded me of my high-school exchange times in Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie there.  Florida seemed as commercial and bound on entertaining its balding residents as ever, with poorer strata of population having as difficult a time as ever making a living there.  It was somewhat funny for me to inadvertently say "hola" to the housekeeping services in hotels, and actually a pleasure to be able to understand Spanish and notice the Latin American accents.  Only a couple of years ago, this language was strange to me, and there we go, the learning machine of human brain has proved its utility once again, and now in the airport I can understand another percentage of travel population, not mentioning my ongoing efforts at integrating Catalunya one way or another.

Robert Moses State Park, Long Island, New York

A quick change of climate brought me to another island, from Miami Beach to Long Island.  Same ocean, different set-up.  Two more relaxed days admiring the incredible autumn colors, reminding me of other autumns in New England, a different, but also past period of my life.  Maybe nearing 30 forces more reflection, or simply a bigger collection of memories is available to draw upon during long solitary evenings.

Oh well, after this short North American break, time to jump back into the (rainy???) Barcelona again, and hopefully more time for climbing will emerge among the clouds when the humidity goes up, and the sunshine comes back down to us...

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Beautiful Karpatu

Empty, cold, or full and beautiful? There, forever, embodying the souls of those who are not anymore, to be embedded into the souls of those who will be.  My first mountains, my mountains, always to be, always to stay, even when I leave, dissolve, and disappear without a trace.  Beautiful Karpatu.  Every tree there, every rock, every bend in the road has its own memory, but also mine, my mother's, my grandmother's, their grandmother's.  First mountains, the most beautiful?  Full of meaning, full of unbelievable lightness and sadness of being.  Although far, your image stays with me, in all seasons, in all colors, in all gloomy details of memories to fade, of future not to be.

The song my mother used to sing so long ago, in another life, in an incredible voice of hers I could never dream to master, those happy days, rare memories of happy days not to last.  Nostalgia rarely destroys my pragmatism and love of life anywhere on this beautiful and endless planet of ours.  Only Karpatu make me tick, sometimes, stop, remember, wonder "what if", and shed a tear or two when listening to Gutsulka Ksenia in repeat mode.  No "what ifs" anymore, fewer and fewer reasons to come back - although not that many to go forward either.  Ja tobi na trembiti, lush odnij v tsilim sviti, rozkajy pro lybov...