Monday, October 8, 2007

Excellent weekend

Today’s post is dedicated to Nastya and Sasha, a couple of delightful young friends who introduced themselves to us in Minsk, Belarus. They heard us speaking English and wanted to practice on us. Since they’re still students, I’ll try to use simple language.

I promised to add to this blog if I ever did anything interesting. I imagined this would mean leaving the country, but Alla and I had a pretty interesting weekend right here near Boston. It all started with warm weather that we didn’t expect in October. We decided we’d better enjoy it, so we took Friday off from work and went for a long bike ride. Alla and I have a tandem (two-person) bicycle so we can take these long rides without getting separated.

I lost track of our intended route, and we ended up riding to Concord a new way. Alla is pretty excited about this, because the new route is almost entirely flat. The other pleasant surprise was passing a wild grape vine right near Concord Farms, where Welch’s got their start cultivating Concord grapes. Our vine had many clusters of sweet grapes and Alla, bless her heart, had two empty plastic bags in her backpack. We filled them with grapes, even while we filled our own mouths.

Carrying our grapes, we reached our destination in fine spirits. We bought sandwiches at a farm stand and took them to White Pond in Concord. We joined several families with pre-school children at the beach, and we all went swimming in the warm water. As the families left to meet their older children after school, we rode back home to Boston.

We had ideas of taking a different bike ride on Saturday, but Alla wanted to go back to the same pond. Remembering the first rule of tandem riding, “The person in the back is always right,” I quickly agreed to Alla’s idea. This time we brought lunch from home and allowed more time for swimming. Each day we rode a total of 48 miles (77 kilometers), and by Saturday evening Alla was riding a little slower but smiling just as broadly.

Along the way we enjoyed quiet roads, colorful forests, one or two apple trees, more grapes, and the pleasure of being together. It was a great way to start an excellent weekend.

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