I wake up in the middle of a pine forest. Well, not so much wake up as am woken up at 5 am – very much against my will – by a chorus of songbirds.
My accommodation is a very rustic bungalow, probably close to being half a century old. I think “rickety” might be an appropriate descriptive to describe it. It is not entirely devoid of charm, but that has more to do with its secluded, bucolic setting rather than um, amenities.
While I am usually a creature of earthly comforts, I am forgoing those on this trip. In fact, for the next 17 days I, deliberately, will be anything but comfortable.
This is “an active rest,” as Russians are fond of saying. More accurately, it’s an ass-kicking vacation. You see, for the last 6 months this particular behind has gotten far too comfortable due to a confluence of circumstances and events: busy work life, which kept it moving almost exclusively between the bed, the office chair, and the back seat of a car; second riding accident, which kept it out of the saddle since January; and general laziness, which navigated it to pubs instead of pubs and museums on weekends.
Time to break that streak. This cabin in the woods, with its sparse “furnishings,” no hot water, outdoor shower, minimal natural light, no way to control the cold or the heat, and no internet to even dream of is a good place to start.
My morning alarm clock: