Friday, September 23, 2011

Flammkuchen, ricola and unexpected anxiety about this marathon

Wednesday I met Carrie and Jen at the airport. After we arrive, we'll meet up with other people from Chicago, London and Singapore. There is a huge, extended group of us running the marathon! They had seats together near a guy with a terrible gas problem, and I sat by a little kid. I read Anthony Bourdain's new book, and watched a British movie about four attractive, whorish people called last night.

I carbed up with some mushy lasagna!

Swiss airways has several music mix channels AND an entire channel of just Roxette. And its not just "the look" on repeat, which is how I would compile a Roxette list. They have 34 songs. Who knew!

In Zurich, we met another Chicago runner and a nice couple from France who was also running.

I have been sick for almost two weeks. Nothing flu-like, just a cold. It was 95% gone, it came back, it almost went away again but on the plane it came back with a vengence. I was blowing my nose the whole way to Europe.

We checked into our awesome hip little hotel, the Circus. I have a single with a huge mural of times square on one wall. It's eco-friendly and in the greatest little neighborhood of cafes and atmospheric little places. I am happy!

We went to the marathon expo while I was feeling horrible and my head was in a complete fog. Thank goodness for Jen. She took charge and mastered the subway and directions. She even speaks enough German to get us around. Usually at a race expo, I am feeling excited and confident. At this one I was filled with worry. What if my cold doesn't go away? 26 miles is incredibly daunting when you are feeling good - but sick is another story. I still have 2 more days though. I just tried to think positive and bought a couple of shirts. The expo was in an airplane hanger, and we had some flammkuchen (a cousin of pizza with speck, white sauce and really thin crust - awesome!) and a beer. We enjoyed the people watching at the expo. Germans are very attractive! They dress so much better in Berlin than Chicago for sure.

I came home and was able to select among a dozen flavors of Ricola:

Yes, my name really means umbrella!

my mural

View out Jen and Carrie's window:

Jen and Carrie with our flammkuchen:

Friday I tried to sleep in, then really got my money's worth at the breakfast buffet. I walked to the big train station to take care of an errand. While I was walking, I was suddenly struck with the need to go to a bathroom. Like magic, around the corner a most amazing bathroom appeared! (will post photo later). Berlin has several free-standing pod bathrooms. For 50 cents, you can have it for 20 minutes. It plays ambient mood music and even cleans itself when you are done. I was amazed and very excited about this toilet!

I went to the holocaust memorial (below) and Brandenburg gate (top).

I stopped to try a currywurst, a specialty of Berlin! I also broke my no diet coke rule. Yes, I gave up diet coke in January and don't even miss it.

I walked over to the Checkpoint charlie exhibit. There was a lot of amazing historical information posted. The Berlin wall is just fascinating to me. I was in college when the wall came down and remember it clearly. It was really fascinating to be up close to it and read the personal stories of people involved.

Well, hello Angela!

The checkpoint:

I took the U Bahn over to the east side gallery, the longest remaining section of the wall.

Messages of peace from all over the world:

Hey Nelson!

And messages that didn't make any sense:

And dumb messages that just speak to us all on the knock-off Berlin wall next to the real wall:

I like Berlin. It's just really liveable and nothing flashy about it. Nice people, neighborhoods, cafes, fascinating history. Can't wait to run 26 miles around it!


Trisha T said...

I'm so excited for you! Don't worry, 2 days is plenty to get rid of your cold and get you running like a mad woman! I'm happy to hear you're enjoying everything from the food to the toilets - and I love the pics! Hey Nelson ;)

Kate C. said...

What a great update. Can't wait to hear about the marathon. You'll be great.