August 17, 2015

And We're Off

The week was full of staying at home and doing things like laundry, stopping mail, and giving away most of the garden harvest in preparation for upcoming travel.  Turns out, when I'm singularly focused on minimizing the upcoming chaos and eliminating it entirely from the days before we leave, I have plenty of time to dedicate to walking and running.

Without any perceived effort, my mileage was over 30 for only the 10th time this year (30.53).  I also managed to get back into the yoga studio, which resulted in 3 days of ridiculous soreness.  Perhaps I'll be able to get back on the mat in less than 9 weeks next time and recovery won't be so painful. (A girl can dream...) 

Thanks to the local running club, I was introduced to a new running buddy and we put in a good low 10 min/mile getting-to-know-each-other 3 miler followed by some hill repeats Thursday AM -- this is *much* better than what I would have lazed my way through solo.  I'm looking forward to joining her for more runs whenever I'm home in the coming months.

Friday, after a short 2 miler, E and I took off for Europe.  We landed Saturday AM and somehow managed to push through until after 9 PM local time before heading to bed.

Pulling into Frankfurt main train station from the airport train
Our hotel -- The Steigenberger Frankfurter (Hbf)
I'd been to Frankfurt years ago to visit a friend who lived here, but I'd never really been as a tourist.  It's a very walkable and cool town.

That being said, between the foreign stuff and the jet lag, we had a bit of a surreal day.  Our hotel room wasn't ready when we checked in, so we walked around a bit, accidentally making our way through an apfelwein festival (which, in our punch-drunk state struck us as just about the most stereotypically German thing imaginable).

We opted out of the various apple and pork-tastic treats, opting instead for a pilsner and some people watching from outside the festival followed by a much needed late afternoon snack for E (I'd had breakfast on the plane) and coffee for both of us.

Apfelwein festival
From there, we walked around town a bit, puzzled by an explained parade, eventually ending up at an outdoor pub for a relaxing pint while watching soccer in German.  We stood in line for the tower, but the line wasn't moving and we were exhausted, so we headed back to the hotel, printed our tickets for the next day's train and headed out for an early dinner.

Unexplained parade

With Goethe, in Goetheplatz
The recommended restaurant wasn't open at 6, so we stopped for a glass of wine and were treated to a surprise musical performance.  Apparently, we were in town the same night as one-night bar hopping music party that was quite popular with bachelorette parties (where all the women dressed identically except for the bride), so that made for some extra fun and different people watching.  We lamented that we'd likely be asleep when the good stuff happened, but we agreed it wasn't worth it to try to stay up.

Random 6 piece band with vocalist and german rapper.
The dinner recommendation was totally worth waiting for -- I may not crave German food, but you know what Germany is close to?  Several countries whose food I love.  Like, Italy!

So, for our first meal out in Europe this trip, E and I enjoyed a deliciously authentic dinner of Northern Italian food, including the best octopus dish either of us have ever eaten, and wonderfully tender and perfectly sauced homemade pasta.  The servers and owner and I were all equally thrilled that when it was obvious that we didn't speak German, everyone agreed that we'd prefer Italian instead of English.

They even comped each of us an extra glass of wine when I explained that the only reason we weren't having espresso after our meal was that we really needed to go back to the hotel and sleep, as we'd only just arrived that morning.

Unfortunately, even with the wine, neither of us slept particularly well, and I woke Sunday AM with a horrid headache.  Gamely, I headed to the gym around 9 AM to try to shock my body into waking up, but eventually after a fairly lame workout, I had to admit that either I'd forgotten just how much jet lag sucks, or getting older *really* sucks, and my jet lag is getting worse with age.

At noon or so, E and I boarded our train from Frankfurt to Heidelberg and, because we love us some European train travel, we were amused to find that the German version was slightly different from our French/Swiss train adventure.  There was no ticket drama, as the tickets could be printed from the website with a scan code that just worked on the train.  The barcar payment system also had no problems, and, in keeping with stereotypes, it had several beers on tap as well as revelers clinking their glasses with "Proust" in their VfB Stuttgart scarves on their way to a game.  Unfortunately, unlike the French train, we'd miscalculated as this train was out of food -- oh well, you can't win them all.

We arrived in Heidelberg to check in to yet another hotel where our room wasn't ready, so we did some walking in the rain to a delicious late lunch of Indian food. 

That's a mountain with foggy clouds and rain.  Happy August!

One of E's speaking engagements was at 5 PM on Sunday, so we walked through the stereotypical German modern industrial city to the youth hostel that was hosting the conference.

First time he's given a presentation at a youth hostel.
Footbridge across the Neckar River (E's commute)
Exhausted, we went out to dinner with some other folks from E's company in the old town.  Again delicious Italian, but this time in the Tuscan style.

Castle in the background, as seen from an old town square.  Lovely to walk around and enjoy the views.
We took a taxi to dinner but in our jet lagged state couldn't really manage to find one to get back.  We also moved too slowly to catch the bus, comedically noting its approach while looking at the map at the stop, yet somehow none of us was assertive enough to flag it down.  So we walked along the river for about 2 miles back to the hotel before finally collapsing into a deep and wonderous jet-lag killing sleep.

Today, I woke bright-eyed and headache free.  I'm looking forward to getting in some good runs, walks, and hikes this week!


Arvay said...

What fun! :)

bt said...

@arvay -- yes!