The Time Has Come

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A picture from the top of Galeries Lafayette during one of our recent Paris exploration days.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Jeremy and I were hoping it would be later rather than sooner, but our return tickets home have been purchased. We are officially returning to the U.S. on Monday, September 15, four weeks from today. Judging by how fast the past few weeks and months have gone by, I know it will be here in the blink of an eye. Our big finale will be our Ireland trip, including my half marathon in Dingle on September 6th followed by a week in Dublin.

I'm definitely going to miss this.

I’m definitely going to miss this. I was too excited about it to make sure the picture wasn’t blurry apparently.

When we were planning this trip, we were optimistically thinking we could make it a whole year before returning, or at least until Christmas, but when we come back it will have been just shy of six months. Which is still a long time! It’s time for us to reenter reality and get jobs and settle down somewhere. I’m trying not to think about how much I’m going to miss Europe, and instead just enjoying the time we have left, and thinking about things I am looking forward to in the U.S., like:

– Being close to family and friends, and seeing my nephew walk for the first time

– Mexican food

– Having more than five items of clothing to wear

– Finding a running club

– Getting serious about training, and choosing my first full marathon to register for

– Being back in time for the Cancer Center 10K and the Santa Barbara International Half Marathon, both of which are in my hometown and I’ve run them before

– Getting back into strength training

– Hiking

– These shoes that I bought myself as a consolation for returning home (I got them on The Clymb – this is my personal referral link and if you sign up with it you get a $10 credit, and I get one too if you make a purchase over $25 – and with some credits I had, they only cost me $37! They are originally over $200):

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Mizuno Wave Prophecy 3

I know there’s a lot more, but that’s all I can think of right now. We’ll be flying back to Georgia, spending about a week there visiting family and friends, then driving back to Santa Barbara, hopefully making a stop at the Grand Canyon on the way.

I’ll have to do a roundup of all the things I’ll miss about Europe, but it seems like it would be too long of a list. All I know is that we will definitely be back in the hopefully not-too-distant future because there are a million places I still want to visit that we didn’t get to this time around!

On another note, I’m totally late to the game but I looked up myself on Athlinks.com and was so surprised to see two 5Ks that I ran in Georgia years ago that I kind of forgot about and had no idea what my time was. It was during my period of running while I was in college where I was pretty serious about it, but had no clue about technique or training or finding the right shoes or paces or wearing technical clothing, etc… But the races were in 2005 and 2006, which shows me that I took a whopping SIX YEARS off of running before my next race in 2012, and I’m happy to report I’ve been running consistently since 2012. My times for the races were 30:23 and 30:22. At least I’m a little faster now!

I also found this hilarious picture of me and my friend Patrick after the 5K in 2006, during which I was absolutely miserable and hot and it was really hard.

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Cool outfit.

Here’s to making the most of the next four weeks!

Life in Paris

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The past few weeks (we’ve already been in Paris THREE WEEKS, how is that possible?!) have been pretty great, minus the week I spent in bed sick. I’m finally feeling healthy again aside from some residual stuffiness – it’s been the longest cold ever – and our days have been filled with exploring the city, eating delicious food, a visit from Nicole, and running.

Whirlwind Sightseeing Tour

Nicole had only been to Paris once before and it was in high school, so I wanted to make sure we walked around a lot and saw a good amount of sights. I love the size of Paris; it’s a big city but totally walkable. And you can always hop on the super-efficient Metro if needed. Many stores/restaurants are closed in August since it’s when most Parisians go on vacation and the city is filled with tourists, but it is still great (obviously).

Jeremy and I took Nicole to Le Perchoir for her first night, a rooftop bar overlooking the city.

Jeremy and I took Nicole to Le Perchoir for her first night, a rooftop bar overlooking the city.

On the Metro.

On the Metro.

Finally celebrating my birthday with a champagne picnic.

Finally celebrating my birthday with a champagne picnic.

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At Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

Sacre Coeur at night.

Sacre Coeur at night.

Supermoon over Paris.

Supermoon over Paris.

Supermoon in our hood.

Supermoon in our hood.

Pont des Arts.

Pont des Arts.

Sacre Coeur from a distance.

Sacre Coeur from a distance.

Jardin du Luxembourg.

Jardin du Luxembourg.

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Right before it started raining at Jardin du Luxembourg.

Right before it started raining at Jardin du Luxembourg.

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Drinking wine on the Canal Saint-Martin, one of my favorite things to do here.

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Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Another shot from the super cool Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Another shot from the super cool Musée des Arts et Métiers.

Food

Jeremy and I spent the first couple weeks here resetting our bodies, since we were feeling sluggish and puffy after eating unhealthy (albeit delicious) food and alcohol the past few weeks/months. It helped a lot abstaining from alcohol, dairy, and sweets. When Nicole got here, I was ready to indulge in the deliciousness that Paris has to offer, and it did not disappoint.

No trip to Paris is complete without late night crepes.

No trip to Paris is complete without late night crepes.

The hugest raw salmon burger and French fries.

The hugest raw salmon burger and French fries.

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Close up of this incredible salad.

Close up of that incredible salad.

Veggies cooked in delicious butter.

Veggies cooked in delicious butter.

We ate this falafel hours after Nicole arrived.

We ate this falafel hours after Nicole arrived.

Nicole and I had a lady date at Laduree complete with tea and macarons.

Nicole and I had a lady date at Ladurée complete with tea and macarons.

The interior of Ladurée.

The interior of Ladurée.

I want a macaron hat.

I want a macaron hat.

Some birthday treats.

Some birthday treats.

Delicious goat cheese from the local fromagerie.

Delicious goat cheese from the local fromagerie.

Running

I feel like I’ve made some progress lately, and I’ve had some nice runs the past week or so. Nicole and I went running a couple times, which was fun since I haven’t run with anyone in ages, and I got in nine great miles on Monday. I feel better knowing that maybe I won’t suffer too much during the Dingle Half in three weeks (!!!).

Me and Frimeuse the dog.

Me and Frimeuse the dog.

This one felt good.

This one felt good.

It's been raining a lot lately, but it's been perfect running weather.

It’s been raining a lot lately, but it’s been perfect running weather.

Seen on my run.

Seen on my run.

My training has been all over the place and I’m not really following a plan, so we’ll see how it goes at the race in a few weeks. I am planning on joining a running group tomorrow morning for a 15k run, which I’m a little nervous about since I don’t know anyone and I’m shy in these types of situations, but I really want to do it. Hopefully I won’t lose my nerve!

My Next Race

photo-8 copy 2Happy Monday! Thanks everyone for the birthday and get well wishes, I’m feeling better and hopefully the celebrations can happen soon! Jeremy and I explored Paris a bit more over the weekend, although I tried to keep things nice and easy, as to not overdo it when I wasn’t 100% better.

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The Louvre.

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Jardin des Tuileries.

 

Place de la République right after a big rain storm.

Place de la République right after a big rainstorm.

Jeremy and I had to get pictures taken for our Navigo Decouverte public transportation cards for the month and you're not allowed to smile. They look like mugshots.

Jeremy and I had to get pictures taken for our Navigo Découverte public transportation cards for the month and you’re not allowed to smile. They look like mugshots.

Yesterday, after taking an entire week off, I was feeling well enough to try to run (I adhered to the neck rule, if your symptoms are only above the neck it’s okay to run, below the neck it’s not, to summarize). I was planning on doing an easy three miles to see how I felt, but I ended up running six. Originally it was because I was feeling surprisingly good and wanted to keep going, then I got lost and ended up so far away from our apartment, it turned into more miles than I had anticipated.

Seen on my run.

Seen on my run.

The back of the castle near our apartment. It was such a nice day.

The back of the castle near our apartment. It was such a nice day.

This morning, I finally registered for a race! I haven’t run a race since the San Diego Half Marathon right before we left for Europe in March. I had big plans on running a ton of races while traveling, but it’s been so hard to find ones that actually coincide with our trip, and in many countries you need a signed doctor’s note to run, which I don’t have.

Originally, I had my eyes set on the Budapest Half Marathon in September. Jeremy and I booked an Airbnb there and it seemed to be good timing. We then booked an apartment on the island of Zakynthos in Greece to travel to after Budapest. Well, we booked these things way back in April, before we had any idea how our travels would unfold. It was stupid. We had high hopes that it would be super cheap to get to Budapest and Greece, and it would take us all the way into October. After checking pretty much weekly for prices of airfare to both places, it was obvious that it was going to be way too expensive. It was a bummer, but a good lesson to learn (namely, don’t get so caught up in the excitement of travel and pictures of the turquoise water in Greece that you neglect to think about practical stuff like exorbitant travel costs and logistics). One crazy thing about the Budapest Half Marathon is that the cut off time is two and a half hours. That is insane! I ran the SD Half in 2:15, and I was taking it easy, but still… I’d be at the back of the pack.

So, I was on the lookout for a half marathon again. After we leave Paris at the end of August, we are traveling to Bordeaux to meet up with some friends. I saw online that airfare to Dublin from Bordeaux was pretty inexpensive and Jeremy and I had talked a lot about traveling in Ireland, so I did a quick search of races in early September. Serendipitously, the Dingle Half Marathon lands on the perfect weekend. The Dingle Peninsula is on the west coast of Ireland, and it is sister cities with Santa Barbara (where I’m from), so I’ve been hearing about it since I was young. It was fate! We quickly figured out that we could make it work, so we booked plane tickets to Dublin, and we’re going to rent a car and drive to Dingle. After the race, we’ll drive north some, and then land back in Dublin and spend a week there. I’m pretty excited!

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 The course looks beautiful, and it runs through countryside and along cliffs going into the ocean.

Pictures from the event’s website:

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I am so excited to finally have a race to look forward to, and to train for. I am no way near in shape enough to PR, and apparently the course has many brutal hills. I’m not concerned with my time at all, I just want to enjoy the scenery and the experience of running a race in a different country.

Dingle itself looks like an extremely charming coastal Irish town filled with colorful pubs and B&Bs. There’s even a dolphin that lives in the harbor (by choice) named Fungie. I just want to hear some traditional Irish music being played next to me at a pub and drink a Guinness. Only five weeks to go!

First Few Days in Paris and a Rescheduled Birthday

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I love Paris. I know everyone says that, but you guys, I really love it. We have been to so many beautiful cities and small charming towns in Europe and I have loved those too, but there is just something about Paris. I know I mentioned it the last time we were here, but it gives me the same feeling as San Francisco… I feel like I belong here (I just need to go shopping so I actually fit in – everyone looks so fashionable and put together here).

I love these buildings.

I love these buildings.

We accepted this housesitting assignment all the way back in the beginning of April while sitting at a pub in London, only a week after arriving in Europe. We didn’t have any other plans really and maybe it was unwise to accept something so far in advance (which has not always worked out, but that’s for a different post), but there was no way I was turning down five weeks in Paris rent-free. We arrived last Friday, and have only actually explored the city once so far, because I’ve been so sick.

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Place de la Bastille.

Place de la Bastille.

The Bastille neighborhood on a quiet Sunday.

The Bastille neighborhood on a quiet Sunday.

Heh, if only he had a hat to wear that would take care of the bright sun problem.

Heh, if only he had a hat to wear to shade his face from the bright sun…

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Yesterday was my birthday, and I woke up feeling worse than the day before, so Jeremy and I decided to reschedule my birthday, and celebrate when I’m feeling 100%. I think the reason I get hit so hard when I do get sick is because I don’t sleep. I’ve been averaging 3-5 hours of sleep a night, which doesn’t do much for recovering. And I’m unable to take naps during the day, like a normal sick person. Come on, body! I spent the day mostly in bed, but I did get up to walk a few blocks away to a park we hadn’t been to yet, and what did we see? The Eiffel Tower!

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It may be tiny, but it’s there!

What a face!

What a face!

Our dogs for the month, Frimeuse and Leo.

Our dogs for the month, Frimeuse and Leo.

Jeremy made me my favorite breakfast (fried egg with toast, sliced tomato, avocado, and iced coffee), and made salmon for dinner. I’m feeling a bit better today, so I’m sure I’ll be back on my feet soon. I’m really itching to go running, and go explore every inch of Paris. One of my best friends Nicole will be here in six days, so I HAVE to be all better! Our apartment is near the Bois de Vincennes, which is the biggest park in Paris; it’s three times the size of Central Park. I have gone running there once so far, and I thought I covered a good bit of ground, but turns out I only reached one corner of it. It’s a perfect place to have close by!

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One of the lakes in the Bois de Vincennes; you can rent rowboats here!

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I got a little lost and found some [creepy] teepees in the woods.

Bois-de-Vincennes-Park-Map Today, I’m feeling a little better and Jeremy and I are going to walk to the health food store we discovered, which sells kombucha! It was a very exciting discovery. Now, if there was only a cold-pressed juice place nearby… Happy weekend!

A Week in Amsterdam

Well, I’m writing this post from bed in Paris because I’m sick. This is my third day in bed, and I feel worse today than the past two days, so that’s fun. It’s my birthday tomorrow and we had these grand plans of going to a cheese shop and wine shop and picnicking in a park with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I’m remaining optimistic that I’ll miraculously be better by tomorrow morning, but we may have to postpone the birthday celebration. Over the past few months, I kept telling myself that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t gotten a cold or anything yet, after having bouts of poor sleep and being around so many people while traveling. I never said it out loud though, in case I jinxed it. When we arrived at our housesitting assignment in Paris on Friday, I noticed the daughter of our host seemed like she was getting over a cold. I made a comment to Jeremy about it, and we both brushed it off and agreed that I wouldn’t get sick. Well, I woke up feeling like crap on Monday, and have felt worse ever since. At least my body waited until we were settled in somewhere for a while, instead of wasting half a week in bed in a place we were just visiting for a short time.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be feeling better real soon, and Jeremy is taking good care of me.

I wanted to share some pictures from our week in Amsterdam, which was really fun. Neither of us had ever been before, and the only things I thought about the city before visiting were weed and canals. And it’s true, there are lots of both of those things, but it’s also a really charming, clean city that has beautiful architecture and a lot to explore.

Leaving Berlin.

Leaving Berlin. Only half-thumbs up since we loved Berlin so much and were sad to leave.

We took a train from Berlin to Amsterdam, which was supposed to take about six hours. Since it was a long ride and the price difference wasn’t much, we bought first-class tickets so we’d have more comfortable seats. Turns out that on these specific trains, the only first-class cabins are compartments with six people in each. I thought it would be weird to be in a little enclosed room with six people for six hours, but everyone else ended up leaving after a few hours, and Jeremy and I had the whole compartment to ourselves after that, which was really nice.

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Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. About two hours away from Amsterdam, the conductor announced that the train was going to stop and everyone needed to get off because two of the cabins of the train didn’t have air conditioning and it was hot. There weren’t really any other instructions after that as to how to actually get to our destination, but we all got off the train in some random town in the Netherlands, and everybody was confused. We found an American family to talk to and ask, but they were just as clueless as we were. A regional train pulled up and everybody started getting on, so we got on too. Well, just a heads up: if you travel by train to Amsterdam on a Friday afternoon, people will be partying (could have also had something to do with the Germans just winning the World Cup). People had huge coolers full of beer on the ground in the train and music with speakers, and there were lots of drunk people. One guy dropped a beer next to me and Jeremy, and luckily it just got on my clothes and didn’t soak through my suitcase or anything (I guess that’s lucky?). I felt like such a square because I’m sure I was frowning disapprovingly when everyone else was just trying to have a good time, but I was just over it and wanted to be in Amsterdam. We ended up getting off that train after a little while because some other people were (the blind following the blind), then we took another train that eventually got us to the Central Station in Amsterdam, and we took a tram from there. Our Airbnb host gave us wrong directions so we got lost wandering around for a while after that, but we finally made it. Phew. From there, it was much smoother sailing, and we spent the week exploring the city by foot (as usual).

Finally arrived in Amsterdam!

The Central Station in Amsterdam.

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Inside our Airbnb apartment.

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I feel like we hadn't had a picnic in so long. We got a couple good ones in last week.

I feel like we hadn’t had a picnic in so long. We got a few good ones in last week.

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We went to the Albert Cuypmarkt specifically for these stroopwafels.

Fresh, hot stroopwafel.

Fresh, hot stroopwafel – two thin waffles with a caramel-like syrup in the middle.

Albert Cuypmarkt.

Albert Cuypmarkt.

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Beer tasting at the Amsterdam brewery, De Prael.

Beer tasting at the Amsterdam brewery, De Prael.

Huge rounds of gouda cheese. My heaven.

Huge rounds of gouda cheese. My heaven.

More pretty canals.

More pretty canals.

A little dish filled with local specialties... except we didn't know what any of it was. But it was good!

A little dish filled with local specialties… except we didn’t know it was, really. But it was good! Tasted like potato salad, maybe tuna salad. And mayonnaise. And maybe meat? Who knows.

One of the more interesting foodstuffs I found, sheets of coconut to eat on toast! They were absolutely delicious.

One of the more interesting foodstuffs I found, sheets of coconut to eat on toast! They were absolutely delicious.

Of course we had to visit the famous sign.

Of course we had to visit the famous sign.

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I’m in there… somewhere.

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Another picnic.

Another picnic.

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I found organic peanut butter and it wasn't expensive! And it was gone shortly after...

I found organic peanut butter and it wasn’t expensive! And it was gone shortly after…

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Amsterdam Noord

We took a day trip to the northern part of the city, Amsterdam Noord, which turned out to be a cool area with a lot less tourists. The ferry leaves from behind the central train station, and it’s free. We brought a picnic with us, and found a nice lawn outside that big white building in the picture below, which is a cinema museum called The Eye.

We took a five-minute free ferry to Amsterdam Noord and had another picnic.

We brought the middle beer from Berlin, and the Tripel Karmeliet is a beer I used to drink at a place in Athens, Georgia, when I was in the mood to buy an expensive beer. It was at the grocery store for so cheap!

We brought the middle beer from Berlin, and the Tripel Karmeliet is a beer I used to drink at a place in Athens, Georgia, when I was in the mood to buy an expensive beer. It was at the grocery store in Amsterdam for so cheap!

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I love these tiny cars. They drive in the bicycle lane!

I love these tiny cars. They drive in the bicycle lane!

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We found this place called Noorderlicht made out of huge see-through greenhouse/airport hangar-type building and stopped for a drink.

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It was right on the river and had a really nice view.

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Apartments made out of shipping containers.

Apartments made out of shipping containers.

A boat made into a hotel.

A boat made into a hotel – Botel.

Seen on our ferry ride back.

Seen on our ferry ride back.

A few observations:

– We made almost all of our meals at our apartment, and the grocery stores in Amsterdam were by far the nicest we’ve been to during our travels.

– They are very serious about their bicycles in the Netherlands. There are big bike parking lots, and if you step into the bike path without looking, prepared to almost get side-swiped. Tiny cars and motorcycles/scooters can also use the bike paths, so you’d better watch your step.

– It was really crazy to be walking around and see and smell people smoking pot out in public. There are about 200 coffeeshops (the name for the cafés that sell marijuana) in central Amsterdam alone, so you are guaranteed to walk by a few even if you’re just going a short ways. We went into a couple – just to see what they were like! – and the people working there were very nice to us, and there are menus with descriptions and you can just order whichever strain you’d like.

We really liked Amsterdam, and the next time we return to Holland, I’d love to explore other cities, and take a bike ride through the countryside (which we were hoping to do, but it didn’t happen).

What We Ate in Berlin

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We spent way too much money eating out in Italy. But could you blame us? Italy is known for its food, and especially being in Bologna, it was very hard to resist. But I don’t regret it, even if my clothes were getting increasingly tighter… So, leaving Italy and returning to Germany, we knew we had to cut back on expenses, and cook more meals ourselves, or find cheap street food. We ended up doing a lot more of the latter, because the street food turned out to be delicious in Berlin.

Mauerpark Flea Market

On Sundays, there is a huge flea market in Mauerpark, which is in the northern district of Prenzlauer Berg. It is really popular with tourists, and even though it had been raining moments before we got there and there were huge puddles everywhere, it was still packed. We didn’t do any shopping, but we heard there was good street food, so we wanted to check it out. There were lots of food stands and outdoor bars, and it had a general music-festival vibe to it; I kind of felt like I was at SXSW in Austin, Texas. But it happens every Sunday in Berlin! We checked out as many food stands as we could before making our decision on what to eat.

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A magician performing for people at the amphitheater in Mauerpark. There is usually karaoke held here, but it was cancelled due to the rain (I think).

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We ended up going to this stand that had fresh pizzas come out of the oven every ten minutes. Whenever there was a fresh batch, a lined formed immediately.

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We got a white pizza with potato on top. And of course a weissbier to wash it down.

We weren’t planning on getting dessert, but we couldn’t walk past this booth selling made-to-order waffles on a stick without getting one. And they were only 2 euro. We chose white chocolate to be poured on top of it. It was VERY tasty.

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Das Gift

The night of the World Cup final game, we wanted to go to a bar and catch some of the action, but not be surrounded by hoards of people (something like 200,000 people were watching the match at Brandenburg Gate). We walked from our apartment to Kreuzberg and beyond to Neukölln and decided on Das Gift, a bar owned by Barry Burns (of post-rock band Mogwai) and his wife. The menu is primarily Scottish food, and we ordered a mini haggis plate, which was only 5 euro. We got the vegetarian version, which sounds weird since haggis is primarily meat-parts, but it was really good.

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You know a bar is going to be good if they have Dolly on the menu.

Mini haggis plate, vegetarian style (

Mini haggis plate, vegetarian style (instead of meat, it was kidney beans, lentils, root vegetables, and cereals, packed into a man-made casing and cooked, according to Das Gift’s Tumblr. It was on top of a potato and turnip mash with a sauce made from whiskey.)

The plate was a little small for the two of us, so we ordered the Scottish cheese plate after, but I didn’t get a picture. After the game was over and Germany won, there was craziness in the streets with people yelling and all cars honking, but nothing out of hand. It was pretty fun.

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Right after Germany won.

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Falafel

Falafel has been so easy to come by in most of the big cities we’ve visited. The Turkish population is large in Berlin, and before even arriving we were looking forward to trying some of the popular places.

The first place we tried was called Maroush, and the rave reviews online were justified. Our falafel sandwiches were only 2.50 euro.

 

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Another place we tried was called Tadim, and I got a falafel sandwich, while Jeremy got a lahmacun, a Turkish pizza with doner meat on it, rolled into a burrito.

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My falafel sandwich from Tadim.

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Jeremy’s lahmacun.

One night, we were in a long line to eat at Burgermeister in Kreuzberg. But after waiting 15 minutes or so and not getting much closer to the front of the line, we decided to walk around and find another falafel to eat (we might be addicted).

Burgermeister in Kreuzberg.

The very popular Burgermeister in Kreuzberg.

We had read so many “best cheap eats in Berlin”-type articles online that all mentioned the same places, so we wanted to venture out on our own and discover something different. We ended up finding the best falafel we had eaten in Berlin so far, and they were wrapped like burritos.

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I don’t have a picture of the inside of the burritos, but just trust me, they were delicious. And we finished them off with some baclava, which was the best I’ve ever had.

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Street Food Thursday

A couple friends from Georgia, Kyle and Antje, now live in Berlin, and we met up with them at something called Street Food Thursday, held at Markthalle Neun. The big space is filled to the brim with food stands that include all sorts of food types. We met soon after it opened so we could hopefully get seats at the communal tables, and it was already packed by the time we got there.

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IMG_8036 It was SO hard to decide what to get, but I ended up with a ramen burger with kimchi on the side, and Jeremy got an empanada and a tofu sandwich with steamed buns.

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The packed Markthalle Neun.

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Our dessert, a freshly baked peanut butter cookie with homemade ice cream on top.

After dinner, we walked around Kreuzberg a bit and enjoyed catching up with Kyle and Antje, who we hadn’t seen in years.

Oberbaum Bridge at magic hour.

Oberbaum Bridge at magic hour.

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Street Food Thursday was a big highlight of our week, and just another example of what makes Berlin such a great city.

Running in Berlin

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Still excited about my new hat.

As huge as Berlin is, there is a lot of green space. And, like Bavaria, there are pedestrian and biking paths everywhere. Even though it would have been easy to run on streets since there are always sidewalks, and the blocks are huuuge, I wanted to stay near a park where I could run in car-free places. So we chose an Airbnb apartment near Treptower Park. All I had to do was run a block, cross a bridge, and miles of beautiful paths were at my disposal.

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Nice view of the Molecule Man statue.

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Seen on my run.

Seen on my run.

A club/bar that had techno music pumping 24 hours a day.

An outdoor club/bar that had techno music pumping 24 hours a day.

Hostel on a boat.

Hostel on a boat.

Once I was in the park, there were paths that ran along the Spree River, and also paths that ventured into the woods. I stayed on the dirt paths that went along the river for miles and miles.

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I love these Weeping Willows.

We returned to rent a boat from this place later in the week.

We returned to rent a boat from this place later in the week.

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Pedestrian paths for days.

Pedestrian paths for days.

Dirt path along the river.

Dirt path along the river.

The Spree River is massive.

The Spree River is massive.

I’ve been averaging three runs a week, and lots of walking on days I don’t run. I’ve been experimenting with listening to podcasts while running, and the first one I downloaded is called Motion Traxx. It’s actually just a techno-type mix that has a constant beat of 170 bpm. There are a lot of different ones you can download with different themes or bpm. I know I need to speed my cadence up, and so I made sure to keep on the beat the whole time while running. It made a big difference with my form, and I ended up running faster than usual, which is good since I need to start working on my endurance and speed again. I felt like I had so much energy, which was probably also thanks to the good night’s sleep I got the night before. I haven’t been sleeping great lately, and it makes such a big difference in energy levels.

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My two other runs felt pretty good too, and I just really enjoyed running in the park.

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I was hoping to join a sight running tour in Berlin, and I found one that runs part of the Berlin Marathon route. I contacted Mike’s SightRunning and was hoping to be able to squeeze into another group’s tour, since it was pretty expensive to take a private one just by myself. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but I saw so many great reviews of Mike and he was very nice and responsive in our emails, I would recommend contacting him if you’re ever in Berlin and want to take a guided running tour!