I have been extremely bad with updating my blog and have a huge backlog of posts which I fear I’m probably never going to have the time to get down and write. There have been some fairly exciting developments happening in my personal life which has been taking up the majority of my time, but a, excitingly, are very much in line with my goals I had set out in one of my first ever posts here. I’m not in a position to say much about it now, but if all goes well, will definitely be writing a blog post on it in the future. *Fingers crossed*
For now however, let me recount my marathon adventures in Berlin from over 3 weekends ago now, with much apologies for the delay!
So, one topic which I have mentioned sporadically on this blog is running. I’ve never really gone into much detail about it, but I do enjoy a bit of endurance running here and there, especially when combined with my other true love and main blog topic, TRAVEL!
I had signed up for the Berlin Marathon over a year ago now, when I was somewhere by the beach in Australia. I didn’t know at that point, what the future had in store for me or where I would even be in a year’s time, but I signed up for it anyway because:
- Berlin is one of the fastest marathon courses in the world, and I wanted to break my marathon personal best time;
- I have never visited Berlin and have been meaning to for a while now; and
- It’s been a while since I’ve had my currywurst fix.
10 months came and went by in a blink. I finished my awesome solo travel trip, came back to London, went about my new life and soon found myself a month away from the race and injured. Ahhh! Though I would’ve loved Berlin to have been my brilliant welcome-back-to-racing race after over a year away from running, it was unfortunately not to be. Too many new things in my life and the need to focus my time and energy on learning new skills meant a lack of discipline and energy spent on training for a marathon, which led to over-exertion and injury.
With flights and hotels booked, I of course would still be heading to Berlin, though I wasn’t sure if I should risk further injury by attempting the run.
Spoiler: race fever about Berlin made it impossible for me to give up before trying, and I’m glad I did, because I still managed to finish the race despite my unfit state.
But let me take it from the top.
Day 1 – Arrival in Berlin
I arrived in Berlin on an early morning flight from Heathrow and made my way to a nice hotel located in Moabit (location chosen because of its close proximity to the race start). Eager to get my marathon errands out of the way, I took the underground to Tempelhof, an ex-airport at the Platz der Luftbrücke, to pick up my race number and check out the runner’s expo, picking up a doner kebab along the way.
I managed to waste a good few hours there, in this very packed but well-set out running expo. There were a good many stalls where I would have dearly loved to have spent some money on buying new running gear, but as I couldn’t really justify any need for them, had to be content with just “window shopping”.
The sun was low in the sky by the time I left the exhibition hall, and the day was cloudy and gloomy, with a light drizzle of rain. It did rather seem like I was stuck in some 1940’s dark war movie, which if you’ve ever visited Berlin, will know what I mean. It all seemed rather fitting, as my next intended stop was to visit the remnants of the Berlin Wall by the Spree River.
I tried walking what looked like the short distance on the map, but soon found out that Berlin is actually a very large, spread out city. With the sun setting fast, I decided to get the underground instead to Schlesisches Tor, where I got a view of the wall from the west side of the river.
Before crossing the bridge to get to the East Side Gallery, I made a detour to get myself a dirty burger at Burgermeister, a ridiculously popular burger stall located at a disused toilet under a flyover. After waiting for about 20 minutes, I finally got a taste of this filthily delicious burger. If you’re ever in Berlin, be sure to queue up for one of these!
Happily chomping on my burger, I crossed the Warschauer Street bridge to check out the East Side Gallery on Mühlenstraße. The East Side Gallery is a conserved graffiti project by 118 artists covering part of the Berlin Wall, celebrating its demise.
Not finding much else around the Mühlenstraße area, apart from some rather impressive pieces of street art, I walked all the way up to Frankfurter Tor in search for dinner (without much luck) before taking the train to Alexanderplatz.
I was greeted by the foreboding sight of the famous Berlin TV Tower (aka Fernsehturm Berlin) against a foggy backdrop which gave a cool streaky light effect to my photos.
Luckily for me, Alexanderplatz turned out to be the site of Berlin’s Oktoberfest, which meant lots of traditional German food on offer! I followed my nose and found this – rotisserie chicken with sauerkraut, a perfect hearty meal for a cold, foggy night.
It was nearing 11pm by the time I was done, so all that was left to do was to head back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.
Seeing as just writing 1 day’s worth of Berlin has already taken up over 1,200 words, I’m going to stop here for now and continue logging the rest of my Berlin trip in a second post.