Wandering Basel: Japanese Festival

I spent this weekend in Basel. Well, I did a day trip to Solothurn on Saturday, but Sunday I stayed around Basel mostly. The timing worked out well as there was a Japanese festival in nearby Münchenstein today. They had performances, workshops, and a karate workshop, as well as shops and (most importantly) food. You got free admission to the event of you dressed up (they were accepting kimonos and cosplay). No, I did not throw something together.

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I actually initially planned on going in the afternoon after my long run, but somehow didn’t feel like going for a two hour run when I woke up. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the festival, I missed a lot of the big demonstrations. I think I just missed the karate demonstration. I did have a lot of Japanese food, which I now realize that I haven’t had since I got here. There were a lot of options, but I ended up getting some yakisoba and karaage. Finished everything up with some matcha.

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It was a good way to spend the early part of the afternoon, but I couldn’t linger around for the afternoon demonstrations and performances. I did ultimately have to drag myself out on the aforementioned run and do some German practice for tomorrow’s class. The run ended up not being so bad even if it was hot. I ran to a big park that was recommended to me, so a lot of it was shaded.

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Not too bad for a somewhat lazy Sunday.

In Search of a Burger, Milkshake and Fries

Happy Friday everyone. Today I learned that Basel has an American themed diner. Like a proper 1950s style diner playing American baseball on the TV.

I’ve been watching season 2 of Riverdale recently, which, for the record, is kind of beautiful mess. It’s like if the writers of Gossip Girl and Gotham got together to write Archie fanfic that used the storylines of Veronica Mars and PLL. A beautiful mess. In any case, so many of the scenes take place at the diner that I have been craving a milk shake like mad.

So, I did what any person in the 21st century would do: I ran a Google search for “Milkshake” and “Basel” and found a diner. Now, I will admit that I felt a little silly being an American who can barely speak the local language, going to an American themed restaurant the most stereotypically American meal. Nevertheless, the burger was pretty amazing and I don’t regret it. They also have a pretty extensive Italian menu there (since it’s technically an Italian-American restaurant) and their bread was delicious.

And now I am here at home on the second half of my Baz Luhrmann double feature.

Happy Friday!

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Two Months in Switzerland

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I’m just going to do a short post today. As of yesterday, I have been in Switzerland for two months. In some ways, it feels like those two months have flown by incredibly quickly. In many others, it’s felt like like I’ve been here forever. Moments like the World Cup Final feel like they happened ages ago.

It’s been a good two months. I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot and still can’t quite get over the view of the Rhine at sunset. Life here has become considerably more normal in the past few weeks and not a strange and surreal series of events. While not everything has been picture perfect, this has been overall an incredible experience.

So, here’s to two months in Switzerland, a milestone that was celebrated with some homemade Mexican food. It satisfied those cravings, but I also do want to try to convince Chris to make carnitas when he’s here.

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The Swiss Life: Finding my Routes

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I am less than a month away from my next half marathon and have not been doing too much on the running front. I’m not completely panicked about it because 1) I have actually maintained a pretty consistent strength training routine, 2) my weekend mileage the past few months has been pretty high from all of the traveling and walking I’ve been doing, and 3) I really don’t run that fast. Nevertheless, I have to start at some point and with the extreme heat of the summer and not being around most weekends, it’d been hard to get started until now.

Back at home, I have my standard routes. I have my “I’m too busy/lazy, but need to get some mileage in” 2 mile loops, my 5k, 10k, and the 8+ mile routes that wind around the nearby trails. Moving to a new place means that I need to find routes that meet these criteria. Didn’t take long to find the 2 mile loop and I’ve found a 10k(ish) route, but I will need to keep looking around for new places to run at different distances.

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For today’s long run, I decided to take a roundabout loop that took me to the German border, you know, because I can. It reminded me of the first time I came to Basel and did a shorter version of this route. It’s silly, but I remember running by the houses along the Rhine and thinking how cool it’d be to live in one of them. Who knew?

Speaking of this half marathon, it turned out to be a bit of an adventure completing my registration for my race. You apparently have to get a doctor to sign off on half marathons and higher in France. I knew about this when I registered for the race, but thought that the form was required some time in September. I just happened to be checking the site Thursday night when I learned that the form was actually due on Friday. This caused some scrambling for both Chris and me, but I think we’re all set now. The worst case scenario would have been that we just spend the weekend in Paris, so it wouldn’t have been completely bad. But, now that I have it, I guess I have to find another race in France to do to make all that hustle worthwhile.

In any case, I realized that I have to be somewhat local if I want to get some good long runs in before the half, so we’ll see what the next few weeks will be like. Here’s to some Sunday Rundays and foam rolling sessions.

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Change of Plans

Sometimes the best laid plans go severely awry. The plan for the weekend was to visit Potsdam for its big castle festival. I spent the day on Saturday with a colleague of mine and got a wonderful tour of the city before we attended the festival. The plan was to spend the day on Sunday wandering Berlin before flying back to Basel.

The days preceding, I was suffering from tooth and jaw pain that I ignored because it was no different from the pain I get periodically from the fact that I grind my teeth.

And as the pain got worse, the plan went from leaving Potsdam early for a Berlin tour to spending a very low key day in Potsdam before heading to the airport. Then it went to me looking for trains back to Basel so I could get to a clinic in Basel. Then, when I woke up with half of a swollen face, it was a scramble to find an English speaking clinic in Berlin. If I couldn’t, it was the first train back to Basel.

I had trouble finding one online that was open on Sundays, but the people at the pharmacy at the Berlin HBF were incredibly nice and sent me with an address to a dentist I could go to.

After all was said and done, it was 11:30. I had a clean bill to take the plane back, but by that time, I was exhausted, hungry and a little disoriented from the numbing stuff they used when they did the work on me. I could have spent the next four to five hours wandering Berlin as planned, but I didn’t want to explore Berlin looking like a sad chipmunk. My colleague offered to let me stay with her until the flight, but I didn’t really want to impose. Besides, what I think I really needed was to sit on a train, play MarioKart and listen to podcasts

So, here I am, writing to you from hour two of the seven hour train ride from Berlin to Basel. It’s been an eventful day for sure.

I will post about Potsdam and the festival, which were both so much fun (toothpain aside), later this week.

Jazzfest in Basel

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I was going to spend this evening at home and post about my weekend trip out to Rhine Falls. Then, I found out in the office that there was a major jazz party in the city center and I had to check it out. Once a year, stages are set up all through the Old Town with over seventy musicians in a big open air jazz event known as Em Bebbi Sy Jazz.

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There were stages everywhere and you could just follow your ears from one stage to another, playing different styles of music. You could walk into an alley listening to big brass jazz and exit the next listening to funk music. It was a fun and disorienting tour of parts of Basel I have not yet explored.

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They had booths for food and drinks throughout the event. I foolishly went to one of the smaller ones, but quickly found out that the food stands got more and interesting the deeper in you went into the giant labyrinth of jazz.

I have an early morning flight tomorrow, so I was going to spend an hour there, but I ended up spending close to 2.5 and could have spent more if it wasn’t for that flight. It ended up being a lot of fun and I’m glad I found out about it in time.

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The Annual Rhine Swim

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Every year, Basel holds the Rheinschwimmen, which is a day in the summer where thousands of people will swim down the Rhine. Yesterday evening’s event was the 38th annual Rheinschwimmen (or Rhine Swim).

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the event, but it was branded with giveaways, balloons, and a sunscreen station. The procession of people walking towards the Tiguely Museum was more steady than usual and  it was a generally lively event. There was evening a guy spraying everyone on the shore with a hose. In general, it truly was just one big party.

I wasn’t going to jump in, but I was already in my swim suit and it was just instinct to follow the flood of people walking upstream. I figured if there’s any day when I’m comfortable jumping in alone, it’s the day when there are thousands of other people also swimming.

So, there we go. It’s a short post, but I felt I had to report back on the Rhine Swim.

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