Monday, October 7, 2013

Shelley and Shana

A few weeks ago, after sitting empty for a few months (hint, hint family and friends), my guest room finally got some use.  Ironically, my first two guests (besides Sara) decided to come at the same time.  My A-100 classmate Shana visited for a few days from the Middle East, while Shelley stayed for a week.  They both arrived on Saturday and that evening we went out for dinner and some local Apfel wine.  Locals consider it a delicacy, but I haven't really developed the taste for it yet.

On Sunday, we ate brunch along the Main waterfront and then went over to Mainz for the day.  We got lucky in that they had a festival going on, so many of the stores and most of the restaurants were over.  Mainz has a cool cathedral and is home to the Gutenberg museum (I think he is from there).  Sunday evening, I had to work an election event across the river in Wiesbaden (nothing like changing into a suit in a parking garage!), so Shelley and Shana hung out downtown drinking wine while I worked the event (pretty cool event - lots of fun).  On Monday, the girls explored Frankfurt while I worked and that night we went out for a fantastic dinner of tapas, before Shana left on Tuesday.
This is like the only picture I have from Shana's visit

Shelley and I had a really good week.  We went for an eight mile run together as part of my marathon training (she is training for a long distance relay race).  We cooked some dinners at home.  On Friday night, we went back to Wiesbaden for a festival Shelley had heard about on the radio.  There, we heard a free concert by Mike and the Mechanics.  While I didn't recognize the name, I recognized a number of the songs, including "All I Need is a Miracle" and "The Living Years."  Turns out that "Mike" was one of the members of Genesis and this was his quite successful side project.  Throw in Flammenkuchen, bratwurst, and gelato and it was a great night.

Saturday, we went out for my longest run for marathon training - 20 miles.  Shelley planned to run part of it with me and then take the U-bahn back home, but she ended up sticking it out and running the whole thing.  I actually had a fantastic run.  I ran around a 10:30 - 11:00 min/mile pace, which is my goal for the race and I felt good.  Admittedly, I also liked outpacing Shelley for much of the run.  She said that she kept going mostly because if I could do it, she could do it.  Apparently, sibling rivalry still lives into our 30s.
Halfway through our 8 mile run
After the run on Saturday, we hung out for a bit at the Consulate Oktoberfest.  Shelley got to meet some of my co-workers.  Saturday night, we went to my very first Bundesliga game to see Eintracht Frankfurt take on Hamburg.  The game was very exciting with Frankfurt leading 1-0 and 2-1, but ultimately ending in a tie when Hamburg scored late goals in each half.  I will definitely be going back to another game.
The stadium has a room, but is still open air (it was cold)

Everyone holds up their scarves during the singing of a song before the game.
On Sunday, Shelley and I went with a friend of mine to Stuttgart for Oktoberfest.  While Munich's fest fills with drunken tourists, Stuttgart's fest fills with drunken Germans.  We really had a good time and ate fabulous food, drank awesome beer, and rode one of the awesome rides.  I was surprised at home much of a family festival it was, particularly the Midway portion with all of the rides.  Essentially, it is a really awesome state fair with fewer livestock (though we saw some pigs), slightly better rides, and awesome beer tents.  All of your carnival games, foods, and rides are there.  Parents dutifully chase kids high on sugar and teenagers race from ride to ride with their friends.  The beer tents were everything you'd expect from a stereotypical movie.  Germans (and plenty of other nationalities) sit at long benches with large liters of beer.  Most people wear dirndels and lederhosen (or at least the traditional checkered shirts).  Most of the tables in the tents (which are really more like huge banquet halls than tents in the traditional sense) are reserved, but we were able to find places in both places we went into.  The live band played traditional German songs that everyone seemed to know.  College kids and adults alike danced on top of the benches.  I definitely want to go to Munich next year, but I'll definitely be reserving a big table to go with a large group of friends.  So, if you want to go next year, let me know soon.
One of two Ferris Wheels

Shelley and I drinking our liters of beer

In the beer hall

Crazy hats seem to be a tradition at Oktoberfest

These heart cookies are typically given to a girlfriend; I bought one to give to Sara,
but Bailey got it off the table and ate it before I could send it to her.

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