Tuesday, June 24, 2014

½ Sauer ½ Kraut - Philadelphia, Days 3-4


Saturday, July 14, 2014

After an awesome day of sightseeing and nibbles, we woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, and Mike and Shelby very kindly picked us up to drive us to the race. It was Shelby and Molly's first half-marathons, and my and Laura's second, so we all had a little bit of nerves going into it.

Turns out the nerves were mostly for naught! It was a fantastic race. Shelby and I had decided to run the race together ahead of time, so Molly and Laura headed off in the 3rd wave, at a faster pace, and we met them at the end. The race course was really lovely.  Though it was warm and sunny, almost all of the path through Pennypacker Park was shaded and cool. There were plenty of water stops, each manned by people in lederhosen and dirndls, since this was a German themed race. Several people ran in costume, which was a lot of fun to watch, too!

My favorite part of the run was also one of the hardest - a half-mile trail-run portion. I'd never done any sort of trail-run before, so I didn't know what to expect. It was very muddy (see the picture below), and obviously it was at a very slow pace, but it was tons of fun! I was a little nervous about tripping, just because that sort of thing happens to me a lot, but we slowly made our way through and it was a blast. I can't say I'm going to sign up for any trail-runs again soon, but I'm really glad to have tried it, and definitely hope to run this race again next year!

Shelby and I were rocking our pace for the first ten miles, and we were actually going much faster than we'd originally intended. Unfortunately, at mile 10, she had some really awful muscle spasms in her foot and calf. It was really horrible to have to watch her in such pain, and not have anything I could do to help. She did some stretches and ate a Gu, and decided she could keep going, but at a walking pace. We walked the last 3.1 miles, and while it definitely meant we weren't going to meet our time goal, I was so glad we were able to finish together. Shelby, like the champion she is, even managed to jog for the last half-mile or so at the race, so we could cross the finish line running!

The after party was awesome. Seriously one of the best I've ever been to. They had some great German bands and dancers, and the race grub - brats and beer - was fantastic. And, unlike a lot of the race parties I've been to, there was plenty of seating and nothing felt chaotic or over crowded. We even saw two guys who run in the Putnam County Classic every year! They gave out prizes (cuckoo clocks, of course!) for fastest times and best costumes, and overall, it was a blast to hang out in the sun, eating, and relaxing.

After the party, Shelby and Mike dropped us off at Laura's apartment, where we planned to shower and then head out to a few street fairs and flea markets. It didn't quite work out that way, and instead, Laura, Molly and I ate leftover pasta while watching TV and lazing around. We'd earned it, though!

Laura stayed behind to wait for her boyfriend Jeff, and Molly and I went on a walk in the beautiful Philadelphia sunshine. She went to a lovely yarn shop we'd passed the day before, and I headed to Barbuzzo, a fantastic bar that a stranger in DiBruno's had mentioned, to meet Leanne, Liz, and Josh for drinks. I don't know if I've said it here before, but I love meeting friends from the internet. I'm always shocked by how easy it is to slip right into conversation like you've known each other for ages. The bar, despite being in the middle of a very commercial area and looking very fancy, was reasonably affordable, and had this incredible caramel cream pot for dessert that was just to die for. (If you want to make it, and I bet you do, here's the recipe.) Their pizzas also looked wonderful, but I had to hold myself back so I didn't spoil myself for dinner.

And look, we somehow managed to remember to ask Josh to take a photo of us:

A weekend of wonderful people!

After the bar, Leanne walked me over to Rittenhouse Square, where I hung around for a bit, listening to Museums without Walls and taking photos.

As I walked over to the restaurant, I discovered Tatyana, an adorable store with vintage-style dresses that I'd previously only seen on Modcloth. I tried on about a million, of course. I only wish they'd been open when I was in high school - I won the Retrosexual award in my drama club, ha! - or that I'd had some event to go to that justified spending the extra money. One day soon, and now at least I know they have a store in New York!

I met up with my friend Sarah (interestingly enough, the one who gave me my retrosexual award lo those ten years ago) for dinner at Russet, a really lovely BYOB farm-to-table restaurant. We split two types of pasta and a fish dish, and everything was delicious. We chatted for the better part of two hours, catching up on everything we've done since we last got together a year or two ago for a friend's graduation party. I love reconnecting with old friends like this. There are only so many people I know who remember what I looked like in second grade, and so I really value them, even if we don't see each other often.

Afterward, Sarah and I met up with Laura and Molly at a rooftop party, celebrating one of Laura's friends and his graduation. We had a gorgeous view of the city under the day-old honeymoon, and Molly played some great beats as it devolved into a dance party. The apartment was just stunning - a beautiful studio loft in a historic school building. I mean, seriously. Look at this place and tell me it isn't the most gorgeous apartment you've ever seen. We're moving to Philly. (Shockingly, despite being THE BEST PLACE EVER, buying one of these units would not be the most insane thing we could do, unlike buying any unit in NYC ever.)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I don't know how, but I managed to wake up on Sunday morning reasonably early and without a headache. Molly and I said our goodbyes and took a long walk north from Laura's apartment. We stopped along the way for some delicious cookies to bring home, and then decided we needed a pastry and coffee to tide us over. We stopped at Sabrina's, where the breakfast looked delicious, but like a little more than we wanted, and ordered two iced coffees. We were sad to learn they weren't serving any baked goods, so we sat outside in the sun and enjoyed the coffee. And then, a miracle that cemented Philadelphia as a place of joy in my mind: as we got up to get the check, they told us the coffee was on the house. I have no idea why, but it struck me as the absolute nicest thing that could ever happen to a person. So of course, it's first on my list to try for brunch next time we're down there.

I headed to the Mütter Museum to meet Shelby and Mike, while Molly made her way back to 30th Street Station.

It's been my goal since 2004 to go to the Mütter Museum. We actually went on that trip we took in 2008, but I got sick right before hand, and spent most of the time we were there vomiting in the bathroom instead of perusing the collection. You aren't allowed to take any photos inside, but it's a gorgeous old building filled with incredible medical oddities. I'm a giant fan of museums and ancient things, and this did not disappoint.

After the museum, we walked over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to pretend to be Rocky. Seriously, we had no intention of going in, but like a gazillion other people, just wandered around the Eakins Oval, which has an incredible monument to George Washington and then ran up the stairs.

It was pretty fantastic.

The museum is actually great, and has some pay-as-you-wish days, so it's definitely worth a visit, but we were short of time and hungry, so hanging out in the sun, we headed for one last meal and I thoroughly enjoyed my sandwich at Rybread down the street from the museum.

Overall, it was an incredible trip. I had so much fun and can't wait to go back with Roger one day soon. Philadelphia was even more wonderful than I'd remembered it, and it really felt like all of the wonderful things about New York (delicious food, adorable neighborhoods, tons of culture) without all of the terrible things (exorbitant prices, that urine smell everywhere). If only they had the same quality public transportation system, I'd be there in a heartbeat.

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