December 18, 2009

Started with a run this morning. It was extremely cold. Probably the coldest weather I've ever run in. I had chunks of ice in my beard when I got back, and my hands were pretty much numb. I'll probably take the threadmill next time.

I wanted to try to drive the classic Trabant today. There was a place around the corner from the hotel that had tours where the participants were driving their own Trabant in a convoy. I got a tour at 1pm and passed the time by sitting around in coffee shops, one of them called Einstein Kaffe, which seems to be have a lot of stores (they have Starbucks too), but I can visit them when I get back, so why bother now? Besides the prices in Starbucks is about 2x the US, and paying $8 for a white chocolate mocha just seems a little too much.

At 1pm, I got situated in a nice looking pink Trabant. The shifter is up by the steering wheel, and I started by forgetting to let go of the parking break, which caused my first stall. I got the 26HP 2 stroke engine going again, and out in the streets we went. I was surprised to they didn't even asked for a drivers license. They did ask if I had tried to drive a stick before. The techique to avoid the stalls is to give it full throttle before letting go of the clutch. With the winter conditions there was quite a bit of slipping a sliding, but that just made it even more fun. The whole tour took about an hour and went by some of the main sights. I did learn that Berlin, evidently, have two Zoos (one of them home to the famous Polar Bear pub, Knut). When the two halves were combined they decided to keep both Zoos.

There's a short video here

When the tour was over, my feet were pretty much numb. The heater in the car was barely working and I was shaking pretty badly, with cramps developing in both legs, from sitting in a cramped position for the past hour.

Back to the hotel and the sauna I went, and spent at least an hour thawing. It felt pretty good, and caused a good appetite for some Bavarian food. I found the best restaurant so far (too bad this is my last night here). The choice was some meatballs with mashed and carrots. Had the meatballs not been severely overcooked it would've been a good meal... Oh well, I got a free beer.