Friday, 1 April 2016

'Early Morning Run in... Nuremberg'


0630 hrs. Gentle pace to begin. I ease past a fellow jogger. Strange… he's wearing leather lederhosen type shorts with a bib, long socks, a trilby hat, sporting a rather large bushy moustache...

"Guten morgen,” I offer cheerily. No response, how miserable, as he cuts me up on the pavement, shoving me into a bush…

Kidding, there was no bush. I do notice the jaunty grey feather in his green trilby.

Folks, we have a completely unexpected short notice weekend to Germany. Travel here from South Sudan; via Nairobi, Amsterdam, & Paris. One meeting and a trade show.






































Time to slip in a quick run around this wonderful Bavarian city? Of course. Time to wind the clock back with an evening of big beer and big sausages? Of course…

You see I was posted here with the British Army as a young soldier at the end of the 70s, early 80s. The so-called ‘Cold War’. 4 years of waiting for hairy arsed, vodka swilling Ruskies to spill across the German plains.

Germany 1978? At barely 19 you're not ready for a cultural experience, for learning a new language, for exploring Europe... 

A reader wrote recently asking what was the toughest thing I’d ever experienced in the Army? Not necessarily the easiest question to answer. I think it has to be seeing Jim Davidson, tough going… Germany is bringing back memories of my former shipmates… there’s my mate, Corporal Johnny Admin, in the front row…














Arrived Nuremberg 2230 hrs last night. My taxi driver was funny in that German way of ‘funny’. He didn't speak English. Luckily I do have some German. After the aforementioned 4 years in Osnabruck, my British Tommy play book;

Guten tag, wie geht?
Sprichst du Englisch?
Ein bier bitte
Ja, noch ein bier bitte (Yes, another beer please)
Ja, noch ein bier bitte (Yes, another beer please)
Schnellimbiss 
Bratwurst mit pommes frites und mayonnaise bitte
Taxi
Mercer Kaserne, bitte (Mercer Barracks, please)
Wie viel... sie scherzen? (How much... you're kidding?)
Bandido (bandido)
Wonderbra (wonderful)
Danke, auf Wiedersehen

I ask the rather stout driver if he takes credit cards. Ja, he does. He's sat in his big cream Mercedes with the heater on full blast wearing a huge leather parka with the collar up. German taxi drivers don't do layering. He obviously says to himself, in German, let me show you what a great driver I am and how fast this baby can go. The only thing missing, which would have transported me directly back to 1980, was Boney M, or perhaps The Goombay Dance Band. 

Traffic is light allowing us to hit high speeds and change lanes at will. He now says & signs with his hands there's a problem with credit cards, needs to be at least €25 on the meter. No problem I say and sign back, just keep speeding round in circles, we'll get there... bandido…

First thing to point out is the temperature swing. 42C in Juba last week, this morning 2C with snow earlier. Second is I'm completely ill equipped. I wonder, other joggers in dirty sandy coloured trainers, shorts, with street clothes added to a T shirt for extra layers? Probably not...

I'm taken an Airbnb 3 kms south of downtown. Let's head towards town... freezing by the way, my hands, fingers... need to get a wiggle on this morning… 

I'm setting myself a target of writing this post without reverting to any cheap German stereotyping. Let's see how I do...

A real quick run today, pausing only briefly for a few photos to bring Nuremberg to life for you. Mission? Find a good cafe for brekkie. Perhaps a gym for tomorrow, and most importantly a Bavarian style restaurant with the requisite big sausages and big beer for later this evening... keep your eyes peeled...

So, let’s go… I've seen off the fellow with the grand facial hair. Heading towards the old city. Cobbled streets and mostly pedestrianised. It's early and public transport everywhere. Trams, and an underground. The city, home to around 500,000 souls, is beautiful. A staggering amount of churches and old fortifications near a fine looking castle. I weave back and forwards over a meandering river. All blends in wonderfully. Liking Nuremberg.






































Not too many fellow joggers for company, mind you barely 0700 hrs and bleedin chilly. I run through the main square. All cobbled, about the size of 4 football pitches. I've read they’ve a substantial Christmas market annually. The square sits beautifully, with great architecture and churches mixing with higher end retail.

Ah, now, this looks like the place.



I’m already picturing wooden benches. Packed. Boisterous atmosphere. Well rounded blond frauleins, some with moustaches, all with pigtails, in white frilly low blouses who can carry 3 giant foaming beers in each hand. Leather attire everywhere. Checked shirts. Red braces. Thumping great bratwursts. Kenny Loggins soundtrack. David Hasselhoff. Different these days? Hope not…

That’s for later. 20 mins into the run, feeling slightly less cold. Going OK this morning considering 5 hours sleep and 9 hours yesterday cooped up next to the tail gunner. A fellow jogger glides past me, with a self satisfied look. He hasn't, he looks perfectly normal. My imagination wanted him to be smug. He’s appropriately dressed with thin running gloves, a beanie (wish I had one), running tights, all layered up. In response I turn up the collar on my short sleeved polo shirt, my outer layer. Try to respond and match his pace. He’s lucky this time, I have to stop for another photo. The blog comes first… see what I mean about the architecture?



25 mins. Need to start heading back. I lift the pace. Can’t get Herr Loggins out of my mind. But then, I've got this feeling... that times are holding me down... I'll hit the ceiling... or else I'll tear up this town... perhaps cut loose, footloose… let's push on back…

Arrive back at Cristina’s Airbnb (thanks, you were a fabulous host) with just over 40 mins on the clock. A great run in uplifting surroundings. Light years away from Juba. Feels fantastic to be back in Europe, albeit for a weekend.

P.S. So, come on? How was ‘Bratwurst Roslein’ last night?

Well, the place was jam packed as expected. I was guided to a bench by a server who said she’d checked with the opposite diner and all was fine. I was sharing. Sit down, go straight into my British Tommy play book. Low and behold this fellow, in the leather jacket, isn’t Herr Smit from Bavaria. He’s Herr Wee Robbie, a short arse ginger nut from Glasgow. Here for a trade show apparently.

I have to close with a line from PJ Wodehouse, who once said that it's never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine. How true... thanks Wee Robbie… you made me laugh. A lot. Wonderbra. A top night, rounded off with a couple of snapps… see you all back in Africa…

Es ist schon nehmen Sie ein Vergnugen, um Nuremberg. Ich liebe Deutsche Volk. Danke, auf Wiedersehen.

@roadrunnertns