Rest. Drinking. Recovery. Planning.
I've been away from the blog (and the run) for a few days, taking some time off to enjoy Zurich with some friends. My friends Nic (who I worked with at DS+R) and Tom (a fellow Columbian) are here, likely the last familiar faces that I will see for a long time (I don't really know anyone who lives south of here). I have also been taking some much needed time to plan the next stages of my trip. As some of you might have guessed, I have to cross over the Alps in a few days. It is a pretty big hill, and I want to make sure I'm running over it in the prettiest way. It is important that you go the pretty way when you are planning on climbing 1,622 meters in two days.
The run into Zurich was pretty easy and straightforward. The constant flickering rain/sun has continued, but I got into the city without a problem with one of the shortest runs that I have had in a while. I met Nic in the center of town, and we went around and visited the campuses of the ETH (a place that I'm thinking about spending some time at some point). During the tour I got to stop by the digital fabrication shop here (where Tom is interning for the summer) which really got me going. I had seen the guys here lecture at Columbia a while back, and since then I have been in love with the work that goes on here. They have a robotic arm that assembles bricks in incredibly complex patterns based on digital models (among other things). I want this robot so badly. The technology in digital fabrication is moving very quickly, but seeing what is possible today only makes me want more to come even faster. It is hard for me to wait to get back to that world, but I'm sure I'll be even more ready to get some good work done when the time comes. For now, it is running and more inspiration.
Zurich is a great city, and from the lake you have a majestic view of the mountains that I'll have to be crossing in a matter of days. They look cold and big.
Nic has many good friends here, and I spent the weekend partying with him until 4 am each night. He lives a half hour drive or so out of the city though, so I've been going with him back and forth to Aarau pretty frequently. Nic is not much bigger than me, so he let me borrow some clothes for the weekend, and I felt kind of strange walking around in normal clothes (including shoes and pants that were a couple sizes too big). The 'going out' scene here is pretty huge, and I had a lot of fun with Nic and his friends. One major downside however is the fact that it is legal to smoke indoors in Switzerland. All of my clothes would reek of cigarettes at the end of each night, and I frequently feel a little bit nauseous from spending too much time in a cloud of second hand smoke. Add that nausea to way too much whiskey and a windy drive back to Aarau at five in the morning and you'll find my dinner flying out the window of a moving car and an early morning car wash. I've gotten used to that kind of math...
I walked around the city a bit each day, checking out the old parts and the new. I saw the Stadelhofen train station, an earlier project by Santiago Calatrava, and was pleased and amazed to see that it wasn't composed of long white pointy things.
I also caught the end of the Zurich Ironman going by.
"Look, other runners!"
"They look tired..."
With all the running I've been doing, I still think that an Ironman would really, really suck.
I have also gotten fairly used to everyone here calling me Forrest Gump. I guess it is really the only popularly known example of someone running places alone...and while the story is pretty much completely different, I guess we both like running and eating chocolates. Almost every runner in the states has heard "Run Forrest Run!" mockingly shouted at them by some little punk on the side of the road. Take that same zeal and multiply it by every person I've met, and I've basically got a new second name.
I am currently sitting in a computer lab at the ETH, working on planning my next few stages. With the spacing of the towns, and the fact that I'm going up a pretty serious hill, I think I'll be doing some shorter days for the next week or so. Tonight I will stay with Tom in the city and head towards Baar in the morning. From there I will head south until I catch up to the No. 2 "wanderweg" which I will follow until I arrive in Italy...
I also don't have any prearranged places to stay for at least a week, so it looks like I'll be touching up on my Swiss German.
13 July 2009