Wow, what a busy weekend. Early Friday morning we dashed up to St. Pancreas, indulged in crispy croissants and bowls of coffee and tea and jumped onto the Eurostar bound for Brussels. We stayed in a friend’s apartment with a stunning view over the city.
After ditching our suitcases, we headed out for lunch and wandered into the old part of town. It was waffle shop, after chocolate shop, after macaroon shop. It smelt like heaven.
I was particularly taken by the La Grand Place which is a town square surrounded by amazing buildings dating from the 14th to the 17th century.
It has been used as a town square since the 12th century and during the 16th and 17th century it was used for burning witches and protestants at the stake and decapitating villains! Now it is just a glorious attraction with pretty cafes and entertainment, basking in sun light throughout the day.
We stopped for a warm drink and continued to explore. I completely fell in love with Galleries Royales Saint Hubert which is a glass roofed neo-Ranaissance arcade consisting of two major parts which are called the King’s gallery (Gallerie du Roi) and the Queen’s gallery (Gallerie de la Reine). It is said to be the first shopping arcade in Europe and is lined with designers shops, cafes and bookshops.
One shop particularly caught my eye; a vintage glove shop which looked like it hadn’t changed for 100 years but it just oozed elegance.
We finished the day by having supper with Max’s parents and an old family friend. An early night was in order ahead of the 700km drive to Berlin for the Marathon.
The drive to Berlin was long but straightforward and we went straight to Temple Hof, an old airfield, to collect Max’s pack. There was a real buzz in the air. So many people, some of whom didn’t look like natural athletes but all there for one reason or another, all with a story to tell. Very inspirational.
We had rented an Air BnB for 2 nights which was located in the trendy area of Kreuzberg. I couldn’t believe the amount of graffiti everywhere but I soon learnt that this was very much part of Berlin and began to appreciate and love it! It quickly became evident that Berlin was super cheap compared to London. I had a delicious large pasta dish for £4!
On the morning of the Marathon, runners and supporters flooded the streets. I am not sure who was more nervous; me or Max?
The Marathon started at the Reichstag and after waving Max off we made a plan of where to go to cheer him on. We saw him at 7km, then wasted an hour trying to get our heads around the transport system, but then caught him at 32km and 39km! He looked so tired and so did his fellow runners so we jumped up and down and shouted for anyone who was walking!
Max completed in 3 hours 51 mins. A solid time for a first marathon, especially one run on the back of a knee injury and niggles! Thank you again for everyone who sponsored him, he raised over £2000 for Marie Curie.
After a good stretch,
we ended the day with celebratory sausages for everyone! The next morning we drove back to Brussels, caught the Eurostar and were back in London for supper with friends. A busy weekend, but what a weekend it was!