*Oct 1st, 2001
  Berlin, Germany:
I arrived in central Berlin at 11:30a. I walked a few blocks from the station to find myself amid not thousands, but hundreds of thousands of people!! Good fortune had placed me at the end of the annual Berlin Marathon just as the fastest runners were arriving! All around me bands played, people cheered and tents billowed out the smell of grilled German sausages. 30,000 runners made their way across the finish line and joined the growing party atmosphere. A band of 30+ drummers seemed to become the heartbeat of the city, their rhythmic pounding of drums filled the area from 9a to 5p. Again, I found myself as the only one wearing a backpack.

I couldn't have planned a better time to arrive in Berlin.