Blimey! Bloody good time in England. 

Our England tour has really “taken the biscuit”. It has a been a lot of fun. We did London for 3 and half days and York for a day and half. We leave for Edinburgh, Scotland tomorrow. Our last adventure before returning home. I found touring England to be the most welcoming to tourists. They wanted to show off their country with pride. 

We didn’t get to see all of London that we wanted. There is just too much to see and not enough time. We saw many of the need to see items. Parliament, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminister Abbey, Buckingham Palace (with also a viewing of the changing for the guard). 

London site seeing
Changing of the guard ceremony

We did a Jack Ripper history tour one night and saw some of the oldest parts of London which is called White Chapel area.
We visited the Tower of London and saw the Crown Jewels.  

Waiting to see the Crown Jewels

We did a full day excursion  to Stonehenge and the city of Bath. Stonehenge was as expected… a pile of stones but it was amazing to finally visit it. Bath was beautiful. It poured when we arrived for about 30 minutes and then cleared up. Our excursion included a tour of the old Roman baths that was there during the time when Romans lived in the area before it was even know as Bath, England.

Stonehenge

The old Roman baths in Bath, England

This excursion day was our last full day in England. We took off the next morning very early for York from Kings Cross station… the station they use in Harry Potter series. Unfortunately our train did not take off from platform 9 3/4… it went from platform 2.

With only a day and a half, we have had a very short time in York but we found the history is extensive and intriguing. It goes back to the times of Vikings. We have loved strolling the streets of this town and popping into museums. We went on a ghost storytelling walk last night. It was actually very good. Our storyteller had such character about him. Today, we climbed the stone wall that surrounds the town, visited the train museum and the Viking museum, we went on the hop on/hop off bus to learn  about the history of the city. 

Site seeing in York

More sight seeing in York

And of course,  we have found time for a pint or two. 

Mmmm…cider

We will be soon heading out for supper in our last night in York and off to Edinburgh, Scotland tomorrow. I’m excited for Scotland! However, as the British say… I’m also quite “zonked” and the idea of going home also sounds pretty good too. We’ve been away now 24 days and it feels like forever. However, one more adventure to be had.

For more British slang…go here:

http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/slang/common-uk-expressions-slang.html

 

Nice & Vienna

After we left Paris, we jumped on a train south to Nice. It was so hot, sticky and humid in Nice but I loved it. It was slightly less crowded than Paris which was a treat. I ran a couple times while we were there along the Mediterranean Sea. It was heaven. One morning we even went (carefully and painfully) down the rocky beach so I could take a dip in the sea. I couldn’t leave without experiencing even one short swim in the sea.

The “beach” in Nice
Swimming in the Mediterranean

We had a great time in Nice. So much great food…we had pizza as this was the closest we would get to Italy during this European adventure. Italy is minutes away from Nice and Nice actually used to be a part of Italy.

Pizza in Nice cooked in wood oven

We took a night excursion to Monaco. It was lovely but I definitely did not feel as if I fit in there. Beautiful yachts and cars and the most glorified casino. 

Monaco

Walking the streets of Monaco

I look like I could fit into the millionaires and billionaires of Monaco?

After we left Nice, we hopped on a flight thst had a 4 hour layover in Brussels on our way to Vienna. So we had a bit of Belgium…in an airport. We used our time wisely. Well, Brad did. I haven’t yet been sold on beer drinking.

Beer at airport in Brussels.

Now Vienna…oh Vienna. It is considered a top 10 city to live in the world according to a survey done. This city is simply amazing. If you ever go to Europe, Vienna has to be on your list. It is so clean and not very crowded. The things the government does for the city seems to be in favour of its citizens. For example, a transit pass is 365 Euro a day. A euro a day for all the transit you want. And this reduces traffic and pollution a lot. You could tell Viennese people take advantage of this. They had many transit options too… underground metro, a tram and a bus routes. Simply flawless.

And the buildings. Brad and I fell in love with the history of this city. 

We visited the Hofburg Palace, the twin museums (one was fine arts and one was natural history. We only went inside the history one), Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna in the woods (which included two monasteries and an underground cave lake that resulted because of mining mishap), Stadtpark (statue park) and so much more things we just went and looked at.

The two monasteries and the grotto we visited in Vienna woods.
Inside of the first larger monastery we visited.
Mozart statue, Belvedere Palace, Parliament and then horse carriages were all over.
Hofburg Palace, building I forget but is beautiful, Queen Maria Theresa statue, Johann Strauss statue
Fountain near our hotel, a Mozart concert hall, and last photo is park near hotel

Brad and I joked about moving to Vienna. I would seriously consider it. What a place. 
And the food…oh the food. 

Food in Vienna

Brad and I have made it a point to eat local foods as much as possible. And it’s delicious. 

Thank goodness Vienna is considered very safe…low crime rate. I ran almost everyday here. And it was weird running by such important buildings. I could run by three different castles, opera house, so many Castle gardens, and numerous monuments. It was great.

Now off to Munich where Brad apparently plans to spend a lot of time in the Hofbräuhaus.

Bonjour Paris!

We have been in Paris for 2 nights and 3 days already. We are about to head off to Nice tomorrow.

Paris was pretty much what I expected. It has been a dream of mine to come here since I was 12. As a French teacher, I think I see this part of our travels in different eyes than my husband’s. Paris really isn’t clean and fresh. It’s overcrowded and the streets are filthy. But it still somehow shines for me. Brad even enjoyed many parts of it.

We enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Seine, a bus tour to Notre Dame Cathedral and Eiffel Tower and so much more, an excursion to Versailles, actually going to Eiffel Tower on our own and going up it, and finally the Louvre. 

Our first night in Paris – a dinner cruise on the Seine River.
Brad and I at the Arc de Triomphe on Tuesday, July 5, 2016.
View of Eiffel Tower from below – July 5 on a river cruise with tour group.

Les Jardins at Versailles

Me in front of the famous Versailles gardens.

Madonna on the rocks
I fell in love with this one. The dogs just connected with me. Probably because I miss my pup a bunch!
Inverted pyramid at the exit of the Louvre.
Cathedral Notre Dame
Eiffel Tower at night. Note the soccer ball hanging from it honour of the Euro soccer 2016.
After crossing “going up the Eiffel Tower” from my bucket list. So happy.
Enjoying a sunny beautiful day on the Eiffel Tower.
My last photo of the Eiffel Tower with me in front of it.
Entrance and the pyramid of the Louvre
The Mona Lisa- was hard to get a good shot of it.
Front of Versailles

And oh my…the food…we have definitely enjoyed so much French food and wine during a 3 day visit in the capital of France. 

Some of our food experiences in Paris.

As for fitness, Monday was my rest day but we did a LOT of walking. I didn’t get to run yesterday. I had hoped to do one after getting back from Versailles but a demonstration in Paris slowed down our return to hotel. Instead of being back at 6, it was just after 7pm. So we went for supper. I ran the streets around my hotel this morning. Not bad. More hills than our flat Saskatchewan land. Streets smell as that isn’t fun while running and breathing heavy. But I did 4k and happy I did.  I wanted to run in that park near my route (which is also a cemetery) but it was closed at 6am. They lock up their parks here at night. 

A bientôt! I’ll see you next time from Nice. 

Au revoir from Paris. 

Pace, Pride, & Priorities

I’ll be honest. It’s been a rough week of running. My body seems to be fighting me. I feel heavy and slow. No…not sick or injured. But I don’t have the normal energy I am use to feeling in my runs and during the day. The snooze button has been hit way more often than usual. Maybe it’s how busy I am right now. End of school year (hard and busy time of year as a teacher) and the excitement and planning of our summer trip has consumed me.

My running pace was typically 7:30-8:45 km/minute – I run 1.3 km and walk 100 metres. Something that it took me a year and a half to get to. But since Sunday, I cannot get my mind and body to stick with the intervals. I’m taking double the walk breaks I normally do.

So today… I went for a run before heading to the final part of my first aid training. And I said no matter what, I’d stick to the intervals and I’d see an under 9 minute per km pace and get 6km done today.

image

Ha… I didn’t. And not for lack of trying. I just couldn’t do it. So I was pretty hard on myself mentally and felt the lowest I have in awhile.

All while I was showering and getting ready for the day, I started second guessing myself and belittled all the big life improvements I’ve worked hard on the last 2.5 years. Then I saw this on my time hop app:

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The me who used to be 60 pounds heavier, a lot less healthy, and very untrained beginner runner had a way more positive attitude than the me this week.

I can’t give up. I’ll get back out there tomorrow…and the next day. Maybe my pace will return and maybe it may even improve. Maybe it won’t. Maybe I’m getting old and slowing down. (KIDDING!!)

But the point is that I’m out there each day running and/or walking. Each day I’m bettering myself, even if not my pace. Slow is better than stationery.

Besides…if I don’t keep getting out there, I’d miss moments like this:

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And views like this don’t care about my pace or pride. They just encourage me to keep shining and keep going. 

First aid…

I am finding anything I can do except the 4-6 hour long online first aid training I must complete before Friday’s hands on training. So why not start a blog?

I really wish I would have started one when I first changed my life. Oh, the stories I would have loved to look back at. Oh well. Better late than never.

Blogging became an interest for me after I spent time going back into old childhood journals for my grad studies paper. It’s my first class. I am working towards a Masters of Education in Curriculum & Instruction. It is nice that university offers course route option. I plan to do mine by completing the 10 classes instead of a thesis route.

Back to journals – the childhood diaries and journals reminded me how much I loved writing. I wanted to get back into it. Plus – it might help me reduce the amount I post to Facebook. Which I always consider getting rid of as it is such a time suck. So here goes blogging. Blogging will give me more time to reflect and write, instead of simply just posting simple posts or photos.

The best reason to blog besides to humour myself and my readers (if I even have any) with chronicles of my running attempts, my successes and failures of teaching, the hair pulling fun of grad classes, my foodie obsession, and my addiction to my lab who has me wrapped around her paw? To blog about the bucket list item that my husband and I are finally crossing off this summer.

Europe all of July! Paris, Nice, Munich, Vienna, various unknown places in Ireland (Shannon for sure), London, Bath, York, and Edinburgh! I cannot wait. And blogging will be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends about our adventures while away.

But I should go…first aid is calling me back. I really need to know what to look for in nose bleeds – their answer is shocking “blood coming from the nose”. I never would have thought to look for that!