Ever since Ben and I spent a long weekend in Copenhagen, I have wanted to visit all the Nordic countries. Maybe it is because I want to have lower self-esteem as I walk down the street and only see really, really, very good looking people, like being in Manhattan in September when it is Fashion Week, but there is something about these fresh people, the orderliness of the countries and the seemingly high quality of life that attracts me.
So when the opportunity to pop over to Stockholm came along, I thought ‘ja, please’ and off I went, with Ben in tow. It was March, the weather was fine or so it seemed, until it started to hail/snow and we realized we were ill-prepared. Again- where were my Bean boots (see recent Berlin post). Seriously, when will I learn, when!!!
Between cycling about and stuffing our faces with the tastiest buns and treats from the local bakery- Stinas Bageri, we had such an enjoyable long weekend in Sweden’s capital. If you have an opportunity to visit, you should go!
It has been a while, a long, long while – I am hoping to be back, sharing bits here and there. And today, we have photos from Berlin. I was there for an icy weekend in December with terrible footwear, I should have thrown the Bean boots into the Samsonite- when will I learn? When. I am sure the serious Germans thought to themselves ‘tourist lady, get it together!’
Armed only with my black beanie from the year 2000, I set off to explore this city. So much history, I took a Germany since 1945 course when I was in college and strolling through Berlin brought back the historical significance of this city and all that transpired after the war. I want to take Ben to Berlin- the art scene is tops as is the graffiti and the remnants of the wall scattered throughout the city really gives you pause as to what life must have been like while the wall was erected and the emotions of its destruction.
It was Christmas Market season and Glühwein was flowing, but never one to get super excited about these events, I found myself two mornings running at Milch Halle in the Mitte neighborhood, communal tables and excellent coffee.
I managed to find Ben a wooden, brightly colored version of the Fernsehturm and since then, I have been reading about the city’s fascinating history.
Remember way back when, we went to Thailand. We had a week in Ko Lanta, a perfect little island and a week in Bangkok. It was the first beach vacation Ben and I had ever taken together and it was perfect. Slow paced, with a lot of reading, swimming in the Andaman Sea, tasting a wide-variety of the fabulous Thai cuisine at our eco-resort, Hotel Narima and enjoying refreshing coconut water and tropical cocktails in the beach-side bar. We managed to rally for a day-long adventure of kayaking, seeing a cute little white-sandy beach Bu Bu Island and feeding some very greedy monkeys. We went for a couple of runs along the coastal road and then ate our weight in fresh pineapple and papaya. Ben practiced his Thai with the young, extremely efficient staff of the Narima. We spent our evenings in our beach view bungalow reading aloud- The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. We were so relaxed by the time we headed to Bangkok, it took a few days to get up to speed. In retrospect, if it had been possible, we would have started in Bangkok and ended on the beach. Next time!
Tomorrow- some photos from Bangkok- man it was HOT and HUMID!
Hello! I am typing this from the Toronto airport, I am waiting for my 10.30 p.m. flight which will get me back to Edinburgh by 1.00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. This will be the longest part of my three-week adventure. I will undoubtedly spend my weekend in deep slumbers recovering from the overnight flight. What will you doing with yours?
I will be posting photos from far and farther next week, belated pictures from our summer trips and it has occurred to me, I never shared our memories from Thailand- so I will throw a few of those in next week as well.
El Parque Del Amor (Love Park) in Lima, Peru overlooking the Pacific Ocean and based on Gaudi’s mosaic-tiled Park Guell in Barcelona, is verdant and lovely. It rains so infrequently in Lima, there are no drains in the streets. All the water which is used to water the city parks comes from the Andes.
‘El Beso’ is the sculpture in the center of the park is by Victor Delfin. Each year there is a competition to see who can kiss in the position of the statue the longest- at the moment the record stands at 45 minutes. How uncomfortable, the position, not the kissing.
When was the last time you popped a letter in the post? Personally, I cannot remember, but I do not think it was recently. When I first moved to Europe, I spent hours sitting in smokey French cafes (you could still smoke in cafes back then), drinking espresso (the cheapest drink I could get) and keeping up on my correspondence. Then I would stand in line at the dreary La Poste near the Pathe Chavant and ask for my stamps and par avion stickers. After seeing this stunning Correo Mayor (Main Post Office) in Mexico City, I would be willing to stand in line for hours waiting for my stamps.
Besides eating a fair amount of native tropical fruits and avocados ripe enough to eat with a plastic spoon, I also tried this Mexican specialty- Stuffed Poblano Pepper with Walnut Sauce. According to lore, each family has its own recipe. It is only made during a certain time of year when pomegranates are ripe. The colors are symbolic of the Mexican flag, according to a real-life Mexicano, this dish, along with pico de gallo are the only red, green and white foods on the Mexican food scene.
It was brief, it was busy, but I had a great mini-tour. I braved the teacher protests and the demonstrations for a walk around my neighborhood, got over my fear of eating alone in foreign countries and sampled some of the best enchiladas con mole, met some of our fabulous alumni and caught up with them over tequila and beers (not for me). They can put it away.
Today, I am in Peru and am very excited about this, I arrived last night. I have not yet been to Peru but have heard great things about the country, the city and the cebiche!
In March, during my last three week trip I ran eighty miles on treadmills around the whole world- that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it seemed like a lot of hotel gyms in a lot of countries. This trip, I am attempting ninety miles, I need to up my game, I have challenged my friend Reia to join me virtually for this exciting venture. To complete the miles, I need to run at least 4.28 miles a day, should be pretty doable. Doubling up on some of the days to cover the days I will be airborne. I am a bit behind, so yesterday, I ran 10 miles. Reia and I will meet in Paris in mid-October and this will get us both in shape for long leisurely runs around a fabulous city (remember last year)?
The above pictures are from a recent race I completed with my friend Sarah. It is called the LP Run, it was the 4th annual one and it was to benefit Down Syndrome Scotland. The concept was really fun, you had to run around a 400m track as many times as you could in 33 1/3 minutes. I managed to complete 16 laps and 327 meters or 4.72 miles in the allotted time. I came in 10th out of 45 lady runners. I was pleasantly surprised by these results since I woke up race morning thinking it was going to be a casual jog around the spongy track, but then it all came back to me, the countless track races I did in high-school, running the mile and two mile events. The 400 intervals I did when I ran cross country in college for a season, I could do this and I did. I will not let Mo Farah’s just over 13 minute 5km time destroy my excitement!
I also chose this photo because the fuzzy focus makes me seem fast and somewhat slender. Thanks Ben.
Since starting this post, I have been sidelined by a head cold, so I am taking two days recovery and will hopefully be back at it in Lima, Peru tomorrow. Wish me luck.
Hello from Mexico City. Then sun is shining and I am heading to meetings. I get a kick out of the VW Beetle taxis that are crawling the streets. Maybe I will be able to hitch a ride in one- although I have been warned about the taxis. Beep-beep.