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OUT AND ABOUT : STOCKHOLM

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!!!

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OUT AND ABOUT: BERLIN

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.

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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.

90 MILE CHALLENGE

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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)?

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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.

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WHOOP-WHOOP- IT’S THE WEEKEND

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What are you up to this weekend? Ben and I are maximizing our fun times together since this will be our last weekend together before my travels. With a bit of art festival fun and socializing with friends tonight- we might even stay out past midnight!

I head out on Wednesday to Mexico City, Bogota, Lima, Santiago, New York, Washington D.C. and Toronto. I am especially excited about this trip, I have loads of fun work events planned and the treat of seeing my brothers in New York. Where we might stand in the early morning lines to sample the cronut, but September’s flavor of fig and mascarpone leaves me wondering if it is worth it.

Have a wonderful weekend.

PROM, QUINCEANERA OR JUST A FUN NIGHT OUT?

When I went to junior prom I wore a lovely green dress with short sleeves. My mom made it for me- to my exacting specifications. It grazed the knee and was far from ultra-fancy, it was perfect for dancing the night away at the Nicollet Island Pavilion.

I cannot even remember what I wore to my senior prom- I think it could have been a repeat- a black-linen sheath dress from Talbots (of all places) it was simple and a perfect canvas for not one accessory and flats which had a grosgrain bow, I think also from Talbots- this was in the nineties, it was slightly better than a Laura Ashley floral.

It appears prom or formal dress style has expanded in the years since I was shopping. There was an event while we were in Vancouver, here are some of the ‘styles’. I was surprised to see Tom’s and flip flops are considered formal footwear.

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While staring (with sunglasses) at this group a fellow starer mentioned she thought it was a quinceanera. We never received a concrete answer so it will remain a mystery, another mystery, why is the corset dress still so popular?

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We are still on our healthy eating kick with only a few slight setbacks while on holiday (hello tasty beer and some gluten-centric treats), we could maybe even stop calling it a ‘kick’ as it is  becoming an excellent lifestyle, Ben continues to say ‘he has never felt better’. It has forced us to think of our meals as one, two and three in lieu of the traditional three. This makes it easier when you are facing a bowl of breakfast soup. Which is what we have been eating recently.

This version of roasted red pepper and tomato is perfect hot or cold. We had it hot- the first morning and added poached eggs, some avocado and meat garnish for Ben- in this case bacon and it keeps you going (almost) as long as a hearty bowl of oatmeal.

Loads of other cultures favor soup for breakfast. In Turkey they have a lentil-based variety with tomatoes and bulgar called ezogelin çorbası.

Mexicans favour soup, which shares the name with a famous Puetro Rican boy band- Menudo. The liquid version is concocted using tripe and hominy and served with fresh-made tortillas. I must admit- tripe scares me, but if you are feeling brave- here is a recipe.

I might have to give chagua a try when I am in Colombia this fall. This breakfast treat consists of a freshly poached egg in a milky broth, flavored with coriander (cilantro) and onions.

In Japan, miso soup is also an important part of the first meal of the day, not just the way we sample it in the west- pre-sushi. Although it is tasty then too!

I was not brave enough to give congee a whirl when I spotted it in the breakfast buffet during my past trips to China, but now doing some research, I am not sure what put me off, it is a rice porridge, usually had savory. I think it was some of the strange-to-me looking condiments which were used to flavour this breakfast staple which might have put me off.

I think breakfast soup is the way of the future at least here at our place.

Well I do declare, Scotland has been experiencing a bit of a heat-wave. BBC weather has not identified it, just yet, but in the two years we have lived here, we have never had as many continuous days of warm sunshine as we have had recently.

Edinburghers seem begin to complain about it being too hot at about 23 degrees, so now that temps are soaring at 27 degrees (80 degrees), the complaints are rolling in! I must admit, after seven hot and humid summers in Grenoble, 27 is about right- I think we are just out of practice. To put it in perspective- today it should be 27, tomorrow 20 (68 degrees) – the ability to always sleep under the duvet continues! Love it here!

It also surprises me that for a city which does not experience a large number of days like these recent toasty one, how the women of Edinburgh still manage to accumulate such a wardrobe of skimpy tops and inappropriate for their body-types shorts and skirts. They are out in force.

Needless to say, we are doing our best to take full advantage of this because I fear it will not last (but is is supposed to through the weekend)! So we will be out and about and I will be in my seven-inch inseam shorts- appropriate!

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YVR HALF MARATHON

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Although we had our list of excuses ready to go, in the end, we did not need any of them. We completed the Vancouver half marathon in just less than two hours.

It was a lovely run, it started sunny and then clouded over. After ‘racing’ in Europe for these past years, I appreciate North America’s early start times (7.30 vs. 10.30), the organization of the races here and the fans.

It was the first long race Ben and I have run together, so it was extra special. We made a pact to run together and even after I hit the wall at 10 miles, he did not leave me. I insisted he go on- a true running martyr!

Which race should we do next?

OH CANADA… Happy Canada Day from Vancouver. We are heading back to Edinburgh today. Maybe we will see some fireworks from above. Enjoy the celebrations.

SUN-FILLED… For those of you who doubt Edinburgh gets sunshine, here is the proof- The Meadows. the lovely park located just behind my work!

We had a fabulous run of ‘warm’ weather recently, but this still means you need an extra layer and you can still curl up under a duvet as you drift off while it is still really light out doors.

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