UK: “It’s the saddest part of my day, leaving you.”

It’s been four months since I left the UK, so clearly this post is long overdue. But since my last postcard from the UK arrived in the States last week, I don’t feel like I’m too behind the Royal Mail. My last day in the UK, much like this post, was bittersweet. I was just finally figuring out how to get to the bus stop on time, which restaurants are worth a second visit and how to power-walk past slow-moving tourists in the Underground like a local. But all good things must come to an end, so armed with a list of things to do “next time,” I tried to manage the LONGEST DAY EVER with a little bit of grace.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I woke up at the same time I did on Tuesday and quickly got dressed. The sun was barely out, but the flat was already warm. I knew it was going to be another hot day. The weather had been a pleasant surprise, but I had not brought the right wardrobe! I dragged my large, purple suitcase down the four flights of stairs to the ground level, mentally apologizing to Katia’s neighbors as I went. It felt like I had just arrived and here I was, pulling my suitcase behind me again.

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In Celebration of My 10,000th Tweet

I joined Twitter on April 20, 2009. In those 1,221 days, I’ve managed to tweet 10,000 times. That’s way more than I ever thought possible when I joined three years ago. I joined to keep up with @joshgroban and @rainnwilson because their updates were overwhelming my Google Reader. I picked my Twitter handle because I planned to tweet from my various trips (and also because JennInTheCity was already taken!). I did live-tweet my trip to Chicago the next month, using my clamshell cell phone to post grainy pictures of Wrigley Field and Italian ices. But it’s become so much more than that. Continue reading

UK: “The truth is sometimes things aren’t exactly what you always imagined… they’re even better!”

This day’s itinerary originated from a Pin and grew from there. It was also the first day since my Cambridge day that Katia and I would be spending the day together, which was lovely! We can actually travel well together – huzzah!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fields of ‘rape’ – seriously, that’s what it’s called!

I only hit snooze once this morning, rising about 0715 to get ready. As it was Sunday, we decided the best course of action was to call a taxi to take us to the train station. It was outside Katia’s flat almost before she hung up the phone! We got to the train station about 0800, which was brilliant and gave us time to get a snack for the many trains we’d be taking on our journey. The 0828 train to Kings Cross was fairly empty, but that was not an experience we’d have during the rest of our trip.

From Kings Cross, we ventured across the street to St. Pancras, which is a beautiful old station. As we waited for the train to Brighton, it became very apparent we were the only ones not dressed for a day at the beach! The train filled up to standing room only and it felt like the British equivalent of a train to the Jersey Shore. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the weather, but we exited the train station in Brighton to bright blue skies and warm sunshine.

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Run 5K: Personal Best!

I finished Week Two, Day Three today and I actually feel great! The run was strenuous, but I never felt like I couldn’t finish at any point. My walk sections were actually real powerwalks, keeping my heart rate up instead of slowing down and trying to catch my breath. I wasn’t deliberately trying to speed up from Wednesday’s run, but I just felt better about it. There’s a bench on Great Highway that I consider my “halfway” point, where I usually have to stop and strip off my long-sleeved overshirt to keep from overheating (even on these foggy days). On Wednesday, I had to walk at least another minute to get there, but today, I was almost there by the time the walk section ended!

Victory Tree

But the best part came at the end. On Day One, I was so exhausted by the time I got to the last run section, but to stay motivated, I challenged myself to keep running until I reached this tree. I timed it perfectly with the end of the run section, and I was so proud of myself. On Day Two, I was going much slower and didn’t even make it up the hill toward this tree by the time the last run section ended (though I did push myself to actually run to it!). Today, however, I not only made it up to the tree, but ran for an additional 25 seconds afterward! It’s the first time I’ve really felt strong while running.

I start Week Three next week and I’m a little nervous. I’ve never made it past Day Two. Fingers crossed that next week, I’m writing this kind of post about Week Three and nervous about Week Four!

Smuggler’s Cove and #45 in the #SummerOfDrinking!

A few weeks ago, 7×7 magazine released their 50 Cocktails to Try Before You Die list. Immediately, it seemed like a challenge that my Bay Area friends and I needed to attack.

On Tuesday night, Akemi and I ventured over to Smuggler’s Cove in Hayes Valley for a pre-dinner drink. It was my first experience at the pirate-themed bar and I enjoyed the decor almost as much as the beverages. We headed downstairs which has a fantastic water feature (I need those multicolored lights at home!). It’s quite dark inside, but that just adds to the ambiance.

We both ordered #45 on the list – Smuggler’s Rum Barrel – without the souvenir glass. Our bartender was a little preoccupied talking to some regulars, but mixed up the drinks wonderfully! I’m not a huge fan of rum, but the other flavors mask it quite well (or enhance it if you like rum). The garnishes are also divine and I may demand flowers in all my future drinks now.

I’m a lightweight, and it showed with this beverage. By the time I finished, I was feelin’ it and getting back up the stairs was a bit of an issue. Luckily, we were headed off to a delicious dinner and by the time I got on the bus to go home, I was back to normal again. I will definitely be headed back to Smuggler’s Cove to sample what else they have to offer!