September/October Update

It’s been nearly a month now since my last post. The main reason for this is that I haven’t run since I did the 5k, and running has been the main focus of my blog for a while. As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I’d pulled some muscles in my chest and had been advised against running until it was healed. I think it’s better now, but as you’ll see below, a few other things have got in the way. Good news though, most of them are nice reasons!

Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past month or so:

  • Working – my work’s picked up quite a lot lately and I’ve been getting longer translations to do (currently working on an app for a tourist board in Germany) as well as a few little ones to keep me entertained. I’m still really glad I gave up my regular income, but soul-destroying customer service job to join the more insecure freelancing world. I’m making more money over fewer hours in the comfort of my own home, doing something I really enjoy.
  • Holidaying – Rob and I spent the better part of a week in Berlin last month. We did so much stuff! We saw the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial, the TV tower, the world’s largest dinosaur skeleton (I love dinosaurs), the Zoo, toured an former airport, rented bikes and rode down said airport’s runways, went to lots of museums, saw The Wall all over the place, ate Currywurst and Burgermeister burgers, drank beer…. Here are a few of my favourite pictures:

Me and the Brandenburg Gate

Me at the Brandenburg Gate

Me and the Fernsehturm

I just can’t get enough of the TV Tower

Goat at Berlin ZooThere was a petting zoo area at Berlin Zoo where you could get animal food by using this sweet machine type thingies. This goat clearly knew what was going on and headbutted me out of the way.

  • Seeing family – Rob’s parents live about an hour away and mine live about two and a half to three hours away, so we don’t see them a lot. Rob’s sister is going out to Australia for a year soon though, so we met up with them for a meal and gin-based fun back in Birmingham a couple of weekends ago. And last weekend, my parents came up to stay with us. I think the point you realise you’re a grown up is when your parents come to stay in your house! We met up with my uncle and my two little cousins on Saturday to feed ducks and have a walk around at Attenborough Nature Reserve. We had a great time, and it coincided with mine and Rob’s eight year anniversary so we got to celebrate it with lots of people.
  • Starting yoga – I recently joined a yoga class in a nearby church hall. The woman who runs it is really nice and I really enjoy it. It’s a strange feeling coming out of there totally relaxed but buzzing. The only problem is that I keep getting foot cramp and although this is normally solved by wearing socks, they don’t give you a lot of grip on the old yoga mat (I’ve named my mat Bella, is that weird?). I’ve bought some toe socks with grippy bottoms though, so hopefully next time will be better. I couldn’t try them out this week though because:
  • I hurt my back – Lift with the knees, Leah! One day I will learn. I went to pick up our bedding and air mattress from the living room floor after my parents left and ended up severely spraining my lower back. I’ve done it before which, although making me even more stupid, means I know it shouldn’t last too long. I’ve been sitting up nice and straight at my desk and trying to keep moving, hopefully I’ll be recovered in time for yoga on Monday.
  • Had my flu jab – I’m asthmatic so I’m entitled to a free flu jab and got it this morning. Make sure you get it if you’re in one of the at-risk groups!
  • Got my new phone – My new iPhone 5S arrive yesterday! I was still using an iPhone 4 I’d had since it launched, so I figured now would be a good time to upgrade. I’m really liking the fingerprint sensor and the better camera, as well as the bigger screen size! It feels a little too big in my tiny hands at the moment, but I’m sure that will fade.

I’m hoping to get back to running at some point. I just keep hitting hurdle after hurdle at the moment, and the weather’s only going to get worse from here, giving me more of an excuse to stay inside. A hotel down the road from us has monthly memberships so we’re thinking about doing that to get access to their treadmills on rainy, cold days!

I’ll try not to leave it so long next time!

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Day 13 Whatever tickles your fancy

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This past week me, my Mum and Dad and Rob went to Athens so I thought I’d post a picture and tell you a bit about what we saw.

We got over there late on Sunday evening but still had time to get some really nice food from the restaurant around the corner from the hotel. I had goat in greaseproof paper with tomato, cheese and onion in too, it was absolutely delicious! I’ve never had goat before, it tastes just like lamb. we also walked up to the end of the road where we got our first glimpse of the Acropolis. I didn’t know that Acropolis was the name of the mountain and there’s more than just the Parthenon up there, but more on that later.

On Monday we went on a very long explore, firstly around the old town Plaka where we were staying and then on to Hadrian’s Library and the flea market before stopping for a hot chocolate at one of the cafes on one of Athens’ many hills. After that we went and explored the Agora which had all sorts of temples and statues with lots of helpful signs to show you how things would have looked 2000 years ago when it was first built. We had a look round the museum in there before climbing up a hillside to the place where St Paul told Athens about Christianity. Two highlights of the trip here: Mum’s face when she got to the top of the jaggedy hillside climb to find steps on the other side and the Canadian God Squad who instead of saying “Cheese” said “Jesus loves you”. The picture at the top of this post is from there. After that, we carried on up another hill with even better views out over the Acropolis and Athens and were guided back down again by one of Athens thousands of stray dogs who we named Socrates (pronounced So-crates like in Bill and Ted). That was all the exploring then for that day as we were knackered, we just about managed to get out for dinner!

On Tuesday we went on a big tour of the inner city starting with the Temple of Olympian Zeus, heading on through to the 1896 Olympic Stadium and a bit of the National gardens. We got to Syntagma Square where we got some cold Costa drinks and watched the guards outside the parliament building do their crazy marching. We then got the tube to the bottom of a much higher mountain so we could take the teleferic to the top of it, not realising you had to climb up most of the mountain to get there! We had time for a quick drink beofre going up to enjoy the spectacular views all over Athens. When we came back down, we went back to the hotel for a bit before going round the Acropolis Museum which had see through floors so you could see all the bits they’re still excavating. We had dinner in the town again and headed to bed fairly early as we had to be picked up at 7.30 for our trip to Delphi the following morning.

The weather was pretty grim on Wednesday compared to the heat of the day before but we had a nice 3 hour coach journey to hide from it. Our tour guide told us lots of stories about the Gods and Greek history which was really interesting and showed us around the whole area at Delphi where the Greek City States had their own version of the UN back 2000 and odd years ago and showed us where people came to ask the Oracle their most important questions. he also gave us a quick tour of the museum there before taking us for lunch at a nearby hotel and then back to Athens through a massive thunderstorm.

The weather had cleared up by the final morning. We were a bit worried though because the guide had told us that it was a national holiday and we figured that the Acropolis, the only major attraction we hadn’t visited might be closed. Luckily it wasn’t and even better, it was free to get in! We walked up through the theatres and temples on the side of the mountain to the top where we finally got to see the Parthenon up close. I thought it wouldn’t be as good as seeing it from far away, but it was awesome. I couldn’t believe they could have built something like that so long ago. After a long explore, we came back down and went for hot chocolate again by the Agora before visiting the Roman Agora where we were guided by another dog we called Plato. We had a bit of time for a read at the hotel before starting our journey home.

I love that kind of city break where you actually do and learn stuff. One of my favourite holidays!