First Week in London

I haven’t quite realized yet that I really live here and I’m not just on an extended holiday in an Air BnB.  But with each day, it is starting to sink in more and more.  Starting work again helped (I am continuing to work at my U.S. job remotely from London, but I took a few days off to get settled when I first came over).  And doing things like grocery shop and cook makes it seem normal.  I think once all of our furniture arrives it will seem even more normal (right now we are living in a mostly empty flat).

I am so excited to be here, so overwhelmed by all there is to see and do in this amazing city full of history and culture and architecture and character.  So I want to share some of the first things I’ve been up to in the past 12 or so days.

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Flew out of DC on a one way ticket

On my first day in the city, I procured a few necessary items (hair dryer, shampoo and conditioner, fresh fruit) and explored the neighborhood a bit, and had my first pint in a pub, enjoying the amazing summer weather that the UK is currently experiencing.

I started off the next day, a Saturday, with a run along the river in my new neighborhood – but I intend to write a separate post soon about running in London so far.  Then we set out to explore, having lunch and walking and biking around, with a visit to the Saatchi Gallery and then a trip across the river to Battersea.

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We wandered around the power station grounds and the nearby Battersea Park, taking a rest there for awhile (I was still kind of jet lagged).  I love all of the excellent parks and public spaces in London; it’s definitely one of my favorite features.

On the next day, we explored Brompton Cemetery, which was incredible.  I love old cemeteries with interesting history and character and this one was really fun to explore.LON22 LON23 LON24 LON25

We made our way around the city to Marylebone for lunch, then biking through Regents Park and up to the top of Primrose Hill for the views, topped off by another stop at a pub.LON26

On the following Monday and Tuesday, I was off work but Andy was back to the office, so I went off to do some touristy things on my own.  I visited the National Gallery, did some shopping around Covent Garden, wandered through St. James Park and down to Westminster, through Hyde Park and Kensington.  All places I’ve been to before, but I felt like going to see all these iconic sights to remind myself I was really here, in London, and that I live here now.  I came into London so many times in 2000 when I was studying abroad at Oxford, and never would have guessed I’d one day live here. (Or be this old.  Yikes.)LON27 LON28 LON29

Since then, I’ve trying to find a good balance and get into a new routine involving working remotely from our flat and from coffeeshops, on a hybrid of East Coast and UK time, settling into a semblance of normal life yet also embracing a new life, new routines, new schedules, new everything.

I’ve had a few evenings where I’ve met Andy in a pub for a drink at sunset; love that there are so many hours of daylight here now.  Trying to make the most of lots of daylight and warmth since I know it won’t last.LON31 LON32

Last weekend we did more fun touristy things like exploring the City and going to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral, followed by a visit to Borough Market and an afternoon at a beer festival featuring all London-brewed craft beers.LON39 LON40

There is so much to see and do here; I can’t wait to explore more and settle into real life, in London.  Unreal!

Final Days in DC (for now)

It’s hard for me to think I’m gone from DC, hence the “for now” in the subject.  As excited as I am to be in London, it was still hard to leave DC and the friends I’ve made there.  But I know I will be back regularly for work, and who knows, maybe someday will live there again.

I spent May, June and July soaking in my favorite things about the city in a whirlwind of packing, planning, working, running, World Cup-ing, happy hours, dinners and goodbyes.

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I made lots of final visits to some of my favorite monuments via early morning runs around the Tidal Basin.IMG_5498 IMG_5500 IMG_5753 IMG_5764

Oh, and I got to see President Obama speak one day!  It was awesome.  The only other time I saw him in person was on his 2008 campaign, so I was really excited to see him speak on the Georgetown waterfront.

IMG_5621On my last morning, I made one last trip to the Thomas Jefferson memorial and prepared to fly out.  IMG_5762DC treated me really well for five years, and I still don’t feel like I’ve really left yet.  But, on to the next adventure!

New York City and New Orleans

As I mentioned in my last post, I traveled a bit more in the US this summer before moving to London in July.  I went to Philadelphia and New Jersey to see friends and family, and New York City and New Orleans for work.  I love all of those places for different reasons.

First, Philadelphia.  I spent two years there for grad school and it wasn’t long enough.  I don’t know if I will ever live there again, but I loved the time I did spend there.  Philly has such great neighborhood pride and a down-to-earth quality that DC and NYC lack.IMG_5459 But New York is just so cool.  I could not stop being happy the entire time I was there.  I went up really early on a Sunday morning train so I could have the full day to enjoy in the city before meetings started on Monday.  I checked into the Ace Hotel (ridiculously cool) and within minutes I was on a Citi Bike, riding downtown through empty streets.nyc1I cycled to Chinatown, then walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and wandered around the waterfront park.  It was a beautiful day and I was thrilled just to be there.nyc2

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Later I watched the USA – Portugal match on a big screen in Madison Square Park (ugh, so sad at the end) and wandered the city more.

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nyc8I ran the next two mornings, once in Central Park and once along the waterfront, and was overjoyed.  nyc6

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I also got an excellent NYC bagel each morning.  Love.

nyc7I’ll definitely be back.  I can’t imagine life without New York.       IMG_5668My next work trip was a week in New Orleans.  I didn’t have much in the way of free time, but I did make time to run every morning, mostly in the Garden District and a bit in the French Quarter.  New Orleans is not my favorite city, but I do love that it has a distinctive history and culture, and how that is reflected in the architecture.  There is no place else in the world quite like it.

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Up next: my final weeks in DC and my first days in London.

 

Moved to London!

I have missed blogging and I’m anxious to get back into it, especially because I have a whole raft of new things to blog about all related to running, traveling and cities….mainly because I moved to a new city!

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I have been in London now for just over a week, and I am so excited to be here.  But before I get into what I’ve explored in London so far, first I want to catch up on some traveling I did in the US in the late spring/early summer.  More to come!

Alaska

Last week I was in Alaska for work. Although most days were spent indoors at meetings, I did get to squeeze in a half-day of touring on the first day, and then a quick hike on my last afternoon before flying out.

IMG_5331The city of Anchorage did not impress me much at all, but the surrounding scenery is breathtaking. On my first morning I went for an early morning run along the coastal path. The sun was up by 5am every day and didn’t set until 11pm or later. Thanks to jet lag, I was up by 4 or 5am each morning, plenty of time to work out before starting the work day. IMG_5336 IMG_5337On our first morning a few of us drove out to Whittier and to Mount Alyeska. We saw a moose on the drive and a number of bald eagles. The scenery is just what you would expect from Alaska: snowcapped mountains, tall pine trees, bubbling streams. I also saw my first glacier. It was really gorgeous.

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The rest of the week was spent working in downtown Anchorage. On Friday afternoon I was able to fit in a short hike (about 1 mile) up to Thunderbird Falls. IMG_5396IMG_5394

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It felt great to get some fresh air and nature before a long night of travel.

Alaska was beautiful, and I am glad I had the chance to go. I know that I barely got to see anything that the state has to offer, but I really didn’t want to extend the trip any longer. It felt so good to get home on Saturday. I don’t think I would ever plan to go back to Alaska for any reason; I love the outdoors, but the long trip up there wasn’t worth it to me. But at least I have one more state checked off the list!

 

San Francisco: Love, Love

In early May I was fortunate to spend several days in San Francisco for work.  I had been to SF a few times before but it had been awhile.  Man, I love that city.  The whole time there I was deliriously happy.  I love it the way I love New York City.  Both cities are like no place else in America.  I love the architecture, the density, the mix of cultures, the views, the food – the amazing food.

IMG_5159On my first morning there I went for an amazing sunrise run.  The hills were killer but I loved every second. IMG_5127 IMG_5130 IMG_5131 IMG_5132 IMG_5137 IMG_5139 IMG_5157 IMG_5141

Most of the time I was there I was working, but I did get to have some great dinners out, including an amazing Vietnamese fusion meal at The Slanted Door.

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On my last evening there I was on my own to relax.  I climbed up to Mission Dolores Park for views over the city.

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And treated myself to a homebrew and an empanada at a fantastic cerveceria near the park.

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Other food highlights included an excellent veggie taco and some guacamole and freshly made chips:

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And a stop at Mikkeller bar for a Tenderloin IPA. I am a huge fan of Mikkeller beers and this NYT article only made me more fascinated.

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On my last morning there I went for another run.   IMG_5211

And saw a fantastic exhibit on yoga history and art at the Asian Art Museum.     IMG_5227

My last stop was a wander around Hayes Valley, where I had Blue Bottle coffee and pretended I was a hipster.IMG_5226 IMG_5228 IMG_5231

Sad to leave. Love, love San Francisco.IMG_5237

 

Late Spring in DC and Some News

I have a backlog of photos and fun things I want to share from the spring.  Generally, it’s been a whirlwind, for a number of reasons.  I’ve had a few work trips, the most exciting of which was to San Francisco which I am going to write a whole post about.  I’ve also had some great weekends in DC with friends and family visiting and the slow arrival of warm weather, made for afternoons biking around the city and relaxing on patios, soaking in the city.

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In early April, Andy and I biked down to the Tidal Basin to see the Cherry Blossoms. Never gets old.IMG_5079

We celebrated Andy’s birthday at Le Diplomate, one of our favorite restaurants in DC.

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And celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary with drinks and dinner in our beautiful neighborhood on a lovely spring evening.

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I wore a new dress and took a selfie in the bathroom at work, so cliche.

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We spent many Sunday mornings watching Liverpool strive to win the Barclay’s Premier League at the Queen Vic on H Street NE. Love the atmosphere there; with each match the crowd became larger and more boisterous.  Sadly, they just missed the win this year.IMG_5087

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We biked around the city, showing family the awesomeness that is our city.IMG_5253 IMG_5244 IMG_5246 IMG_5251

I’ve gone for lots of early morning runs.  I’m not training for anything imminent although I am eyeing a fall marathon.  Just loving the early sunrises and warm-but-not-yet-too-hot temperatures.  IMG_5268

I’ve done a handful of 10-12 mile runs on the weekends on my favorite trails, including the C&O Canal Towpath.IMG_5286

And Rock Creek Park, which sadly suffered some damage in recent storms.

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I went to a fun event last week with some girls, featuring women craft brewers.IMG_5301

And made some preparations for a big change.

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