Tag Archives: walking

Just a Walk

So, it’s no secret I haven’t been working out lately.

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But yesterday, I forced myself to take a walk. Just a walk.

No strings attached.  It wasn’t a workout, it wasn’t anything – just some time outside with good tunes, sunshine, and a slice of nature.

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If you could still call this nature, right in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the country.  But I do.  Because it had the same effect.

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It was strangely freeing, even though I wasn’t really disconnected (still had my phone and camera and music).  I was just out there.

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It gave me just the right amount of motivation and energy – much like a really good workout should.

Who knows, that little walk may have inspired me to get back to real workouts ;-).

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I got my food prep done for the week – this plus some tofu, chopped veggies, and some protein thin mints.

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and played with my new toy! Oh I’m such a sucker for gadgets.

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I’d say it was a pretty productive day.

Not every ‘workout’ has to make you sweat.  It could be just a walk in the park to clear your head.

Do you take walks? Do you find them relaxing?

Riga, Latvia – 2 Days on a boat!

As far as I can remember, I’ve never been on a cruise ship.  [Maybe when I was younger than 3? Don’t think so, though…]  So I jumped at the chance to take a weekend cruise to Riga, Latvia – for $15 for two nights on the ship!

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All aboard the Romantika!  I went with a group of girl friends, which made for an awesome weekend.

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Day 1 snack (pb&j) and dinner (use-up-the-fridge salad beast) packed! Plus a loka sparkling water to settle my stomach on the boat.  I’m glad I packed that for sure.

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Boarding the ship in Stockholm.

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Goodbye, Stockholm. Riga – see you in 17 hours!

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The ship was like an all-inclusive hotel/airport thing.  We spent some time in the sauna and whirlpool the first day, and hit up the duty-free shopping the second.  There were also 4+ restaurants and cafes – but they’re not cheap, so we brought our breakfasts and dinners.   The boat had a pub, a casino/lounge-type club, and a dance club, which were fun, but I wouldn’t call them superfantastic.

The cabins were rather cramped for 4 people (forgot to take a picture… oops), but with the price we paid, it was not a big deal.

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There were a few of these involved (only the one with the glowstick is mine, I promise!).

Then, we arrived in Riga at about 11am, and set out wandering the city.

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I really loved the place, but the weather was less than ideal.  Rainy and cold – which is too bad!

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(Yes, that is a design on the thing covering the building.  Odd? Yes. Awesome? Also yes.)

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The architecture was really neat there!  If I had the chance, I’d definitely spend more than a day there.

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We stopped for coffees and warmth.

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Mocha for me (that’s foam, not cream, I promise!) Delicious – not too sweet actually.  Wish I had asked for soy, though.

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All the streets were cobblestone.  I love cities like this!

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Those are old hangars – that now how one of the largest markets in the world!  Well, the indoor part of it.  Vendors sold everything from fresh produce, to meat and cheese, textiles, souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, hand made goods – basically everything you could possibly imagine.  And things were so cheap there, too.

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Part of the outdoor section of the market – it winds around the entire back of the hangars.

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Gorgeous pomegranates!

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And fresh produce – you could smell dill everywhere.

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Beautiful – they had a whole section with tables full of these (honestly can’t remember what they’re called…)

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This made me laugh – candy bars and coffee behind glass. What.

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Amazing soaps at that stand – two of my friends split a bar!

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I was so tempted to stock up here!  But there was too much going on, and I was too indecisive.  So, of course, I decided on nothing.

Time was running low (we only had about 4 hours total), so we headed back towards the boat to grab some lunch first.

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My friend and I shared the cheese plate to start – which was quite delicious.  The hard one (far right) was my favorite, although I don’t really know what any of these were.  As much as I enjoyed this, I really should not have eaten that much – I spent most of the rest of the afternoon with a pretty bad stomach ache, partly curled up in bed. Note to self!

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Then I got a small plate of grilled veggies as well.  Love them!  Although that garlic sauce was a little too strong.

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The three brothers!  This was one site we all made sure to visit.  And there it is – proof I was in Riga!

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Since things weren’t so expensive, I bought a few souvenir things for myself.  Riga is known for wool and amber – so that is what I got!  Some really nice purple wool hand warmers, a mug, and amber earrings.

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I love souvenir mugs – and the one is mini!  And really pretty.

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the amber was fantastic – mostly the larger pieces.  But they were a bit out of my price rang, so I went for something small that I knew I would wear regularly.

Back in Sthlm about midday today – and I’d say my first cruise ship experience was a winner.  I was planning on getting in a run or workout when I got back, but I’m just really not feeling it.  Not the “I’m too lazy” not feeling it, I can’t really put my finger on it, but I’ve been low energy for the past couple days.  I also think I slept funny last night, there’s a knot/pain in my neck (when I turn my head to the right/back) that won’t go away.

Ah well – tomorrow is a new day!

Have you ever been on a boat cruise? What did you think?

Exploring Stockholm: Slussen, Gamla Stan, Hagaparken

Doing all of this traveling elsewhere in Europe got me thinking – I haven’t really taken the time to just explore Stockholm, where I live!  There are areas of Paris I now know better than here.  And that definitely needs to change.  Otherwise, how can I justify that I actually lived in Stockholm?

Now that the weather is nice, I’ve set out to change that.  Every weekend I’m going to pick an area of the city, and just explore.  Forget museums and touristy things – this is how I like to get to know a city.  So, I started central, with the more touristy areas.

Slussen:

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There’s a restaurant up there (Gondolen) which I’ve heard has the best views of the city.  I don’t think the food is anything fantastic, but I would go there for the views alone.

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I’ve already been around Slussen quite a bit, so I headed north to the next island, Gamla Stan (Old Town).

Gamla Stan

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I walked up and down lots of little side streets.  The feel of Gamla Stan is much like any old European city, with gorgeous old buildings and winding cobblestone streets.  I didn’t take a ton of pictures, as I’ve said before, it’s nice to just enjoy the moment.

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And of course, in typical Rachel fashion, I had to hunt down some sort of foodie destination.  I had wandered past Naturbageriet Sattva before, but only at night, when it wasn’t open.  An organic bakery? With gourmet vegan goodies?  I’m so there.

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In an effort to cut down on the sugary treats (I was really proud of myself for this one) I settle on a vegan spinach and tofu perog.  And not to mention it was less expensive than its sweeter counterparts.  But, while I was in there, I did get a delicious sample of raw carob cake, and almond-apple tart.

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This is not Gamla Stan anymore – it’s home!  The sun was beginning to set, and the colors were gorgeous.

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Yesterday – despite the clocks being set forward (which I totally did not know about! no wonder 9am felt early…) I fueled up with small carb-y pre run breakfast.  Iced coffee with soy milk, seeded spelt toast with tahini and banana, and a small blood orange.  Unfortunately this one wasn’t ripe and ‘bloody’ quite yet.  Perfect fuel, sat really well for my ‘long’ run.  Of 4 miles.

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Yes, I’m slow – oh well, I like running anyway.  I pushed hard on this run.  Not because I felt I had to, I was just enjoying the scenery and exploring the new areas! This was an out and back run – on the way there was head winds and uphill (of course), going home was tail winds and downhill.  That was super exciting.

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The best way to refuel – green smoothies! Feeling even more energized.

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Big salad for lunch about 40 minutes later, then heading out to do more exploring!  This time, in Solna, considered a suburb, but there are areas in Stockholm City that are much farther from the city center than Solna.

Hagaparken (read more)

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This park is huge, and apparently is one of Sweden’s most visited areas for recreation.  I’ll definitely be coming here for longer runs.  Given that I can get up and down all the hills without falling over and dying!

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It’s so beautiful there – and actually reminded me a bit of Central Park, except that this is all natural!

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Can’t wait to run here.

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And even just the nature in the city is beautiful – this was approaching one of the main roads, after leaving the park.

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“Need food now” snack from 7-eleven.  Not bad for convenience store food!

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And of course, the day ended with a delicious dinner.  Whole wheat spaghetti with roasted brussels sprouts, tomato sauce, and a perfectly poached egg. Who said eggs were only for breakfast?

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How could I forget – yesterday was Våffeldagen! Or national waffle day in Sweden.  Of course I had to celebrate. I topped my waffle with re-heated frozen berries and raspberry salted licorice ice cream.  There are some things I will seriously miss about Scandinavia.  Call me crazy (many do) but salted licorice is certainly one of them.

How well do you know your city? Do you ever just go out exploring?

What’s your favorite place (anywhere in the world) to just walk around?

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