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After a short evening which of course included sangria and tapas it was time for some sleep in order to prepare for a one day whirlwind tour of a good sized city.

And that morning came a bit too soon and very cloudy yet it was off to breakfast and to the bus to get to our first

During our short walk to the bus stop the clouds turned into rain and that prompted a quick stop at a shop near the church to purchase umbrella, for yes, you guessed it, 5 euros. And those 5 euros were put to good use throughout the day as the rain came and went regularly as we meandered the streets both by bus and on foot.

The worst of the rain actually came at a very good time while we were sitting at a cafe on sipping some very large sangrias. During this time I actually had a small river running down the back of my chair. Thankfully I had quick dry pants on and was only a bit chilled from the experience.
That said, we are looking forward to more sunny climates in the days ahead.

Now that I have been writing about my travels to my many destinations, I figured it was time to write something about home, after all I do live in Chicago which is a destination for many travelers. Don’t worry, I will have plenty more to say about other locations in later posts, and even a bit in this one. Especially since I am elsewhere these days more than Chicago.

One thing all of the travel has not been good for is my waistline. Partly because I tend to eat out more than I should and when I don’t I am often eating quite late and food that is quick to prepare and not always healthy. In addition, it always seems harder to work out on the road than at home, or at least to get to a gym.

Looking at all of this back in October I decided that it was time to start running again. I ran cross country and track back in high school and have run on and off since then, recently more off than on. So I looked around for training information and being in the mobile world now found an iPhone app that I could use as a guide. Then I picked a target race on New Year’s Day, figuring that would be a good way to force myself not to stay out too late on New Year’s Eve.

My first day out as I started my “Couch Potato to 5K” program was to walk 1 minute, run 3, and repeat until 10 minutes. I was so out of shape that that was hard and I really needed those 1 minute walk breaks to get through the work out. Little by little I built up my times and distances yet partly due to being sick over Christmas on race day I had yet to run 5K, so I wasn’t sure what would happen. Well, I was pretty sure I would finish, just wasn’t sure if I was going to have to take some walking breaks. OK, to end the suspense, I finished without walking, I wasn’t fast, but I didn’t care.

Since that race I have continued to build up my times and distances and have now ran for an hour without walking and actually consider a 30-45 minute run easy. I’m not ready for a marathon, I am actually signed up for another 5K and then might look at a 10K. I’m not saying I’m not tempted by the marathon concept, I am, I just think I need to build up to it slowly.

And the idea of having a way to exercise without a gym has actually worked quite well, despite living in two cold cities. Yes, there are days that it has been too cold or too snowy to get out and run, however overall between the chinooks in Calgary and a few warm weeks while I was just back in Chicago I have generally been able to get out a few times a week. This week may be a sad exception as the warmest day is supposed to be Thursday with a high of -9C. Brrr. Of course that might also mean that I need a gym option as well, sigh.


Somehow Calgary is yielding itself to lots of weather posts these days, I wonder why….

Folks who know me know that I am pretty much a coffee aficionado, aka coffee snob. I prefer French Press coffee complete with oils but will bend and give in to a drip brew if it hasn’t been passed through a paper filter. At least that is when I am at home.

On the road I am happy if I can make fresh coffee in my apartment and it is a bonus if I can grind the beans just before brewing in these cases. Tuesday was one of those days, I had enough time in the morning to brew a pot and nurture a cup of java while getting ready for work. And on my way out the door had the forethought to pour a to go cup and top it off with soy milk. Heck, I even remembered to take it (and my lunch) with me to the car, often one or the other or both of those get left behind in my bleary eyed morning state.

That though was the end of the brilliance as upon arriving at the office I left the coffee in the car. Realizing this shortly after getting to my desk I could have gone back out for it, but it was at least -20 C so I thought better of braving the elements and bought a cup of the not so tasty and definitely weak work stock.

So there was my coffee, in the console in the car, all alone and very cold as I navigated through my day. And upon arriving home after work and dinner and a movie (yes, the much anticipated part 1 of the 7th movie in a series that opened on the 19th) I had a cup of coffee slush. I am not sure how much more frozen it was before the drive home during which the car at least started to warm up, but it was definitely a unique version of iced coffee. No, I didn’t taste it, I am just letting it warm up to pouring temperature.


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