There and here, and there and then back again

Holiday blues.

Honestly, what’s the deal with that? How is it possible to feel so down just because of a few days off?

As you might recall, first went on a ski trip with colleagues. We left early on a Sunday morning. My plan was to sleep for a few hours, but despite getting to bed, I wasn’t able to fall asleep. I’m guessing it was because I was too scared of sleeping through the alarm and missing the flight or something.

The ski trip was a lot of fun. I decided not to go crazy on the alcohol and although I missed some fun nights, I don’t regret it as I was able to snowboard all day long. I’ve gotten much better (at last!) and even if I fell like a million times, I enjoyed it a lot.

I used my GoPro camera to record my descent, but the footage isn’t great, mainly because I’m not an awesome snowboarder yet, so it’s a bit boring…

One of the days, I teamed up with a skier girl. The bit I love the most about this trip is that it allows you to interact with people you normally don’t have the chance to talk to, and you discover great people. We had a lot of fun, and I even asked her to record me a couple of times. If I manage to get anything from the clips, I’ll post a video at some point.

The ski trip was exhausting. We left the hotel at 4am on a Wednesday, got a plane back to London, and arrived in the morning. My new skier friend drove me home (thank you, thank you!) and my day pretty much consisted of having breakfast, unpacking my big suitcase, doing laundry, having lunch, packing my small suitcase and go to St. Pancras to take the Eurostar to Paris.

Of course, I arrived in the evening, tired and underslept.

I don’t remember much of that evening. I guess we had dinner and chatted, but who knows what really happened.

My stay in Paris was great. I caught up with some friends and made a couple more. We went out, to the cinema, to the theatre… and ate. A lot.

First stop was drinks at a café nearby, L’Artiste, on Thursday evening. A friend texted me to ask me if I wanted to meet up, and I was still in my PJs, but hey, told her to give me 20 minutes and I would be ready.

On Friday, I had lunch on my own at the same café. The most amazing salad ever… I mean, a salad is not a salad without bacon, right? Or as they say over there, lardon. If you ever go there, make sure to order La Bergère, I bet you won’t be disappointed.
In the afternoon, I visited one of my favourite places: the Pere Lachaise cemetery. If you ever go to Paris, and you’re not terribly spooked about cemeteries, then you have to visit it. It’s absolutely beautiful. The cemetery is old, as in really old. A quick glance at Wikipedia tells me it was established in 1804.
Many of the graves are falling apart, and you can find many different types, from simple tombstones, to mausoleums. Famous people are buried there, as well as common citizens. The whole place is peaceful, quiet (despite being by a busy boulevard) and simply beautiful. Every time I visit it, I take a ridiculous amount of photographs, which I will of course share with you in due course!

After my visit to Pere Lachaise, I had to go shopping and ended up buying a handbag and shoes, and then had some coffee in a small café.

On my way back home (nice walk, and hey, I didn’t get lost!), I stopped to buy a plant for my friend, to thank her for letting me stay at her place. I have no hopes whatsoever that the plant is going to have a long life, but hey, fingers crossed! Ha-ha

Friday night in Paris, time to go out with the girls!

We went to Monsieur Henri, a cool bar opened by one of the girls and her friend. We had some nice organic wine and chatted and laughed. Unfortunately, everyone was tired from work, so we left early.

On Saturday, my host and I decided to ride a bike around the city. I hadn’t been on a bicycle in ages, and never with traffic, so I was a bit worried about having an accident. However, I enjoyed it greatly. At the end of the ride I was tired, of course, but it was worth it.

We ate crepes at my favourite place, Krepe, and did shopping, and then took the bicycles back.
That night, we stayed in and invited the girls to come over and have some wine with us.

On Sunday, we decided to go to the cinema. I had never watched How I Live Now before, which I loved. I’m not good at cinema reviews, so I’ll just say if you haven’t watched it yet, do it. You won’t regret it. It’s beautifully done and from the first moment you wonder about the setting, and the characters. The story only gets better and the photography is stunning.

That evening, I went for drinks to a bar hidden behind the doors of what looked like a walk-in fridge, inside a non-descript sort of deli café. As I stepped in through the fridge doors, I could see hams and other cold meat hanging around. To this day, I have no clue whether that food was in there for real, as in food that would be served to customers, or if it was all just props. Another set of doors revealed a nice looking bar, set as a bar in Chicago during the prohibition. Not sure that’s the look they were aiming for, but that’s how it looked to me. There was great music being played through the speakers and the decoration and even the clothing of the bar staff played the part.

Of course I loved it. I eyed the extensive whisky list, but in the end settled for a beer, as I’m not a particular fan of whisky anyway.

After the bar I ended up going to a secret location, high up above the city, from where you could see absolutely everything, from the Eiffel Tower to the Pantheon, to Notre-Dame. I have to add, as birthdays go, that was also the best start of a birthday I’ve ever had (neck in neck with spending my birthday in Disneyland Europe, many years ago… Paris again!)

My friend was off on Monday, so we could celebrate my birthday together. We had lunch with another friend, and walked along La Seine. We went to Jardin des Tuileries and walked past Le Louvre, and then all the way to Notre-Dame. I took some photos again, which I’ll share with you once I’ve had time to look into them.

In the evening, she took me to the theatre, and we watched How to Become Parisian in One Hour, a one-man comedy act in English, mainly describing stereotypes from different cultures, and how they compare to the Parisian stereotype. It was hilarious!

Finally, we had a mighty dinner at Le Plomb du Cantal in Saint-Denis.

The following morning, unfortunately, I had to leave.

For some reason, I misread my Eurostar ticket, and I missed my train, but the staff at Gare du Nord were very accommodating and they exchanged it for free! A few hours later, I was sat at my desk at work, feeling tired and miserable.

Back in London, I got a cake from my team and friends at work, as well as a couple of cards. My brother also gave me a couple of presents!

On Saturday morning, a group of colleagues and I headed over to Tunbridge Wells to run The Major Series, a (really) muddy obstacle race. It was a lot of fun, of course, but my! it was muddy. It was mental! I fell on so many puddles and streams, I fell on my bottom when trying to get into a river, got scratched by branches, got pricked by a thorn, which left a splinter on my finger (splinter I still have, by the way, stuck on my finger), was hit by a branch on the face… and injured my knee, when I still had maybe 2k left of race, and still a bunch of obstacles to overcome.

I decided to not try running anymore, and simply limp all the way to the finishing line. Every step was painful, and I quit about a hundred times in my head. However, I forced myself to walk painstakingly slow, and made my way to the finish line. As soon as I crossed it, and I mean, the very second I stepped over the timing chip sensors, I walked over to a race marshall and asked where the first aid team were, which was on top of the hill that I had just had to walk up and down for the past 3-4 obstacles. I resigned myself to this, and wobbled uphill once more. On my way, I picked all the goodies – the medal, the t-shirt, some snack bar… I reached my friends, dropped everything with them and headed to the ambulance, where they told me they thought it would get better in a few days, to rest the knee and so on.

After a hearty lunch, we headed back to London.

That evening I was celebrating my birthday with a joint party with my friend Sam, over at Waxy O’Connors. I hadn’t been there in ages and hadn’t realised how difficult that bar is for someone with an injured knee – way too many stairs! I left early (yup, left my own birthday party early!), and went back home to rest, and slept until quite late on Sunday, so tired I was from the previous couple of weeks.

So there it is, my account of my holidays. So many things have happened, and it feels so far away now.

At the moment, I’m not running, as I’ve decided to rest this week so as to not make my knee worse. This means I’m not training for the half marathon at the end of the month, but that’s hardly a surprise, since I haven’t been very strict with my training so far…

I have a few ideas for the next posts, so I will try to go back to a nice frequent schedule.

Phew! Post done, sorry it’s taken me such a long text to tell you about it, but trust me, I’ve left stuff out, just because of not wanting to bore you! I’ll try to share the photos with you on Sunday, but I’m a bit busy this week after work, so bear with me.