Europe Travel Tips
Lifestyle,Travel & Adventure,Uncategorized

Confessions (and Tips) from a Not-So-Skinny European Traveler

There is no doubt we had a wonderful 10 day voyage through Europe! And since it’s not something I do all that often, I really didn’t feel that bad about indulging in everything I wanted. Whenever I wanted it. Well that is, until now. Ouch! I know it was fun, but the post travel puff and the woes of over-indulget regret are weighing heavy on me — quite literally and figuratively. To make matters a little worse? The New York Marathon is just 5 weeks away and I haven’t run more than 25 minutes in 7 weeks…

Let’s start with the good stuff first before I fill you in on the mostly-missed-marathon training fiasco…

What a fun, hilarious, and adventurous bout of travel we had!

We left San Diego on a round trip ticket to Amsterdam. We had booked 2 nights at a hotel and that was all we had planned. We were pretty sure we wanted to visit Germany, for Oktoberfest. But I was a bit worried about voyaging into Munich, not to mention the expense of un-planned, last minute accommodations. We had thought about maybe Paris, maybe Switzerland…but decided not to think about it until we got there.

It started out bumpy…

When we realized we should have checked in online. Duh. The only seats left on the plane were middle seats, clearly not side by side. We were flying SAN–LHR direct. That’s a 12 hour red-eye. Not something anybody would be happy about let alone me, a once well serviced business traveler who is just adjusting to flying coach. I know my fancy travel days are behind me now, but 2 – separate middle seats!? You can’t even negotiate that on the plane! So we headed to the lounge (not all of my perks have expired yet) where I just about cried to the agent about our situation. I think my boyfriend almost sent me home because I was being such a baby, and if it weren’t for the top shelf open bar, I may have let him (lol–well, not really). A few drinks later, Arlene, our lounge agent with angel wings and I think even a halo, came back with two new boarding passes. And not only were we together, we were the window and aisle on either side of the only empty seat on the plane.

Off to a good start!

Off to a good start!

So things were looking up — Eurotrip 2013, here we come!

We got to London a few goofy movies, a “low calorie meal” and no real eventful situations later. Awesome. Cruised right through Heathrow and off to Amsterdam. It’s amazing how you can fly so far sometimes with such ease. When just getting up the coast of California can cause so much commotion some days. I don’t know how we figured it out, but by the  next morning we had our 10 day itinerary planned. We would take the train to Munich Monday. We used AirBnB to rent a flat from a local German. Not only cost efficient, a great way to get the ins and outs of a beautiful city at a crazy time. Then off to Prague Wednesday, back to Amsterdam Saturday on a night train and home via Heathrow Sunday. Leveraging my dwindling Hilton hotel point balance, we stayed just about for free everywhere else.

Welcome to Amstel - Dam

I am Amstel-Dam

Everything we did was fun.

Even the 14 hour train ride back from Prague. But the good stuff too. Like Mike’s Bike Tour, the Holland International Canal Tour and the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. The Oktoberfest beer tents and roller coasters in Munich. And some long funny nights with our new Boston buddies, Max and Cara in Prague. Oh the Hemingway Bar, where they served the finest craft cocktails…we just had fun.

6 bridges, a unique view.

Amsterdam Canal Tour, 6 bridges, a unique view.

Heineken Experience

Heineken Experience – A fascinating study in Branding 101. I highly recommend if visiting if you work anywhere near brand engagement.

Where bing drinking is not only accepted, it's wildly accepted, encouraged and engaged in by all!

Oktoberfest: Where binge drinking is not only accepted, it’s wildly encouraged and engaged in by all!

Trouble might be brewing in Prague

Trouble might be brewing in Prague

Hemingway Bar Amsterdam

Hemingway Bar — they put so much care into the details of their cocktails.

New friends are the best :)

New friends are the best 🙂

I ate chocolate when I wanted. Knocked back all the free wine in the lounges and stuffed my fair share of croissants down each morning. Meals were elaborate and shaped the course of most of our days. Cafe de Klos our first night in Amsterdam and Trattoria Caprese our last, also in Amsterdam, come to mind as favorite experiences, but none were bad.  It’s really fun to not think about “skinny” all the time. Even with hindsight being 20/20, I’m not sure there is anything we’d have done differently.

Now the unfortunate current physical situation.

7 weeks ago, I started my first of 12 weeks of NYC marathon training. I was suffering. I’m not sure I’ve recovered from Boston yet. My speed sucked and it all hurt. I’m not sure if I fell on purpose or not, but I managed to rip up my ankle again just a few days after I started training. So there you have it. Mandatory 3 weeks off and a “wait and see” from the doctor on what recovery would look like. So NYC is OFF again, I’ll shoot for it in 2014. I don’t even think I was sad. But 4 weeks later, when I realized my injury had subsided, I decided my marathon experience was going back ON! I was supposed to run NYC last year, and we all know how that turned out. I need to get this race off my bucket list. I don’t care if it takes 5+ hours. It’s getting done in 2013 and I will do it with a smile!

Now, less than 5 weeks out and more than 5 pounds heavier, that’s all sounding a little scarier…

In my post travel state of body (hopefully dimorphic) distress, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. But I’m going to pull it together. A lot can happen in 35 days. Clean eating, hydration, running and getting back on my yoga track will serve me well. My juicer, my bed, daily productivity, maybe a bit less booze? All of these things matter. And when I get fired up, there is little that can stop me.  I’m going to take an “official” before picture, which I may or may not ever share with the world. But I will check in each Monday with a progress report. Total running time covered and calorie deficit recorded. Let’s see if the “unlikely” can transform into “inevitable” in the next 5 weeks and I truly get to enjoy the NYC marathon as the beautiful experience that it can be.

All in all –

I loved the way we traveled and the silly adventures we had, but I always say the best things about travel are coming hone. I love to see other countries, cities and cultures. But the comforts of my home are there for a reason. Because I love them. My house. My juicer. My little kitties. My Family. My friends. My gym. My coffee press. My life! I am a creature of habit and so I created habits that bring comfort.

So after feeling ever so blessed for another round of fortunate travel, here are my last bits of insight/advice I picked up this time around:

Maybe not skinny, but ideally, internationally useful tips:

  • Travel is not vacation and don’t expect it to be restful. If you can’t find the fun in being lost, maybe vacation on a small island is a better use of your days off. (Ha – mind you, I realized this after having spend a few hours of a beautiful day being really mad about being lost 😉
  • Europe has a chip in their credit cards, so unless you have one, don’t plan on using yours everywhere. Like when you spend $800 Euro on 2 multiple country pass train tickets. Up your ATM card daily cash limit before you go.
  • Always ask the “tourist desk” for directions. It’s not intuitive to volunteer yourself as a “tourist” but guess what? You’re in a foreign country and they know you’re not from around town judging simply by the size of your luggage. So save yourself the time and money and go for it. We saved $20 Euro by ordering our taxi in Prague from the courtesy tourist booth at the train station over the “taxi mafia” on the street.
  • Don’t worry about calories, focus on the experience. Gaining a few pounds only gives you something to focus on when you get home. Losing weight can be done anywhere. Vacation experiences are reserved for special occasions, so enjoy them.
  • The best thing about travel should always be coming home. If you’re ever away for a long time, and you’re not looking forward to getting back, then something in your life may need to change. Order a glass of wine and pull out a pen and some paper. Figure out what you’d rather go home to and make a plan 😉

So there you have it — onward I go and NYC, get ready because I’m coming one way or another!

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 10.33.52 AM

Are you headed anywhere fun? Anybody else out there feeling less than ready for the NYC marathon in 5 weeks? What vacations are you looking forward to? Inquiring minds want to know…so feel free to share!

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  • Mike Newton

    Great post as usual! I typically let my standard eating habits go out the window when I’m traveling. It’s just not worth giving up the experience. We all work out and eat well for a reason, there’s nothing wrong with letting our guard down for a small time period if we make it up the rest of the time! I can’t wait to see more photos!

  • Lindsey C

    What an awesome trip, and totally worth the extra pounds! Looking forward to your plan to get back on track – nutritionally and fitness-y 🙂 I love hearing how you detox after a retox… I always try to steal ideas to create new habits for myself! You are going to KICK ASS in NYC, because that’s what you do 😉

  • Angelena Riggs

    It sounds like you had a wonderful trip! I never worry too much about what I eat and drink on vacation. It takes the fun out of it. Like you said when you get home you can worry about all that! Life to too dang short to be so strict all the time. While I am all for staying healthy and working out, I think that includes balance to let loose sometimes!
    You can totally rock the NYC marathon!! I am looking forward to your progress posts!

    • teresamarierun

      Thank you Angelena! I’m always glad to hear a fellow fitness friend takes it easy on vacation! This marathon will be like no other, thats for sure. I just want to get ‘er done and have fun doing it 🙂 And now I know you’ll hold me to my Monday morning progress posts. Thank you for the accountability!

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