I have mixed feelings about moving on from London. This really is a very cool city, and I feel like I've only scratched the surface of it.
Living outside of the city has surely had its advantages...financially it's made things feasible, I've had a great pool to swim in and a park right outside my door, and I've been able to get in all my bike workouts thanks to the absolute best cycling center in all of London, Cadence Cycling Performance. (No, I'm not going to shut up about that place, I absolutely love it and all the guys who work there, they've become my London friends.) Plus, I've found lots of good and friendly cafes and pubs and my neighborhood feels to me a lot like what living in London would be like. Replicating that experience was one of the goals of my trip, so that's a success.
And I got to run on this track!
Didn't go in, but at least I took pictures of Westminster Abbey
The Piccadilly Circus area
Those days are gone. Let me show you a picture of the room I'm currently staying in:
This pictures shows ALL of it except one wall
It's taken some adjustments, this spartan existence. I have to wash my clothes in the shower and dry them with a hairdryer. After my first night, I made Order of Business #1 getting earplugs, because I could hear through the walls every conversation going on in seemingly every room in the building. While I used to complain about only having a microwave, now all I have is a tea kettle, so I eat out for most of my meals (hence the Whole Foods obsession). Fortunately, British restaurant portion sizes are nowhere near as huge as American portions, so eating out all the time's not entirely jeopardizing my athletic goals, just putting a dent in my wallet.
Neighborhood in Notting Hill where they paint all the houses pastel colors
WIth this size car, you can actually pull off that parking disaster
All of this, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. Part of the reason for my trip was to learn about myself, what's important to me, what makes me tick. And I'm figuring those things out. I do better with routine. I do better when I'm busy and mentally stimulated. And, although I'm comfortable being by myself, I'm not, at bottom, a loner.
The next phase of my trip's going to be a little different, and I'm looking forward to it. Most excitingly, I have a friend joining for part! First, I'm going to Marbella for a week. After that, Katie flies in, and we're doing a organized group cycling trip in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Spain. Then, we go over to Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands. She leaves after a few days, and I'll stay a little longer and do a really crazy, 4-day running race. I'm told Lanzarote is a lot like Hawaii....a volcanic island with tropical parts, and I absolutely cannot wait.
Marbella, where I'm going next