The view from the top of St Pauls in London
Marching with the Grenadier Guard Band
View from the top of the tallest tower while walking the walls of Dubrovnik
with my gorgeous friends at the “Big waterfall” in Plitvice National Park
I’m currently halfway through my travels and have been having a fantastic time. I managed to keep things pretty well balanced while I was in London I believe – I kept up my morning training with pushups, situps, squats, and biceps ticeps and spent my days walking, exploring the city and climbing everything in sight – including all 500 steps in St Paul’s Cathedral. I was really pleased to be able to do it all with no ill effects – no jelly legs after the steps, no having to stop to catch my breath etc. Sure my feet hurt by the end of the day but I was able to do so much more than I have done on previous holidays thanks to my improved fitness. In the evenings I enjoyed socialising with the friend I was staying with, enjoying a couple of drinks and a nice meal guilt free.
Once I met up with my Sydney friends and joined the tour for Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia though the balance went out the window. Here I was with my old drinking buddies. We hadn’t seen each other for 6 months so the first thing we did was go out for a drink and a nice meal… and I feel like we haven’t stopped since! In no way am I blaming my friends for this – each one of us has been living a much healthier lifestyle prior to this trip but it seemed once we got together it all went out the window. It has been great to see them though, and they did notice my weight loss which really felt great. I feel like I have put on weight this week though. Hard to tell exactly without scales but I just don’t feel as light as I used to.
Partly I think it has to do with the style of tour we are on. Usually if I do a tour, I do a small group one which utilises local transport and involves a lot more walking and carrying of your own bags. This trip though is a larger one, with it’s own coach. Bags are picked up from your hotel room and delivered to the room in the next hotel. The bus picks you up at the hotel door and drops you off at your next location. Yes there is a walking tour in each city for about an hour, (not fast walking at all though and a lot of standing around – a good pace for the majority of the tour who seem aged 60+) and yes I have managed to do some walking in our “free time” but it’s still been way more sitting than moving. I’m actually missing exercise. I even found myself doing planks on a bench while we had a toilt break at a service station yesterday!
Food wise we have been trying all the local cuisines – very heavy on the meat, breads etc and very light on the vegetables.All washed down with copious amounts of the local vino. I think I’m drinking less than I have on previous trips – 2-3 glasses most days but its still a LOT. We are all craving veggies. Last night we went to a restaurant recommended to us by a taxi driver that serves traditional Slovenian cuisine and for the first time we had veggies that weren’t massively over cooked or drowning in butter. It was heaven!!! I’m really missing eating clean, as much as I am enjoying the new taste sensations I’m experiencing.
The tour finished yesterday so my friends and I headed up to Lake Bled. On a gorgeous spring day we were able to do a bit of walking in the fresh air including a 20 minute climb up some stairs in the side of a mountain to view a gorgeous waterfall. It felt good to move again although I’m disappointed that I seem to have lost a bit of fitness as my hips are a bit achy this evening. We had a very late lunch so have opted to skip dinner tonight. We are still meeting for farewell drinks though. I think having a stomach that isn’t overly stuffed for a change will be great. I’m not worried about drinking tonight as it is the last time I will see these girls for a while and I head to Morocco tomorrow. I’m not anticipating drinking much at all there especially as I don’t know anyone else on the tour. Hopefully the food there will be more focussed on veggies and a little less oily too.
Travelling really does make me realise how lucky I am. My tour passed through some of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the effects of the war there are still so evident. There are houses that are still in ruins – their occupants have not returned. Other homes have had the internals parts and roof restored but the external walls still have missing render and holes where they have been sprayed with bullets and shrapnel. These families were able to return home but have not had the money to restore the outside of their homes (government and aid paid for essential repairs only). Some homes have been restored completely and repinted in an effort to move on with life but the devastation is still evident. Cemeteries are filled with gravestones of those that died in 1991 – 1995. So many cut short in the prime of life – late teens to early 30s. They had no chance to live long healthy lives. It makes me appreciate what I have – a home in a country that i love where I don’t live in fear and have never known war in my homeland; a body which while yes overweight, is still healthy and intact and able to take me into a healthier future; the opportunity to make the most of my life; and the financial ability to travel and see sights which both amaze and move me. I am indeed lucky.
I have 2 weeks before I head home. I’m hoping I can move more and eat / drink less in the next 2 weeks. I’m having a great time but missing my new home lifestyle.