Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekly Log 7-Jul to 13-Jul-2014: European vacation

Looking forward to a week of vacation and running/exploring!

10 miles

Yes, I'm in Holland!

Along the many canals and footbridges that I ran today
I would need Hammett help to identify this one

My run took me along Dutch countryside
First ever visit to Italy didn't start off on the right track when I was swindled out of 40 Euros by an unscrupulous taxi driver with a sleight-of-hand trick with my bills that I didn't realize until later.  At first, I was angry for a few hours, but pickpockets and con artists are notorious in Rome, so it could have been worse and I just have to be more vigilant and move on.
5 miles.  Evening run on local narrow roads near hotel (I miss the extra wide roads in Amsterdam with bike path lanes and pedestrian lanes), but it got better once I got into a local park.
500 yards.  Outdoor pool swim with Mark & Matthew, until Mark ditched us to use the Roman Baths at the hotel!
The highlight of the day today was inside the famed Roman Coliseum,
completed in 80AD, where many gladiators met their demise

Back at the hotel, Matthew gets some Crabman
practice and fun in the outside pool
Wednesday:  0
(no running today, busy on long travel day in coastal Italy)
Amazing history here!  I think we have neat historical sites
in the USA when I visit something a couple hundred years old.

Well, we took the picture above when walking through the remains of the
famous city of Pompeii, buried by Mt Vesuvius eruption in 79AD,
and remained buried until excavated last century.  Nearly 2,000 years old,
room after room (including a brothel!) - what a gem!

On the way back, got off the train in Naples and had our best dinner yet
(mine was spaghetti w/clams) in this open air restaurant.
Matthew (on my right) is actually talking to me; Mark took advantage of
a rare wi-fi spot to connect his iPhone; Jana as usual snapping the pic.
6 miles
Late night watching Netherlands-Argentina game; after all that Netherlands lost on penalty kicks.  Slept in and went for a run before more city exploration:

In sharp contrast to Amsterdam, running on roads
 outside the hotel here in Rome is a tad precarious
due to narrow congested streets.

Fortunately, after less than 1/2 mile, I can turn off into a park
that goes on and on with many trails (dirt trail in foreground).

Surreal to see this statue inside a cave
on my run
This stunning villa (Villa Pamphili) replete with Roman
 statues  built into its walls was inside the park as well.
(Note the park is runner-friendly with 3 coming towards me)

11 miles.  Villa Pamphili park run.  Hot sweaty run.  Tried to go for a couple of Strava segments, but it's tough to know where trails line up, and my choices didn't align.
0.3 miles.  Final outdoor pool swim, before catching a late night flight to London.
Kids enjoyed climbing through Castel Sant Angelo:
Lower portion a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian (138AD);
upper portion built in 6th century
Hard to find things that aren't "lame" for teens and you
never know what will be a hit, but this catacomb with 7 miles
of tunnels 27 feet underground with thousands of human burials
from 2nd century was a hit with them

Saturday:  0
Slept in after late flight, then busy day sightseeing.  Pink Floyd blasting in the subway system before departing London.  Cool!  My kids asked me who Pink Floyd is.  Not cool.
Spent the afternoon walking through light rain and sheep poop
in the English countryside

The guides here consider Roman history in England (starting 43AD) to be
"modern" history!  Stonehenge dates to 3000BC and we visited burial mounds
dating to 3700 BC.

Most visitors to Stonehenge see it from behind a barricade, but after Stonehenge closed to the public
at 7:30PM, we went inside the inner circle of stones on a special access tour.  Pictures just do
not do this justice.  Now how did they get the 6 tons rocks lifted on top of the standing
40 ton pillars, years ago in the stone age with primitive tools?

11 miles.  65 degrees and light rain.  I'll take this weather for running anytime.  Ran past the major sites in London, mostly inside parks.  Along the Thames, there were barricades along the roads as they were preparing for 15,000+ runners in the British 10K.  I just ran in the road before the start of the race.  British police were everywhere, but they just smiled.  Cool, I get 2 - 4 lanes of primary roads in downtown London to myself for running.
Funniest point was when I came up on a water stop staffed with dozens of volunteers and thousands of water bottles (yes, bottles, odd).  A boy about 7 or 8 yelled out "We have our first runner coming" and sprinted out into the middle of the street to hand me a water bottle.  How could I turn his offer down?  Later in the day, I saw a runner wearing a really neat British 10K technical shirt emblazoned with the Union Jack.  I would have loved one of those, but I ran most of route alone, avoided 15K+ plus people and a whopping entry fee of 50 pounds! (~$90).

Weekly Tally:
43 miles
0 miles
0.6 miles

Week recap:  Not a huge mileage week by any means, and obviously no biking, but a really, really fun week of running and exploring in neat places.


  1. Keep those photos coming!!! The whole country is littered with segments, but I like the easy, touristy approach to your runs thus far...and you'll be there for the Semifinal WC match, that should be epic!!! Have fun!

  2. Great shots! Are you guys doing a country a day?

    1. Grazie! No, not a country a day, although it does feel like whirlwind travel!

  3. Beautiful sights. I was in Rome, oh 20 years ago, when I was an infant (ha!) amazing history. My favorite was the Coliseum and the Spanish Steps. Some crazy drivers. You certainly were brave with that not even a meter wide side walk!! Enjoy!

    1. Stonehenge... looks even more amazing in your pictures.... thank you for taking us along on this trip. Much appreciated.

  4. I've enjoyed living vicariously through you this week, Jeff. What a great trip.