2015 Melbourne

Oh wow…. What a trip!  I’ll preface this with I know I can be wordy, so I’m going to try to be somewhat concise (but probably not much) and I’ll try to break this up into cities since again, I’m probably not going to be concise. But either way, grab a cuppa and sit back as we start to recap my “sabbatical”.

Going to Australia has been in the back of my head for several years. And with that was the knowledge that I really did not want to make that plane flight, at least not in economy class (aka sardine class). I slowly started paying with my airline credit card and saved and saved and saved my miles and literally took my balance to zero to get a business class ticket. It was so worth it! I mean, if you aren’t going to use miles for a 14+ hour flight, when are you? Not to mention, no longer having a job, it was fantastic not to have to “pay” for the flight.

I'll drink to that!

I’ll drink to that!

I lost Wednesday and since I’m not going back to the US after Australia, I will never get that day back! Oh well. We arrived in Melbourne on Thursday. Gray skies and rains greeted us. We knew (sort of) what we were getting into by going to Australia in their winter.

We found something to eat (there was a good restaurant, Trunk, right near our hotel) and the grocery store for water, Tim Tams (thanks again Kelly!!), and Vegemite before heading back to the hotel where we struggled to stay awake. I gave up the fight fairly early on.

Friday

Surprisingly, I slept most of the night (off and on).  It was still fairly early when I actually got out of bed.

Once we were ready, we walked several blocks over to the Queen Victoria Market, which began my love affair with Melbourne. (Guess what? Melbourne ended up being my favorite place we visited in Australia!)

Queen Vic Market

Queen Vic Market

The Queen Vic market is huge!!  You can get anything from a good cup of coffee (seriously Melbourne had fantastic coffee!!) to meat to cheese to bakery items to eggs to vegetables to clothes.  I could go on and on.

Lots and lots of produce!

Lots and lots of produce!

We wandered and wandered, picking up breakfast and a few other items.  If we’d had a kitchen, it would have been fun to pick up items to make for dinner.

Mmm, macarons!

Mmm, macarons!

Ever since our trip to Greece, Jessica has been somewhat enamored by street art.  In researching Melbourne we learned they had a number of laneways covered with street art.  Our next stop was to walk down to Hosier Lane and explore a few of the streets before grabbing lunch.

Hosier Lane

Hosier Lane

Rutledge Lane

Rutledge Lane

Flashback to Enchanted 10K Costumes

Flashback to Enchanted 10K Costumes

After lunch we walked down to the Shrine of Remembrance which offered great views from the top.  We finished up the day by meandering around Federation Square.

View of Melbourne from Shrine of Remembrance

View of Melbourne from Shrine of Remembrance

Saturday

We started off the morning at Hardware Societe, a super cute restaurant down a laneway (Hardware Street to be exact!).  We waited about 30 min for a table but it was worth it!  I couldn’t decide between sweet or savory and fortunately Jessica couldn’t either so I got sweet, she got savory and we split.  I had a delicious brioche but I can’t remember what Jessica had.  But it was good as well!

Delicious coffee at Hardware Societe

Delicious coffee at Hardware Societe

We then took the train out to Brighton Beach to visit the brightly colored bathing houses!!  It was so neat to see all the different colors and the different personalities of the houses.  Once we’d had our fill of the houses, we walked along the water back to St Kilda for dinner before heading back to Melbourne.

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

And that ends our short time in Melbourne….next stop Phillip Island!

Melbourne, along the river

Melbourne, along the river

Exploring Arcades in Melbourne

Exploring Arcades in Melbourne

Sinking Library

Sinking Library

Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station

Posted in Australia, Sabbatical, Travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

2015 Brooks Trailhead 10K

So much to recap…where do I start?  I’ve been told the beginning is a very good place to start!  Before I left on my trip, I was in Seattle.  Once I knew when I was going to be in Seattle I scouted out what races would be happening.  As it would happen, Brooks was holding a race with both a 10K and a 15K option.  I immediately signed up for the 15K!

However as it got closer, and I read more about the time limit, I decided to drop down to the 10K.  Plus I was going to be in a wedding the next day and still had a few errands to run.

I met Nilufer at the start line.  We started getting caught up while waiting for the start.

Waiting for the start

Waiting for the start

It was a rolling start, walkers, 15K elite, 10K elite, 15K regular and finally 10K regular.  The course started at Gasworks Park, which in my Seattle days, I spent many a day running in this area.

From Gasworks, the course is counterclockwise around Lake Union (the 15K had an additional out and back along the canal).  It was great weather and the views were amazing!  There were definitely a few ups and downs!  It is Seattle after all! :)  I wasn’t sure when I was going to be lapped by the 15Kers but all of a sudden someone blew by me.  A few runners later and I heard “Keep it up!”  I’m always so impressed when one of the super fast runners call out encouragement.

The volunteers were great and there were 2 water stops.

I hadn’t been running regularly so I wasn’t expecting too much time-wise.  I was hoping for around a 1:20 finish.  I finished in 1:20:49, so there you go!

FInishers!

Finishers!

Posted in Race Report | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Home Again, Home Again

I am back in the good ol, US of A – just in time for the 4th of July!  While part of me is happy to be back in my own bed and not living out of a suitcase, there is definitely a part of me that is sad I won’t be waking up in another country.  I had a great time and I will be sharing pictures (and pictures and pictures) of my travels.

So what am I up to now?  Well, first is finding a job.  Interspersed with exploring St Louis (finally).  I’ve got a few leads on jobs and I’ll keep you posted.  I’m a little concerned about the rejections coming, the interviews, and making the right decision.  I’m hopeful that when the right job comes along I’ll know it (and not panic and just take the first job offered, unless of course that is the right job!).  Did you know I am a worrier?

I’ve also got Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicago coming up!!  Ack!  I’m tempted to drop down to the 10K but we’ll see.  It most likely won’t be my best performance but I’ve got a friend doing it as well so that should help.

I’ll leave you with a picture for now.

Tallin

Tallinn

Posted in Travel | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five Senses Friday

I’m pretty sure it’s Friday.  At least I’m pretty sure it’s Friday somewhere.  I’m currently in transit and not sure about what time it is, let alone what day it is!  I’m in the middle of an extremely long layover in Bangkok and initially I had thought about leaving the airport to see what I could see.  Our flight was slightly delayed and I decided not to force the trip into Bangkok and instead got a Thai massage at the airport!

I’m sad to see my time in Australia come to an end.  I had a fabulous time and would love to come back someday.

Feeling – absolutely petrified on my climb up Sydney Harbor Bridge.  The heights?  No, actually it was before we even got to the climbing part.  The path to get to the where the climb starts was super narrow and at times you had to climb through this very small openings.  I had an ill-fitting suit and completely freaked out at one point.  I don’t get claustrophobic often, but this would be the second time I’ve freaked in a tight space.

Halfway up!!  (post freak-out #1 and pre freak-out #2)

Halfway up!! (post freak-out #1 and pre freak-out #2)

Hearing – the history of the Sydney Opera House.  The tour was amazing!!  It really is an incredible building.

Ribs of the Sydney Opera House

Ribs of the Sydney Opera House

Smelling – the water!  Not only did we take a cruise around the harbor, but we took several ferry trips here there and everywhere.  Whenever I’m around large bodies of water, I’m reminded of how much of a water person I am.  I’ll blame at least part of it on being brought up so close to both the Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

On the way to Manly Beach

On the way to Manly Beach

Seeing – beautiful clocks in the Queen Victoria Building

Tick Tock

Tick Tock

Another clock

Another clock

Bonus shot - feet on the original tile that was preserved in the building

Bonus shot – feet on the original tile that was preserved in the building

Tasting – I did it.  I had both kangaroo and emu!!  The pizza was called the coat of arms (since both the emu and the kangaroo are Australia’s national animals).  The emu, eh but the kangaroo was pretty good.

Kangaroo & emu pizza

Kangaroo & emu pizza

Posted in Australia, Travel | Tagged | 2 Comments

Five Senses Friday

Wow, this trip is going by oh so fast!!  Melbourne is just a memory and Port Douglas is about to become one.  Sydney is up next!  But here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been up to – Five Senses Style!

Hearing – lots of wind and rain.  That’s what you get when you go to Australia in the winter! :)  Oh and waves!  Lots of waves!

Wind & waves! (12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road)

Wind & waves! (12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road)

Feeling – a koala in my arms!!  Yes!  This happened!  He was a little smelly, but I held a koala!

Koala!!!

Koala!!!

Seeing – the Great Barrier Reef!!!  Or at least part of it.  Sadly, I did not find Nemo.

Fishy!!!

Fishy!!!

Smelling – eucalyptus on our drive down the Great Ocean Road

Tasting – if its vacation, it means its time for gelato!!  And lots of cappuccino!

I just love designs in my coffee!

I just love designs in my coffee!

Mmm, gelato!!

Mmm, gelato!!

See you in Sydney!!  Want more Five Senses?  Check out No Apathy Allowed!

Posted in Five Senses, Travel | 2 Comments

Five Senses Friday

Wait, what?  Friday already?  That’s because I crossed the dateline (lost Wednesday) and am here in Melbourne, Australia!  Yes I am off on my explorations Down Under.

Hearing – that lovely Aussie accent

Seeing – myself, looking fabulous.  It’s amazing what having your hair and make-up done will do for you!

Me with the Bride!

Me with the Bride!

Tasting – we’ll start out with the fabulous wedding brunch – I mean bacon at a wedding??

Wedding Brunch!

Wedding Brunch!

But stay tuned as I am currently in possession of some vegemite (and some Tim Tam’s – thanks for the suggestion Kelly!!)

Smelling – the lovely flowers at the wedding

Feeling – a little out of sorts but in a good way – as in where I am, what day is it, what time is it?  That’s what travelling can do to you!

Want more Five Senses?  Check out No Apathy Allowed!

PS – be sure to follow my adventures on Instagram (@emilytravels)

Posted in Five Senses, Travel | 4 Comments

Niagara Falls & Run With the Rapids 5K

So let’s see, in the last few weekends, we’ve gone coast to coast with the Disney parks.  What’s next?  How about a trip to Niagara Falls?  And while I haven’t been good at updating my Life List, seeing Niagara Falls would knock off #36.

The trip to Niagara was a bit of a roundabout trip.  Jessica’s brother is in Cleveland and so we flew into Cleveland and drove to Niagara. When visiting Niagara, you can visit the Canadian side or the American side.  When we booked the hotel, we unknowingly booked a hotel on the Canadian side.  As in, we may have realized the hotel was in Canada, but it didn’t really sink in until right before the trip.  We were reassured that the Canadian side was the better side.  For viewing the Falls anyway.

Since we were visiting a new place, we decided to see if there were any local races in the area.  Fortunately for us, there was a 5K – on the American side.  Again, we didn’t really put all the pieces together until later.  On our way up, we stopped at packet pickup,  Which was just that, literally to pick up your packet.

We continued across the border to our hotel and walked down to the Falls.  Wow.  Just wow.  The sheer force of the water, the power, the majesty of the Falls is hard to describe.  The roaring water fills your senses.  We walked along from the American Falls to the Horseshoe Falls stopping every few feet to take a picture from a slightly different angle.  We were that in awe of what we were seeing.

So much water

So much water

At the visitor/welcome center there were gift shops, a restaurant, and several fast food places.  After looking at the options, we decided to purchase an adventure pack which would give us the opportunity to view the Falls and the surrounding area a few different ways.

Ooh, ahh

Ooh, ahh

After dinner we walked back down to the Falls to see them illuminated and to see the fireworks.

So pretty!!

So pretty!!

Saturday, we made our way back across the border to the 5K.  It was definitely a small, local race.  And due to construction it was more of a run through the streets with a small glimpse of the rapids, rather than Run With the Rapids as was indicated by its name.  Oh well.

I looked around at the very small field and told Jessica we were probably going to be last.  But that was no reason we shouldn’t give it our best!  And we did – Jessica PR’d!!  It helped we were really trying hard not to be last (which we weren’t – whew!).

Ready to go!!

Ready to go!!

After the race, there were hamburgers and hot dogs offered, as well as an array of juices and soda.  The after party was pretty awesome!

After party

After party

We got cleaned up and started the day over again.  First stop was the Hornblower cruise which took us really close to the Falls.  So amazing!!!  It was so loud!  And impressive!  It is hard to describe just how amazing the Falls were.

You will get wet!

You will get wet!

Next stop was the Journey Behind the Falls, where we got to see – the back side of water!!  The sun was out and we were able to see a rainbow.

Rainbow

Rainbow

Sunday, after packing up and checking out, we did the White Water Walk – they were category 6 rapids, which means they were seriously dangerous.  The waves were ridiculously large and fast-moving.

Along the white water walk

Along the white water walk

Our next stop was the Aerocar which took us across the whirlpool in a little gondola.

Our turn next

Our turn next

All in all, an amazing trip and I’m glad I can check off Niagara Falls from my Life List!

In the Aerocar!

In the Aerocar!

Posted in Race Report, Trip Report | Tagged , | 2 Comments