Tag Archives: exercise

There’s no place like home…

As much as I love to travel, there are times when it is good to be home. Right now is one of them. Having travelled across three Australian states over the last three days (at the time of writing) and with two packed trips coming up in the next month, it is nice to be home. Even if only for a couple of nights.

The immediate relaxation I felt when I walked through my door got me thinking, what are my favourite things to do in Sydney? There’s no doubt about it, I love to travel. But I really do appreciate this beautiful city I live in, so thought I might dedicate a couple of posts to the place I call home.

Sydney Sydney2

This is the view from my apartment, which may give you a small hint as to why it is so nice to be home.

One of my favourite things about Sydney is its proximity to the beach, especially with the number of coastal walks available. The Bondi to Bronte walk (or even further through to Coogee if you prefer) is one of the most popular.

I don’t do the walk as often as I would like, but make a point to do it whenever I can. I’d highly recommend it to Sydney locals and visitors alike. Here’s why:

Bondi1

Bondi6 Bondi5

Bondi2That’s right, the view is pretty spectacular. The walk from Bondi to Bronte is 4 km one way, or 8 km return. On a hot day pack plenty of water and always wear sunscreen – you’ll need it. 

So next time you’re in Sydney, pack some exercise gear and make the trip out to the beach to enjoy the walk. More information about the walk, including how to get there, can be found here.

The Healthy Globetrotter

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Running the World: Singapore Style

Staying fit and healthy while travelling isn’t always the easiest task. You’re away from regular routine, around delicious food and if you’re anything like me, switch to a holiday mindset as well. It’s pretty much a recipe for some weight gain (and an amazing time) unless you’re determined to avoid it. While I’m all for the amazing time, I am preferable to avoiding any excess “baggage” on the way home!

As I’ve previously posted, I love to run in new destinations to get the lay of the land and stay healthy while travelling. As an added bonus, with the help of a pocket camera or phone (I normally use an iPhone) you can capture the sights too. Often you’ll be able to see things you’d never have had the opportunity to if not for your run. Just another reason to pack your exercise gear and get moving.

So, without further ado, here’s the latest edition of Running the World. This time, it’s Singapore Style:

Merlion – Iconic Singapore. Taken while running across the esplanade

Singapore Skyline – the big white building is the Fullerton Hotel where I stayed

A word to those keen to join my Running the World fun – Singapore can get pretty warm, I’d definitely recommend taking some water with you for the journey.

Further, make sure you know your destination and assess whether it is safe to head out for a run at the time you plan (and if you’re new to exercise, take advice from a doctor before starting!)

Marina Bay Sands

I followed a path provided to me by my hotel, ending around Marina Bay Sands. As an aside, the shopping here is pretty great. It also has a “canal” at the bottom of the centre and little Venice-style gondolas you can ride on if you feeling up to an ultra-touristy experience.

Coming across the other side of the esplanade, this was taken just near my hotel towards the end of my run

Now you might be thinking what sort of run can I be having if I keep stopping to take photos?! Excellent point. However, a good way to still get a great workout in is by doing interval training. Running as hard as you can for a burst and then slowing down to a jog, taking a picture and then repeating the process!

Having a little fun outside the Asian Civilisations Museum, pretty much where I finished up my run!

Here I am at the end of my run, having a little fun at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

My advice? Exercise doesn’t have to be a boring part of your travels. It can totally add to your experience and is one of my favourite things to do upon arriving at a new destination.

So, where are your travels taking you next? Are you game to join Running the World?

The Healthy Globetrotter

Cycling the world: Vietnam

I recently posted Running the World, explaining why I always pack my exercise gear, even on short trips. Here’s another reason: cycling.

Now, before I go any further, I am not a cyclist. I’m shamefully scared of cycling on main roads (why do buses and bikes have to share the same lanes here?!) and don’t own a bike in Sydney. That said, there are some great riding trips you can do around the world. I’m all for them when they occur in the countryside!

I travelled to Vietnam with Intrepid Travel. While I love travelling independently, their small group adventures can be very enjoyable, especially if you want to see a reasonable area in a short space of time. As part of my trip, there were several optional activities including bike rides. Without these rides, I wouldn’t have been able to see half as much of the country side in the same amount of time. Definitely worth the work out!

Incense!

Now, to be honest, taking photos while bike riding isn’t exactly easy. Further, as I was riding as part of a group, I didn’t have the freedom to stop the way I could choose to if I was running by myself. However, it does allow for some accidentally artistic captures!

Totally accidental but I love this shot! 🙂

I loved the scenery riding around different areas of Vietnam. It was truly beautiful. I especially loved taking photos of the workers in the rice paddy fields!

I also loved riding alongside a number of the locals. The people in Vietnam were beautiful, particularly so out in the country – away from the hustle and bustle of the city markets where I did find there was some pressure to buy, buy, buy! That said, I can’t exactly complain – I loved the shopping, particularly getting clothes tailored in Hoi An.

Often we were lucky enough to be out riding when many children were on there way to school. The kids were lovely, sometime oblivious to us, sometimes engaging. Either way, I found it fascinating.

School kids

I loved Vietnam and can’t wait to get back there. There is so much more to see and I’m excited to share more about my adventures there soon!

In the meantime, have you cycled anywhere around the world?

The Healthy Globetrotter

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Singapore Zoo

So as you’ve probably realised by now, I’m in Singapore. For me, the best thing about visiting a city more than once is discovering new things. The second has got to be the memories!

My current visit has reminded me just how much I loved visiting the zoo last time I was here!

For those that know me personally, this is probably not much of a surprise. I love the zoo and animals. How can you not? This is the very definition of adorable:

Baby!

Assuming you avoid all the ice-creams and chips that are usually on offer, the zoo (any zoo! In this case, Singapore Zoo) can be a really healthy day out. If you have the desire to see the animals (and the zoo is big enough) you can definitely get in a solid day of walking, all while enjoying the animals! With 2800 animals over 26 hectares, Singapore Zoo definitely meets my criteria. Win.

One of my favourites at Singapore Zoo were the rhinos. This one was beautiful. I loved that he had a little birdy playing on his back… that was until I realised that the little birdy was in fact picking at the poor Rhino’s skin.

Rhino! You might notice the “third love photography” – don’t worry, I’m not stealing photos, these photos have just come straight from my tumblr!

I know, I know, there are better ways to see animals. In the wild. On safari. But as I recently learnt during a Roar and Snore sleepover at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo (post coming soon!) the conditions animals are kept in at zoos worldwide have improved rapidly over the years. Further, many zoos (including Singapore) participate in critical conservation and breeding programs to help save endangered animals from extinction. In my view, that’s a worthy cause. Let’s face it, until such time as I make it to Africa (fingers crossed for 2013!) the zoo will have to do.

African Crowned Crane

Out of all the zoos I’ve visited in the world (and trust me, there has been more than a few) Singapore Zoo sits high on my list as one of the better zoos out there. In my view, it is pretty special.

Clearly designed to allow you to get up and close with the animals, that’s exactly what I did:

Zebra!

Hello little fella!

Pensive

Next time you’re in Singapore, I would definitely recommend the zoo! Though don’t forget to skip the unhealthy snacks that can come with a day out and focus on enjoying the fresh air and walks instead!

Do you have a favourite zoo?

The Healthy Globetrotter

Running the world

Ask anyone who knows me personally and they’ll tell you, I’m not the best runner. However, that doesn’t stop me from trying. It’s one of the easiest ways to exercise on the road, you don’t need equipment and best of all? It’s free.

Right now, I’m in Singapore. I’m only here for a short time – 5 days – but I’ve packed my running gear. Here’s why: You never know what you might see.

To prove this, I wanted to share some of the photos I’ve taken running during my most recent world travels. All of the photos in this post were shot with my iPhone4, taken with me when I run.

Starting with a run in Lund, Sweden. After a gorgeous afternoon visiting friends, I went for a run before settling in for the evening. If not for that decision, I would never have seen this view.

Just another reason why no-one regrets exercise:

Taken on a run in Lund, Sweden

Visiting family in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, I went for a run just prior to a storm and ended up with taking some shots along the way. Here are two of my favourites:

When sailing in the Ionian Islands in Greece, I woke up earlier than most of my travelling companions and would head out for a run to see the port first thing and get my bearings:

I also hit the footpath when in Oxford, United Kingdom:

Even when I’m at home, I’m surprised by the beauty that constantly surrounds us. I might be biased, but you just have to look for it. Can you really argue with me?

Rushcutter’s Bay, SydneyBondi Beach, Sydney

Ok, so it probably helps that my exercise in Sydney always occurs around sunrise. That said, it remains gorgeous in the afternoons:

Hyde Park, Sydney

I can’t wait to head out for a run and see what I might find in Singapore. Stay tuned!

What is the best thing you’ve seen when out exercising?

The Healthy Globetrotter

Mallorca

I went to Mallorca for one reason and one reason only. I was desperate for warmth. Having spent two lovely months in Sweden, late September seemed a little too early for winter to set in so my friend Sara and I decided to take advantage of a last-minute and unforeseen break in our class schedules.

We didn’t spend long planning our trip. Destinations were based on budget and Mallorca seemed as good a place as any to stop between Berlin, Germany and Porto, Portugal. We weren’t disappointed.

It was 28 degrees (celsius) on arrival. I would post a picture of the temperature sign in the capital, Palma, but I was so excited by the weather that I shook my camera and the photo turned out all blurry.  It may have been overcast but it certainly was warm. And it was amazing.

Sunset!

Most people know Mallorca as a party island. I came to know it as a relatively quiet little place (at least it was when I was there) with beautiful sunsets, gorgeous laneways and one very scary train ride that turned out fantastically well.

Palma as a city is reasonably small. There is some lovely architecture (including the Royal Palace of La Almudaina and Santa Eulalia church) and it is a beautiful city to explore on foot.

Royal Palace of La Almudaina

Santa Eulalia church

While Mallorca may have been the first (and hopefully only!) place I’ve ever been conned (a story for another daywe came across lovely people everywhere we went. I highly recommend getting out and about away from the beach and seeing some of the beautiful streets this place has to offer:

After a day or two exploring the city, we heard about a fabulous train ride we could take to Soller in the North West. Not knowing what to expect, we booked our tickets (setting us back around 20 Euro) and went to take our seats on the train…. except there weren’t any. Nor was there any real standing room, or at least not any standing room that would be pleasant for an hour’s journey.

Beginning to worry, we went out the carriage door in an attempt to move between the carriages. Seeing the next carriage was just as full, we stayed put. Sort of stuck in the small gated area between the carriages. Most definitely outside the train. This was our view:

Pretty cramped down here!!

The train goes through 13 tunnels which are pitch black. Needless to say, it started out a little scary. But here’s the thing: Once we got used to it, we realised how lucky we were. Short of getting to the station in Palma very early in the morning and securing a window seat, this was a great way to travel. Unlike those squished inside the carriages, we got to see the views of the Tramuntana mountains and once we got over the fear, had an excellent time doing it as well.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Soller is a gorgeous port that makes for an excellent day trip.

However, if i were to do it again, there are perhaps a few things that I’d do differently. Want to make the journey from Palma to Soller? Here are my tips to make your journey a little easier:

1. Get to the train station early. The queue for tickets is long and just when you think you’re all sorted there’s the fight for seats on the train. If you’re at the front of the queue, there’s no issue. Judging from my experience I’d expect you need to be there at least an hour or two in advance. However, if you do manage to get a seat, be prepared for the dilemma of seeing those in need without a seat.  I don’t envy that position.

2. Failing your early arrival, get used to the idea of sitting (if you’re small) or standing outside. Once you get over the fear, it is well worth it for the space and the view.

3. Check the return timetable. There are plenty of trains from Palma to Soller. However, there are very few on the way back (from memory around 2:30 and 6pm in the afternoon). We got stuck on a bank holiday and ended up waiting 4 hours for a bus in the middle of nowhere. Learn from my mistake.

Mallorca is lovely destination particularly for those wanting to escape the winter blues! Definitely experience Palma and Soller on foot and once you’ve exhausted yourself, don’t forget to head to the beach for a bit of rest and relaxation!

Have you caught the train from Palma to Soller? What was your experience?

The Healthy Globetrotter

Why it pays to have smart friends…

As it happens, I have some pretty clever friends. Quite fortunately, two of them were accepted into Oxford University in the same year. This was perfect as it meant I could visit Oxford and get an insider’s tour of the University at the same time.

Life has turned out pretty well since then. Because of this, I thought it was fitting to dedicate a post to what is a remarkably beautiful city – I loved it there.

The Radcliff Camera and All Souls

Can you see why? It is so beautiful. Ok, it probably helps that I had absolutely stunning weather when I visited and two behind-the-scenes tour guides. But even without these things it is worthy of such a description. If my photos don’t do it justice, trust me, it is gorgeous.

The photo above shows the Radcliff Camera and All Souls College (to the right). This was my view when eating breakfast on day one. Amazing.

Shortly after our breakfast we headed to St Mary’s to climb up the church tower (a bargain at only 3 pound each for entry). Well worth it for the view:

Yup, pretty spectacular from up here.

Absolutely gorgeous day!

There was a bit of climb to get up there, so it is fair to say we worked for the view, but it was totally worth these stairs:

Working for the view!

By the time I arrived in Oxford I’d actually been in transit (through Hong Kong) for a couple of days without any real sleep. This didn’t improve over the next few days, so I decided to go for a little bit of a run each morning before my friends woke up. I say “a little bit of a run” because it was kind of ridiculous… I had to stop approximately every one hundred metres or so to take a photo:

You can see why I got distracted. In fact, it was like this everywhere I went. The colleges are amazing, and to think that some of my friends were lucky enough to live in these types of places!

Maybe it was the time of the year and the flowers, but my absolute favourite was Magdalen College.

And let’s not forget Christ Church, as featured in none other than Harry Potter (yes, I’m a fan):

The gardens around all of the colleges are absolutely beautiful (so there’s no excuse not to go out and do some exercise)! The photo below was snapped by my friend and Oxford graduate, Louisa (thanks Lou!) and taken of my friend Anurag and I (another Oxford graduate who also put me up for the duration of my stay – thank you!). A different perspective on things but I love this shot:

For a little light exercise, I recommend punting. You can rent a punt for around 10 pound an hour (another bargain, particularly if you go in a group). For the uninitiated, (I certainly was when I arrived) a punt is a long narrow boat that you effectively push along with a big long pole (perhaps there is a technical term for this?!). I would show you a photo of me attempting to punt, but then I’d never be able to show my face again. So instead, you can see the boats/punts:

Punting is very fun, however if you get the chance I recommend going with some experts like I did!  We had five of us in a punt and it was well-balanced the whole way.

Oxford is a wonderful little city that I enjoyed so much. A big shout out in thank you to all the friends – both new and old (and a very special someone) – who I was fortunate enough to meet along the way and share this experience with.

I wholeheartedly recommend a visit for a couple of days and do remember to get out to enjoy the parks and the water as well as all of the colleges and food!

The Healthy Globetrotter