take: Versailles

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When you look at these photos from our day at Chateau of Versailles you are going to think “what a beautiful perfect day” but the reality is very different. The day we headed out to Versailles ended up being one of the hottest days of our vacation. As we walked up we noticed people, hundreds of people, but since we had already taken the time to ride the train out we got in line to buy our tickets. The first line wasn’t bad, but once we got in the line to get in the Palace we winded around and around for two hours. Once we got inside the crowds didn’t subside and the French Kings’ decisions to put marble on marble on marble wasn’t the most impressive. After wandering along the hallways of the palace we got some French sustenance in the royal cafeteria and headed out in to the gardens.

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The gardens made the trip worth the crowds. Only a few of the fountains were running due to a water shortage. However when the few fountains did turn on they were magnificent.

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We didn’t have enough time (or energy) to walk all of the gardens or even most of the gardens, but we did see some beautiful things.

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make: key lime pie

I had some friends over for book club last week and one of my friends brought me a bag of fruit. Some pears and peaches and apricots, which were delicious. And then a bag of key limes. I’ve never bought key limes and wasn’t sure what to do with them other than make key lime pie. I did some internet research and found that all the recipes with key limes were a variation of pie. Little pies, pies in cupcake cups, pie pops… So I decided to just go with pie, full sized pie. 

 It took most of the limes I had (about 20) to squeeze a half cup of juice. Then it was pretty quick to whip the cream cheese, egg yolk, and sweetened condensed milk together. I bought a graham cracker crust so I wouldn’t have left over graham crackers that I would never use.  

 I made it after work so after baking for 18 minutes I only had a few hours to refrigerate before giving in and trying. I still thought it was delicious, but Brian has reported it is even better after a day of refrigerating. 

  
 

take: Paris, Eiffel Tower

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We took a morning flight to Paris from Copenhagen. Dropped our bags at the hotel and went to the nearby Luxembourg gardens to walk around a bit. Since we skipped lunch, we did a Parisian  local no no and went for dinner around 6pm. We were hungry and were talked in to going in a very Parisian restaurant. It was a great choice as we got olives and bread and wine and steak and fries and it was delicious.  Since it was still so early we walked to the Eiffel Tower to see it lit up at night. We got there a few minutes before the 9pm light show and enjoyed the sights as it started raining.

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As with any 986 foot tower we saw it from all over and we took pictures of it from all over. And headed back a few days later to go to the top.

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We read all kinds of reviews and opinions on going to the top, that it was crowded and overhyped. I have to disagree, but to reduce the line waiting time we decided to take the stairs up the first two sections. The line to take the stairs only took us around a half hour and the stairs were not crowded at all. Its something like 670 stairs to the second level. We took a break on the first level for photos and catching our breath and then headed on up to the second level. There is another line to take the elevator to the top, but from this line you have views of Paris so the time flew by. The first and second levels were honestly more fun. Once you got to the top it was really crowded and they kept reminding us there were pick pocketers all around.

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The views however were amazing… Nothing like going up a tall building/tower.

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A surprise to us was a snack stand on the first level. We each got a cold beer, split a granola bar and enjoyed the view from the swinging chairs. Just chilling on the Eiffel Tower was a fun way to relax after two lines and 700 stairs (which didn’t hurt at the time, but we definitely felt them in our legs the next day).

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gait: racing again

Since the Cherry Blossom 10 miler that ended up being a 9.5ish miler back in April I haven’t raced! The training for the Rock ‘n Roll DC marathon and quick turn around for the Cherry Blossom burned me out on structured training. I’ve been running here and there, but nothing too consistent or long. Earlier this summer I signed up for the Wanderlust 108, which includes a 5K, yoga and meditation. The 5K course is described as “more or less 5K in length” and they “provide a timer at the start and finish line, but you’re the only one who will be keeping track”. Oh and bragging isn’t allowed… only smiles… Needless to say it won’t be the most intense race so I haven’t been motivated to train.

So I decided to register for one of my favorite DC fall races, The Parks 10K. I first ran the race in 2012 in peak running shape but fresh off of rolling my ankle the day before and PR’d in 49:54 (it was my first 10K). I ran it again in 2013 a week before a rescheduled half marathon so I was in good shape but didn’t want to push it and be tired the next week. I finished in 50:55. Last year I was at a wedding race weekend so I couldn’t run.

Running a race I’ve done twice before gives me some motivation to train and try to compete with my times and since I haven’t been racing much this year I haven’t ran around potomac park since my marathon training in February. So the scenery will be fresh too. I also convinced Brian to sign up so he’ll be racing The Parks 10K as his first 10K too.

My training was going well until I got sick this week and took a few days off, but just writing this post has made me motivated to try to finish in 50 minutes.

take: Copenhagen

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gardens at Tivoli

Brian and I just got back from our trip to Copenhagen and Paris. We took a few photos… ok around 1,400 when you add the cell phone photos with the camera. So I decided to share a few favorites over a few posts, starting with Copenhagen and Malmo.

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view from the Round Tower

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Copenhagen from the Round Tower

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castle in Malmo, Sweden

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famous Nyhavn – photo by Brian

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Copenhagen city hall

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following the Queen’s band through town

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another gorgeous steeple

Copenhagen was a mix of castles and canals with American hipster culture. At least the parts we visited. New and old design was all around. Everyone we met spoke impeccable english and there were a few (too many) American style restaurants. The city felt very safe, clean, and accessible.

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the Meatpacking district

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art in Malmo

We visited all three palaces in Copenhagen, did a walking tour, a canal boat tour, climbed the Round Tower and went up in the Taarnet. Spent a day in Malmo, Sweden with its very modern architecture mixed with some old town. The craft brew scene is alive in Denmark and we tried a few. A surprise treat was the pizza. We went to two places, Gorm’s pizza and Neighborhood. They both served a pizza with a thin crispy crust that was almost cracker like. The toppings were fresh and delicious. At Neighborhood the pizza had sliced figs and an olive tapenade that was amazing.

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the Cirkelbroen or circle bridge

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the Rundetaarn or Round Tower