Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Running in the United Kingdom

What a great trip so far! Some lengthy travel log & pictures below! As usual click on the picture for bigger version.

Jason and I left Chicago around 8:15am on Saturday morning after only getting about 3-4 hours of sleep. Yes our flight was at 1:30 and yes we got to the airport at 9:30. BUT we got bulkhead seats for our flight to Boston and what we thought was going to be an exit row for the jump to Manchester.

Our flight to Boston was uneventful with a bit of shut eye. We landed about 30 minutes early which was nice, but of course the gate where the plane was suppose to go was still filled with the plane that hadn't left so we had to sit on the tarmac for about 30 minutes....making us of course right on time. We found a little bar in the Boston airport and had some beers and some REALLY BAD quesadillas. It's like they microwaved the chicken and cheese....and it was just really not good. The beer was good and we had a major game of War....which Leah won...of course. Jason almost made a comback, but my 3 aces were just too strong.

We had roughly 3 hours in the Boston airpot and then it was off to England. We actually had the row behind the exit row which means that the person who had the window seat (me) had no one in front of them, but the person in the middle seat had a normal seat. So poor Jason had his knees against the chair in front of him for the flight. Luckily he was able to pass out for the flight while I was busy noticing that the exit door looked a bit open at the bottom so I didn't sleep and instead was thinking about what I would do if the door flew open and pulled me out of it. How would I enter the water? A pencil jump? Which way would I swim? left? right?

We landed in Manchester and got through the airport around 8am. The first thing we noticed was that everything including escalators and moving walkways are backwards...going up on the left in stead of the right. Jason got to an escalator and just looked at it in utter confusion before making his way to the left to go up. In usual Jason and Leah fashion starting walking around town. We checked out the Northern Quarter where everything was closed, a coffee shop, and then the FREE art museum. It was the coolest museum I have ever been too. A lot of the exhibits were interactive and as you walked around the museum there would be signs on some of the displays that would say, "please touch" or "have a seat". I haven't seen that much in the States and so thought that was really cool. There was also a exhibit by the artist Pae White which was utterly spectacular. It was a huge room basically just filled with color. From the ceiling there were strings hanging with cut out pieces of colorful paper. There were three sets of these mobiles with hundreds of strings in each one. As breezes would blow through the room the mobiles would kind of move around. It's super hard to describe and I couldn't take pictures in that room so if there is ever a Pae White exhibit near you, I would say to check it out!

We continued to walk around town and found a really nice cafe and had some beers and a 4 cheese pizza and wrote some postcards. We continued onto what looked to be the main shopping part of town to look for a travel alarm clock. We found one at a what seemed to be a mix of Target and Ulta, a place called Boots. After this we headed back to the train station to make our way to Lancaster. At this point Leah was very VERY tired. I had been up for about 24 hours with not much sleep going into it. We dragged our way to the train station, immediatly got on a train and I proceeded to immediatly fall asleep. We ended up in Preston about 45 minutes later where we had to transfer to a train that would take us to Lancaster. The train to Lancaster was crowded and so we had to stand in the area between cars which was filled with people and NO air conditioning so it was a bit on the warm side.

At the Lancaster train station we noticed another physicist that was heading to the University so we split a cab with him and heading out of town. The University is about 3 miles away from town and we were dropped off right on the outside of campus and followed signs to the registration, checked in and found our room. We are staying in the dorms on campus (by the way, do all dorms all over the world use the same cleaning supplies? I am telling you our hallway smells exactly the same as my dorm back at Indiana University...very strange) and lucked out with a pretty nice room and a private bathroom which has a shower in it. At this point I didn't want to fall asleep because I wanted my internal clock on England time as quickly as possible. We went back to get our registration packet and after some back and forth to prove that we both in fact should have meals we were all set and headed back to our room. I thought about making one last ditch effort to find a phone and call my parental units....but apparently my head found the pillow instead.

Monday was the first day of the conference and was a fine day. The room where the talks are was a bit on the warm side, but other than that not much else exciting happened. We ended the day with a drink reception and dinner at one of the restaurants on campus. (I have to say we've been really lucky with the food. We get three rather large meals a day which was included in our registration fee). We talked to some kids that are located at CERN in Switzerland and asked how they liked it and what kind of work is going on there. This is the physics lab which will be fully running in 2008....hmm.....right after we get our PhD's. Interesting I tell you, very interesting.

Now onto the running.

England has hills. Chicago does not. This is what I am saying brought our run from 8 miles with 8x100 sprints to 6 miles run/walking with 6x100m sprints. Oh well. We are going to try again tomorrow and here's to hoping that the runs will get easier as the week goes on. We found a bike path that leads from the University to the town of Lancaster. We got a bit lost and didn't quite make it to town but rather ran through some English country side with sheeps baaing, rabbits bouncing and foxes bounding. All in all a good run but I am (of course) dissapointed with pacing and how much effort the run was talking. On the way back to the bike path we noticed a foot path that looks to run along a canal that might lead to town so we'll try that tomorrow. Plus tomorrow I plan on taking my camera so I can have pictures of where we are running.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for more stories as we continue to explore this wonderful northern part of England.


Jason said...

The room where the talks are was a bit on the warm side, but other than that not much else exciting happened

Perhaps you forgot about the talk on Low Energy Dynamics and Scattering Lengths with K which rocked the house!

England has hills. Chicago does not. This is what I am saying brought our run from 8 miles with 8x100 sprints to 6 miles run/walking with 6x100m sprints.

I'm pretty sure the problem was that we were running in English units and the trail was metric.

Running Jayhawk said...

I'm so jealous!!! Love the photos! Love the stories!! Love that the plane door DID NOT rip open and suck you out. That would've been really bad, hon.

I wouldn't worry too much about having to cut back on your run because of the hills. Just enjoy the culture and of course, take lots of pictures for us!! :)

Have fun and be safe you guys!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got there safely and that the door didn't come open even though a swim in the ocean might have been fun.

Bob said...

Have fun you two, there will be plenty of time to run when you get back.

Haight said...

Sounds great...isn't your Garmin Europe friendly?

Joe said...

Good stories. BTW, how's the jetlag?

Firefly's Running said...

I hate jetlag. It take me a day or so to get used to it. When I went to the Dominican Republic over 5 years ago, I ended crashing at 6:30 p.m. - THEIR time (4:30 p.m. - our time) and not waking up until 8:30 the next morning. Yes, I was TIRED...or was it the 180 proof rum I was drinking.


(BTW, LOVE the pics!)

Ryan said...

Glad to hear the trip is going well for you both. Looking forward to hearing about more adventures!