Arrival in Milan

Ok so a slight Delay on the Blog, I have been a little run down with all the planning and activities.

So today I got up at 4 am to pack the remainder of my things. Which basically means that I did all my packing a few hours before I set off! True to me it as always has been left to the last minute.  I was debating on whether to ring a taxi or to get the tram and train. To try and keep an eye on funds.

All in all, when push came to shove the Taxi cut out all off the swapping and changing. So, this is what I opted for.

The taxi came and I shut my case. All this time thinking to myself I cannot believe I am off again. It was only one month ago, I was flying to Hong- Kong for a long weekend. Its surreal over the last year after my Nephews passing at how dramatically my life has changed.

The traffic on the way to the airport was horrendous.  At the airport, I was due to leave at about 11 am after a frustrating delay, as the flight was overbooked. I was on my way. In the line, I reflected about how apprehensive I used to get just to go out of the house alone. Battling with my demons in order to get to the shops. It’s become the norm to just jump on a plane to a foreign land. Almost like just jumping on a bus.

After landing I collected my luggage and jumped onto a coach to Milan central.  The sun was beaming lifting my spirits.  It was now about 2 pm.  I made a quick phone call to Audrey to thank her for all her support and belief in me. This made the journey pass relatively quick.

Now the fun was to begin after alighting the coach, it was now my job to locate the hotel. In which I had booked last minute the day prior.  What struck me when roaming around was the spectacular architecture of every building, nothing like back home. I jumped on the Metro and purchased a 2 day city pass for €8.00. I boarded the yellow line and hopped of at Sondrio.  I tried following google maps to locate the apartments, going from one street to the next. Eventually reaching the destination, I made the call. The lady however said the reception was outside the station in which I had just arrived. 20 minutes’ walk away. Whattttt ??? I trundled back collected the keys and was on my way to the apartment.

It was around 6 pm I needed food. What better place to eat than Italy. I threw caution to the wind and headed back 3 stations to central station. I located a Pizzeria and ordered what I thought would be a delicious pizza. It was in fact quite the opposite. It tasted fishy!  With my tummy rumbling I was going to head to the apartment.  Most of Milan however stopped about 10 or 11pm. I decided I
would head to Duomo to try and locate the cathedral ahead of tomorrow.

I jumped of the metro at Duomo expecting a long walk ahead of me.  I shortly realised however coming up the subway steps. That the majestic building was just as you arrived.  I was in awe.  I took in the building for all it was. Catching a glimpse of the shopping district. At this time, it was relatively quiet.  Upon roaming around the galleria I noticed there was a  Léonard de Vinci exhibit. For € 12.00 I thought I would give it a shot.  The level of history and culture was amazing. It made me happy I decided to go for a random jaunt around town.

Just before heading back to the apartment, walking back throw the gallaria. I heard a familiar song. Mamma Mia!!!!  It was a lady dressed all in red busking . with a scooter (like for old people) lit up with lights the sound resonated off all the building and the atmosphere was something really special.   As with every area of the world. It had its local drunks who all sat round enjoying the ambiance. Each of which would get up and dance now and again.

I took one last look around before jumping back on the metro. Watching the palaver was a group of the hunkiest policia personnel you have ever seen : ) what a way to end the evening.  Sweet Dreams !

 

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Hong-Kong The Rush.

I started the Journey from Manchester – Dubai in which being true to myself I lost my wallet in Dubai airport. Getting in some last-minute training trying to locate this lost wallet, running from one side of the airport to the other.  I am Dreading getting my phone bill due to the amount of time spent on the phone from Dubai to China trying to resolve the fact I had no cards to check in.

With 15 minutes until my connection, my wallet was luckily handed in. Maybe my luck was in?   After my friend, Debbie unfortunately had to cancel.  I was even more apprehensive about this trip than I should have been.  I landed around 3 in the afternoon.

The efficiency in which they process you at Hong-Kong airport is amazing.  Like cattle to slaughter  I tried to figure out how to get to my hotel. I jumped on the airport express to Kowloon northern Hong Kong.  I was again amazed at the simplicity of the service.  After jumping on a free shuttle bus K3* I headed to the hotel the Grand Hyatt. When driving through the city on thing that looked familiar (reminiscing to Beijing) was the haze of smog.

Whilst on the move to the hotel, I thought I would double check my pick-up time for my race Kit on my correspondence. Amongst the info, I spotted a time of 16:00 – 17:00. Surely this was for Saturday? My heart skipped a beat. It was in fact today, WHHHHHAAAATTT??  I had 45 minutes to check into the Hotel, then navigate Hong-Kong like it was my home town. Impossible!

After I finished the check in I ran back down to reception and asked where the pickup point for my kit, that was noted on my letter. I said “how far away is this? “The reply “about 15 -20 minutes”. I was being tested.   Dashing outside, fitting in some last-minute training.  I began navigating the streets of Hong Kong. At every turn being asked if I wanted a Rolex, a suit or something Special.  Somewhere on my map looked familiar Nathan Rd. Hang on! this was the opposite end of where I needed to be. I ran and ran. A fellow runner too k pity on me and directed me to the sports center.  Arriving at 16.57 I had just made it. Flashing my passport and official letter, as if I was at immigration.

The official said you look Hot, at first I was like. THANKS! Then realized he meant hot and sweaty.  Advising I had just landed, he responded by advising I could have just collected my goodies tomorrow.  I pointed to my letter and he advised it was to avoid a rush.

Heading back to the hotel with my bright pink bag, peeling my sweaty T-shirt from my back. It sunk in I was her20170210_093447e alone and doing it. Little old me.  No going back.

As it was getting late I donned on some shorts and t-shirt and meandered down to the harbor. I had heard about the miraculous Light show. On the way down the residents dressed in scarfs and duffel coats, all took side glances.  I was roasting them however, the opposite.   After waiting for the count down for about an hour. I can only say I was disappointed to say the least.

I headed back to the hotel once again, I needed to sleep. There streets where blocked and sirens raging. I thought it must always be this busy. The streets had traffic cops stood directing traffic, Like in the films!

Avoiding the suit and Rolex sellers. I had made it back, totally oblivious what had what was going on , To be Cont  ……………………… The Harbor

The Final Count Down

Ok so I am sat here sh***ing myself before I fly out to Hong-Kong lately.  My motivation hit rock bottom.  I have been getting out as much as I can.  Trying to overcome my runners Knee and Shin splints.  Then working every hour god sends to help fund the next year’s adventure.

It is taking every ounce of what I have got. I knew it would be tough emotionally, financially and Physically. But by god is it becoming real. I think back to last year when I thought what I was planning was impossible. I proved myself wrong and learned everything is impossible until it is done. I have picked up my travel monies and been liaising with a friend Debbie from San- Diego, who I met out in Petra.  I will be joining her in Hong-Kong and conquering the Marathon.

All be it not in the time I want, however this year I shall be grabbing every opportunity to learn and reach PBs. As shortly after I get back from China, I will be jumping on a plane to meet Marco from Milan (who I also met out in Petra) to complete the Jerusalem Marathon. Another opportunity to learn from the best. 🙂

To say I am scared is an understatement, filled with doubt maybe!  Knowing what I achieved last year and how familiar these feelings feel. Makes me think it is only natural. I do not ever think I will feel ready. Do any of you? I am excited to see what this year brings.  From the lifelong friends I will meet and the experiences I will share with them. Hopefully you will to. Only if my travel insurance gets me back in one piece ha-ha.

I will be putting myself out of my comfort zone in many ways. In the hope, I can raise all I can for the fantastic Charity Claire’s House Children’s Hospice.  Furthermore, keeping Oliver’s memory alive.  Running from one corner of the globe to the next. going from month to month, Challenge to challenge.  Experiencing every emotion life is going to throw at me.   I welcome any advice, as again I am relatively new to all this.   Following your blogs for advice also. There is so much inspiration in each and every one of you.