By Marina Aagaard, MFT
If you can dream it, you can do it, says my husband, and no point in aiming too low either, he adds! As it is, he has overcome many seemingly impossible tasks just by believing it could be done, so he should know, what he is talking about.
So be it: To me travels great and small embody fitness and wellness and if they can be plentified just by dreaming, then here it goes.
Having travelled to 50 countries and states for business and pleasure, but many, many times to the same countries, as “too much of a good thing can be good” (Mae West), I have to move on and see some more (new) world and wellness.
So, on my new upgraded travel bucket list there are now places, which I have not seriously considered before, as they are kind of far away in more ways than one.
If I could just pick and choose? What would you pick? Think about it for a moment, it is quite hard: Where to, if you could go, wherever you wanted?
There are so many exciting places, it is almost impossible to choose. But in my fitness and business practice, I have found, that the moment you verbalize your visions and write them down, they are a whole lot closer to being realized … so with a friendly push from my hubby; here I go, practising what I preach, only now in the leisure time department!
From a handful, Top 5, of destinations-I-would-really-really-like-visit, a town on the other side of the globe, a town voted one of the ‘Best Places to Travel in 2014’ by Travel + Leisure, comes to mind:
Cape Town (Kaapstad in Afrikaans)
Where to stay?
If money was not an issue, I would probably stay at:
Cape Grace Hotel, because it has a fitness centre, free wi-fi, is excellently located at the waterfront and looks very cozy … or maybe the Blackheath Lodge, a minute friendly looking place … or somewhere else? There is a plethora of hotels in Cape Town.
Where to eat?
I will check Gogobot; take a look at the recommendations given by foodie tribe travellers. I might try e.g.:
Codfather Seafood & Sushi, because I like both.
Sevruga, because the restaurant looks interesting and seafood sounds good.
Reuben’s and Belthazar Restaurant & Wine Bar have had top reviews, too, so if there is ‘time’, I will try to dine and wine there (South Africa has some really nice wines). Apparently the Cape Grace hotel has a good restaurant, Signal, with tasting menus (that is a like from me), so that could be an experience.
If meal money then runs out, I don’t mind surviving on yoghurt and fruit from a foodmart …
when necessary, I don’t mind a mix of luxury and budget travelling.
What to do?
Insider suggestions are welcome, please. In the meantime, without knowing much about Cape Town, I have a notion, this is to be seen?
- Cape Point: Watch the oceans meet, a natural wonder of the world (thanks to D’Marls Coffman, Gogobot Pro, for reminding me, a sea-lover, of the obvious).
- Table Mountain ‘hike’ in TableMountainNational Park (try the Table Mountain Cableway).
- Robben Island, formerly prison of Nelson Mandela, now a World Heritage Site …
if I can get a ferry ticket (they are apparently sold out days in advance).
- Cape of Good Hope, former Dutch East India company stronghold, for history.
- Bo-Kaap house-design-watching, a natural for an art-and-design-buff.
And of course: Watch whales (prime time July to November), humpbacks, orcas, southern rights and Bryde’s whales, from the shore or a boat; I learned, that South Africa is the fifth fastest growing whale-watching destination in the world. The Whale Route starts along the south of Cape Town (and extends over 1200 miles to Durban).
This is it. I have now made a dream plan.
Only question: Does this dream travel strategy work … and if yes, when will it come true?
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/coda/377949/”>coda</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/andreinafrica/3445364196/”>andre.vanrooyen</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/coda/3047819218/”>coda</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mallix/2816685909/”>mallix</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
By Marina Aagaard, MFE
On a very recent four-day trip to Riga, the capital and largest city of Latvia (696,600 inhabitants), a birthday present from my husband, I kept fit mainly by walking the streets for hours and hours; when you are interested in architecture and design, there is a lot to see in Riga, the European Capital of Culture, 2014:
Interesting buildings, museums and structures (photo: Vansu Bridge) of many time periods including incredible art noveau buildings and wooden houses.
Save some cab money; a (brisk) walk is great for the heart and weight maintenance.
The art nouveau area is the largest in Europa, maybe the World, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is definately worth seeing: It is like being in another time.
The wooden houses found in several areas of the city, some seemingly disintegrating and others recently restored, are also unique and recognized by UNESCO.
Hairdressing and beauty salon in Riga …
And some more modern houses with roofs a little less ordinary ………………….
Riga is not only for art and architecture lovers. It is also for party people (and some say for people looking for a date) with lots of clubs, bars and restaurants.
I can vouch for the restaurants: Everywhere I had a meal, the food was good, and especially so at the Biblioteka No1 (French/European) and Monterosso (Italian).
Good food and a comfy bed aka wellness.
What more do you need?
The comfy bed was at a modern and reasonably priced hotel some 5 km away from the city centre; Name came as no surprise: Elefant hotel!
Eat. Work. Eat. Work out. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
And some travelling seeing sights, that’s neat …
Marina Aagaard, MFE
Get fit and healthy in no time; work out smarter, not harder. Whether you are staying at home or travelling, you can get a super workout with bodyweight, beams, bars or furniture or fitness equipment. The most timeefficient way of getting an all-round resistance and cardio workout is:
- Circuit training (complex or simple, but always fast and fun).
Circuit training can be either 1) pure cardio, 2) pure resistance or 3) a mix. The latter is the preferred method in fitness; after each cardio exercise, there is a resistance exercise.
Station/exercise time: Norm: 30 seconds or 1 minute (or 10-16 repetitions).
Total number of exercises: Typically 8-12 (range e.g. 4-20).
Total number of rounds: 1-5. After one round; repeat circuit 1-4 times.
In circuit training, as opposed to interval training, you do not pause: Keep moving; this provides additional cardiovascular work. When you finish one exercise, you hurry to the next station/exercise. Perform 1-4 rounds. Do not plan to have 10-15 seconds for changing stations, change as fast as possible.
7 minute HICT bodyweight circuit
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and high intensity with good form (HICT article with exercise photos):
1. Jumping Jack
2. Wall sit (wall squat)
4. Abdominal crunch
5. Step-up, e.g. onto chair
7. Triceps dips on chair
9. High kneelifts,
11. Push-up with torso rotation
12. Side plank
5 minute basic strength machine circuit (ex warm-up)
Perform 10-12 repetitions of each exercise and immediately proceed to the next station/exercise. Perform 1-3 rounds. (fitness circuit clip)
- Leg press or squat
- Chest press or bench press
- Rowing, horizontal
- Shoulder press
- Lat pulldown, vertical
- Back extension
- Ab curl
Have a go. It is nice for variation and intensity, isn’t it?
By Marina Aagaard, MFE
Nice. Back in Bergen for a weekend; a work weekend that is, if you can call group exercise instructor instruction work?
Sailing into Bergen harbour, excitement is building; interesting views of mixed old and new buildings and ships complete with a mountainous backdrop.
Bergen, the city of the seven mountains, is the second-largest city in Norway, an international aquaculture, subsea tech, shipping and petroleum industry centre and the street-art capital of the country. The city has a population of approx. 270,100; a population, that looks outgoing, easygoing, arty and fit.
Bergen is flooded, not only by rain – it rains during 235 out of 365 days the year, e.g. around New Year 2007 Bergen received 85 consecutive days of rain (!) – but also by tourists from all over the world.
This is only natural: It really is an exciting city, not only Bryggen, the Hanseatic Warf, a UNESCO World Heritage site, but the rest of the city, too, is well worth a visit; the port (Norway’s busiest), the old parts of the city and the mountains, too.
A fraction of the photogenic Bryggen, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bergen photos usually means Bryggen photos. For balance here is the ‘B-side’,
the other side: Your harbour view, when you stand on the Bryggen side.
Bergen boasts buildings of more modern achitecture, too.
Healthy fast food dinner at one of the numerous stalls at the popular Fish Market.
From the city centre you can go to the top of Fløyen (425 m) with a funicular and a little farther away you can take the aerial tramway to Ulriken (643 m). On the top there are several hiking routes, from easy to challenging.
The view, the mountains, sea and city, is impressive when the weather is bright, so say a prayer. Rain is one thing, but fog frequently spoils the fun.
A fierce and foggy Ulriken path; hard to find and not made to please tourists;
pay attention or get lost.
Summer in Bergen. 50 shades of grey (at least)
You a tourist? Bring a dictionary.
For starters: Fare means Danger!
Hungry? That’s just too bad. If you want to dine at the Ulriken restaurant, sky:skraperen, you have to book a day in advance. In spite of their poster at street level saying you can have something to eat, even if you have not booked, they won’t even serve coffee, beverages or snacks, when you get to the top/restaurant … how about that?
Stay ‘low’ for dinner. If you have money (lots of money) to spare, you can dine in one of the many nice restaurants.
I can say only one bad thing about Bergen, but it is bad; (Norwegian) prices are horrendous, and this is coming from a native of a country, where the prices are horrendous, too: Bergen price: A salat NOK 160-170 (USD 30).
Maybe the solution:
McDonald’s restaurant design Scandinavian style (anno 1710).
Pavement art about the power of thought, more powerful than medicine:
If you think you are well, you will be.
To your health.
By Marina Aagaard, MFE
Hi-ho hi-ho it’s off to work I go: Thanks to an invitation from colleagues in Bergen, Hordaland county, last weekend I was sailing from Hirtshals, Denmark, to Bergen via Stavanger, Norway, to present group exercise workshops. A 16-hour ferry trip, from mid-evening to midday next day … with a nice surprise.
In Denmark going on a ferry trip is no big deal; Denmark consists of Jutland, a peninsula ‘on top’ of Germany, and 1,419 islands above 100 square metres; 443 named islands, 73 of which are inhabited (Zealand and Funen are the largest). So most Danes have spent (a lot of) time on ferries – also on trips to our neighbours Norway and Sweden.
Scandinavian ferries are okay, fine, functional and ‘mature’. This time, however, the ferry was a bit different. The ferry carrying me to Norway was MS Stavangerfjord (fanfare):
MS Stavangerfjord (photo: Esben Gees for Fjordline) is the world’s first and largest cruise-ferry powered fully by environmentally-friendly Liquified Natural Gas, “a giant leap towards cleaner shipping” – and a giant leap towards travelling with a clean(er) conscience!
At 170 m, 557 foot, in length, 25.000 tonnes, with room for 1500 passengers and 600 cars, MS Stavangerfjord is not your everyday ferry, it is big, brand new and with a touch of true cruise luxury.
Travelling to work suddenly became a Nordic mini-cruise.
Brass, wood and lush carpets; the ‘smell’ of ships and cruising.
A sneak peek into the gourmet restaurant … on the way to the buffet restaurant.
Buffet restaurant and …
… buffet cutlery a little less ordinary:
Lobster cracker and lobster fork!
Lounge is ready to party, but the night – and guests – is still young.
The truth about Nordic cruises; often grey and foggy (cool!) …
… and rainy too (not a problem, when you like rain, though).
Being at sea is a bliss. This is wellness, come rain or come shine.
P.s.: It is quite possible, though, to get (very) seasick on a Nordic cruise,
as the going often gets tough in the North Sea, but this time the waves were friendly.
By Marina Aagaard, MFE
Some would say sad, some would say super: Taking a day trip just to go to ones own hometown to see a ship.
Maybe it is the way it has to be, when you live by/in the second-largest city of one of the smaller countries of the world; Aarhus (population ~320,000), Denmark.
You have to make every little (odd) thing into an event or destination.
Fitness-wise it is a smart move, though, to move about at every chance!
Yesterday, the world’s biggest container ship, Maersk McKinney Moller, 400 metres long, 55,000 tonnes and a cost of 185 mio. USD, visited the port of Aarhus for the first time.
All day there were a ‘beach bar’ (event restaurant), boat tours around the massive ship and container displays at the city centre next to the port.
A ‘dusky’ yesteryear-smartphone photo of the theatre and cathedral square ‘contained’.
In the evening hundreds (thousands?) of people gathered all over the port and surrounding areas to watch the giant sail on … with drinks, snacks, ice creams and cameras at hand. This is how we party, have a good Time Out in Aarhus (read; events and sights are everywhere)!
Exit: A ship sailing out. Enter: Dreams of travelling to far corners of the world.
Are we, inhabitants of the tiny country of Denmark, home of Moeller-Maersk the World’s Largest Container Ship Company, just in desperate need of sights to see?
Or do you also enjoy watching/going to/being at ports, ships and the sea?