Wellness adventure: Venice, Italy, a sight to see … a.s.a.p.

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Recently I went to Venice for the fourth time (#1 business, #2 romance, #3 holiday, #4 business and pleasure). Even though I have visited more than 400 cities, Venice – without a doubt – is the most amazing and fairytale-like city I have ever seen. I can recommend visiting this special city as soon as possible.

Venedig kanal i Rialto broens skygge foto Marina Aagaard

Why the urgency to visit Venice, a city 1 metre above sea level (!) on 118 tiny islands separated by canals and joined by many, many bridges?
Well; with these conditions it should come as no surprise, that parts of the city are flooded occasionally, so the houses wither, along with their rotting foundations (wooden poles), and slowly sink into the sea.

Venedig forfald foto Marina Aagaard fitness blog

In 1987 Venice was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Venedig San Marco detaljer foto Marina Aagaard

If you go there and you are well off, there are plenty of Palace hotels to stay in, a.o. the Aman hotel, where George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin spent their wedding weekend (I am told …).

Venedig hotel og gondol morgen      Venedig lampe farvet

If you are on a budget, however, there are also plenty of cheap hotels in Mestre, on the mainland next to Venice, and on the road from Venice to the airport.
For campers there are super facilities, e.g. the mega place Union Lido close by Lido di Jesolo or the Jesolo International Club Camping, Europe’s no. 1 camping site for the third year in a row. From Lido di Jesolo you can go by boat to Venice city centre.

Venedig Pierre Cardin butik  Venedig maskeshop aftenVenedig kostume butik    Venedig butik Dali ure

Even if Venice is a rather small city with just 270.843 (2010) inhabitants, you can easily spend weeks (or months) sightseeing … there is a multitude of beautiful buildings, Palazzos with art, small museums and shops with Murano glass, masks, clothes and everything for your home.

Alternatively, if you are fresh out of (lots of) free time, you can go there for an extended weekend stay, which is also highly recommended.

Venedig glas hjerte   Venedig glas skildpaddeVenice Murano chandeliers photo Marina Aagaard  Venedig maskebutik Venedig masker dyr Venedig masker  Venedig maskeshop aften

You don’t have to shop in Venice, window shopping, is almost as good. There is so much to see and so many places to go, often for free.

Venedig Palazzo loft guld  Venedig Palazzo loft Venedig Palazzo rum med engel Venedig Palazzo rum og loft      Venedig Palazzo trappe og loft

To see list:

  1. Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square)
  2. Basilica San Marco (stunning interior with golden mosaics).
  3. Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) – and the Bridge of Sighs.
  4. Campanile San Marco, 91 m bell tower.
  5. Canal Grande, 3 km, ‘main street’, take the Water bus.
  6. Rialto bridge over Canal Grande, seen a.o. from the Water bus.
  7. Ca’ d’Oro (Palazzo Santa Sofia) off Canal Grande.
  8. Ca’ Rezzonico museum of 18th Century Venice.
  9. Murano, a group of five islands with glass workshops and museum.
  10. Lido di Venezia, a tourist area with shopping, casino and cinema.

Alternatively just wander around the streets of Venice. But remember a map (not a must-have but a nice-to-have), because it is like a labyrinth of tiny alleyways.

Venedig menneskemængde og San Marco kirken foto Marina Aagaard

As with other fantastic cities, Venice is naturally flooded with tourists from all over the World (12 million every year) and especially so in the summertime. So a great tip is to see Venice in the spring or in the fall, in the “off-season” (sort of).

Venedig Markusplads foto Marina Aagaard

No matter what time of year, my favourite time is in the morning, where most other tourists have not gotten up yet. Then you can relax at a café and watch the city wake up or go for a stroll and see a lot of details, which are impossible to spot otherwise (e.g. the bug bitten pillar or the love locks below) … or maybe you can be the first in line to see the Basilica di San Marco, where you normally queue for hours.

Venedig cafe morgen   Venedig kirke morgen foto Marina AagaardVenedig søjle med myrer foto Marina AagaardVenedig Marcus plads tårn    Venedig trappe og portal foto Marina Aagaard

All sightseeing is by foot, because there are no cars in Venice city centre. Apart from walking you get around by water busses, water taxis or gondolas.

Venedig gondoler Venice gondols photo Marina AagaardVenedig kanal morgen     Venedig kanal og bro Venedig kanal og både Venedig kanal pæleRelaxing in Venice photo Marina Aagaard Relaxing life and wine in Venice photo Marina Aagaard

Lots of canals mean lots of bridges; below you see four bridges side by side.

Venedig fire broer side om side foto Marina Aagaard

It is not just in Pisa, that the towers are leaning. Venice is full of leaning buildings and Towers.

Venedig klokketårn skævt foto Marina Aagaard   Venedig tårne skæveVenedig Sukkenes bro foto Marina Aagaard fitness blog

Super sigh(t): The Bridge of Sighs (above) is a closed bridge of White limestone. It passes the Canal Rio di Palazzo, off the Canal Grande, from the old prison of Venice to the courtrooms of the Doge’s Palace.
The bridge was built in 1602 and is designed by Antoni Contino, a nephew of Antonio da Ponte, who constructed the Rialto bridge (below).

Venedig Rialto bro og Marina foto Henrik ElstrupEverywhere in Venice you see old architecture and old and modern art and street art.

Venedig gadekunstnerVenedig spejler sig i skur Venedig street art

A special air of adventure and romance from the early morning light to late in the night …

Venedig par foto  Venedig promenade trappe par Venedig bro og hængelåse   Venice love lock photo Marina Aagaard fitness wellness worldVenedig by night 1 Venedig by night 2

References

Wikipedia Venice

Wikipedia Venedig 

Lonely Planet Venice

Time Out in Venice

Neighbourhood Nature Watch: A Fall Wellness Walk

Marina Aagaard, MFE

In between working and travelling there is time for a little home time. Not home time on the couch, but daily dog walks for fresh air inhalation and basic movement. It is physical fitness activity with a low level of intensity, but a high level of wellness, mindfulness and mental benefits.
Everyone should go out and ‘go green’ … or red, brown, yellow in the fall.

Rosenholm Slot Efterår Photo Henrik Elstrup

From todays walk in the vicinity, the area around Rosenholm Slot (Castle), Jutland Denmark: Recreation ground Iver Kilde (spring) from 1900 with a  deer park long gone, grotto, well, fishpond  and arbor, in the midst of a small wood with paths and bridleways.

 Efteraarsskov og hjulspor    Efteraarsskov Fall Fish pond with reflection at Ivers Kilde Rosenholm Photo Marina Aagaard

Aging fish pond with reflection. Water and sky image with some fall decor.

Granskov smal      Granskov

Fir trees supply a splash of green. Green is a soothing colour. Nature is medicine.

Ivers Kilde Rosenholm Fall wood with lake reflection Photo Marina Aagaard

Mesmerizing mirror images as seen in a forrest lake.

Mos       Træer   Stump with moss in fall wood Photo Marina Aagaard

Moss, moss and more moss. Nature’s own plush carpet.

Hey, you, what are you waiting for?
Your Nature is right outside your door.
Go out, get well, feel better, than before.

Fitness and Wellness: Return to Sculpture by the Sea

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

It is brilliant. A fusion of nature, art, architecture and fitness and wellness.
I have been. I have been again. And I am going again.
To 
see, hear, touch, feel and taste Sculpture by the Sea.
Aarhus University has already offered running seminars to this open air exhibition. I have done my own walks. Now I will go for a run in the sand and on the stairs into the forest to experience more. Go artychitecturitness.

Fitness

sea bro

Bathing Jetty. Extra lively. Good for balance training.
Vandmodul A1 og B2 Fase 1.  Artist: Jesper Dalgaard.

sea neonStairs. Great for walking running variation. With unexpected sightseeing.
Bubbles. Artists: Markus Hanakam, Roswitha Schuller.

Wellness

sea sandkort ma snus

What is wellness? Sensations for all of your senses: A massive grain of sand soap.
Brilliant: Artist put grain of sand in microscope. Enlarged, modeled in clay, cast in soap. During exhibition, wear and tear will reshape and dissolve the grain continuously, as if it were a grain of sand. Grain of soap. Artist: Espen Grandt-Moeller.

sea te husIf wellness is a coup of tea, this is wellness. From the bed of herbs on the ground, you can make yourself a cup of tea. Water, kettle and cups are ready. Sit down and enjoy.

Become part of the work and the landscape.
Tea with a view # 2. Artist: Anja Franke.

My body jogs.
My mind wanders.
Mindbody fitness wellness moves.

Journey of The Day: Wellness Isn’t Far Away!

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

First fitness: A morning jog with the dog.
Then wellness: A visit to the spa down the road.
Mindbody activities go together for balance in life.

Work can wait. Thanks to a friend I get an opportunity to go to the spa right now. So I go from a ‘construction site’ (home) just 11 miles up the road to a haven, very well-kept mega-lawn, Lübker Golf Resort, designed by Robert Trent Jones, and Lübker Spa.

IMG_3082Sauna in the background, 85 degr. C (185 F), cold tub in front, 10 degr. C (50 F).
You make no friends by waving a camera around in a spa, also it is not allowed;
this was shot by kind permission and no other users in sight.

Would anyone in their right mind go to a spa in the middle of summer? Yes, they would!
If they have insider information of all the benefits of hot-cold water therapy: Improved blood circulation, recovery, immune defense, skin care, anti-aging, mindbody relaxation …

Agenda:

  1. Whirlpool gentle massage
  2. Steam bath
  3. Foot bath, 5 x hot cold water therapy
  4. Hot tub outside (sun shining, a surprise)
  5. Sauna +
  6. Cold tub (4 x hot cold theraphy)

Footbath spa and wellness         Hot cold water therapy

Happy feet! Nice: Go for a walk through a hot and cold bath and two kinds of stones. I opt for an extra round or two or three. Supertip: Walk with bare feet, e.g. on sand, for a free foot massage and excellent sensory stimulation; for the neuromuscular system and brain.

IMG_3086Lunch at café. Tuna salad with smoked tuna, lettuce, cucumber, onion,
mozzarella, pine nuts and more. My tastebuds are on a journey, too.

It is going to be a good weekend …

Touch, Touch! Feel Much …

Touch, Touch … your sense of touch is an important one … 
‘Feel’ m
uch more and feel more alive, more healthy … and perform better.

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Top Tip 

Right here, right NOW: Give yourself a pat on the back,
plus a good rubbing, from lower legs to head and ‘six-pack’.
Massage and pull on your earlobes, a wellness sense-‘attack’.

Caring for the sensitive sense of touch, that is the new black! 

The sense of touch is controlled by a network of nerves and touch receptors, the somato-sensory system. Notice how you experience a whole world of different sensations: Hot, cold, rough, smooth, pressure, vibration, tickle and many more through these receptors:

Mechanoreceptors; texture, pressure and vibration.
Thermoreceptors; hot and cold.
Nociceptors; pain (keeps the body safe).
Proprioceptors; body positions (detect changes in muscle tension and length).

Pamper your body, your muscles, your skin and sense of touch with warmth*, water (hot and cold), smooth materials, touching, caress and massage (and self-massage, eg. with massage balls and foam rollers) for physical, mental, emotional and social well-being; it enhances recovery, reduces stress and increases general wellness.

* Warmth generally makes you feel safe, secure and positive; a study by Bargh and Williams ‘Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth’ showed, that people judged other people to be more generous and caring after they had briefly held a cup of hot coffee rather than a cup of cold (iced) coffee”.
(from their abstract: “Warmth” is the most powerful personality trait in social judgment, and attachment theorists have stressed the importance of warm physical contact with caregivers during infancy for healthy relationships in adulthood).

Fascinating fact
Your sense of touch not only affects how you feel physically and mentally, but also how you perceive the world around you.

Researcher John A. Bargh, PhD, says, that physical experiences “not only shape the foundation of our thoughts and perceptions, but influence our behavior toward others, sometimes just because we are sitting in a hard instead of a soft chair.”
His fellow researcher Christian C. Nocera states that touch and “greetings involving touch, such as handshakes and cheek kisses, may in fact have critical influences on our social interactions in an unconscious fashion.”
(from Sense of Touch Affects Our World View, Bill Hendrick, WebMD Health News).

Free n Fresh for (Skin) Fitness

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Health, fitness and performance is also about:
Keeping your body – and skin – ‘ventilated’, fit and healthy.
Give your skin freedom and fresh air and feel fitter (anti-aging).

Top Tip 

Your skin is the ‘largest part’ of you,
set it free, let it breathe and feel brand new.
Not much clothes – or shoes – on during the day*,
during night be without, your body likes it that way.

* Amount of clothes is affected by weather … and culture …

Get as much fresh air as possible: Get outside, if you can, for at least for ½ hour a day.
Breathe deeply through your nose (and skin). Oxygen is ‘Fuel’ for Your Brain and Muscles!