Keep Walking

Readers will remember last year I wrote a post about walking to work. Well, obviously as winter arrived, it got colder and I was unable to regularly walk to work. Come spring, I walked on and off, and then summer hit, making it unbearably hot and impossible to walk. To be honest, the problem was not so much the heat, but more so the resulting perspiration. I don’t think anyone would appreciate having to sit next to or work with someone stinking of dried sweat.

In any case, fall arrived a few weeks ago and things started to cool down. A colleague at work struck up a conversation about how she walks to work every day and loves it, and I should too. She sold me on the exact same benefits I blogged about last year, and I started walking to work again.

I have to say- I couldn’t be happier. The total travel time from door to door is exactly the same whether I drive, or walk. Walking to and from work every day with my music playing and not a thought on my mind is the most peaceful time of the day. It allows me to disconnect from everything and just enjoy being in the moment. The Honey Bee calls it my “me time”. Sometimes I am more pumped, and walk faster. Other times I am tired or more relaxed, and walk slower. But no matter what, I am glad to be walking.

I also find myself calmer, more patient, attentive, and generally in an overall good mood more often. When I reach work, I am now fully awake and attentive, roaring to go. When I get home I am no longer lethargic, and don’t want to just sit on the couch and watch TV (or at least not as much as before). I honestly feel better about being myself.

Apart from the additional savings on fuel and reduced car maintenance, walking is really environmentally friendly and comes with tons on health benefits. Humans have evolved over millions of years to walk- not just sit around or drive everywhere. Co-incidentally, I was reading an article on the rising expenditure on healthcare and how less active and deteriorating lifestyles are one of the main culprits. We are all eating larger portions of less healthier foods, and spending more time sitting down or driving around. All research points to the tremendous benefits that physical fitness and activity can bring, including alleviating some of those costs. A study by Harvard University concluded that walking 2.5 hours a week (21 minutes a day) helps reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%.

I have also started to wear a fitness tracker to guilt myself into being more physically active and I am happy to report it is working. If you already have one, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Seeing in numbers the fact that you’re not active enough is a surefire way to push yourself to move more. If you don’t already have one, I’d strongly recommend you look into getting one, especially if you’re in desk job that involves working at a computer.

The infographic below from the CDC on diabetes is a real eye opener and really struck home. I thought I’d share it here to spread awareness.

Happy Walking!

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Surprise Birthday Getaway (Under the Stars)

We recently celebrated a big milestone birthday for the Honey Bee. She has asked me not to mention her actual age, so out of interest for my own well-being I am going to leave that out.

Usually, we spend our birthdays traveling on vacation. However, this year the Honey Bee was fatigued from too many flights and asked that we not fly anywhere (ironic given her name, I know). So, I had to find something within driving distance. She had dropped a few hints over the past few months so I tried to find a hotel that met some of those requirements (more on this later).

Hours of research led me to Hotel Mas Sola, an isolated hotel in the middle of nowhere, with rooms opening on to balconies overlooking a beautiful well-manicured lawn and a pond fully stocked with ducks. This secluded hotel is miles away from the nearest town and is kind of like a little resort, with tennis courts, a number of swimming pools, a gym, a spa, and a whole lot more. The exact hotel and location remained unknown to the birthday girl until we actually got there, making for a pleasant surprise.

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We spent one night at this wonderful property and wasted no time in taking advantage of everything it had to offer. Since we checked in on a Sunday, most people were checking dsc04313out. There couldn’t have been more than 4-5 couples staying the night. We spent quite a few hours sitting out on the patio by the lawn, enjoying ice-cold beers, served in pre-chilled glasses and snacks with the warm sun overhead. We chatted while we watched the ducks waddle along and every so often take a dip in the pond.

We walked around the massive property taking it all in until we got tired and decided to relax at the spa. The hotel boasts a beautiful spa, fully equipped with a heated pool, a jacuzzi, hydro massage beds, a steam room, a sauna, 5 different types of showers and a foot reflexology path. What I really loved about all the aquatic installations was the use of beautifully colored mosaics throughout. Since the hotel was pretty much empty, we had the spa all to ourselves.  We spent an hour detoxing and enjoying the hydro-massages. We wrapped up the spa session by trying out all the different showers. Some were cold water, some were hot, and some alternated between the two. There was a rain shower, a shower with jets that massaged the entire body, a nebulizer shower, and a shower that carried water mixed with herbal oils. Lastly, and this is one that the Honey Bee refused to try, was the cold bucket shower which is exactly what it sounds like. It consists of a bucket of cold water hanging overhead that you tug on with a rope to overturn.

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After our relaxing spa experience, we went back out on to the patio and watched the sun set on a cloudless horizon, while we enjoyed more cold beers. As dusk approached it started to get colder and a little rainy, so we eventually switched to hot coffee. For dinner, we ordered some delicious pizza. Since it was the Honey Bee’s birthday, the hotel gifted us a tasty bottle of wine which we paired with the pizza and devoured.

The Honey Bee has always mentioned her curiosity of and interest in the heavenly bodies. That is one of the reasons why I chose this place. Due to its isolation, there is almost no light or air pollution here, which results in the visibility of a spectacularly starry night. To make things even better, I bought her a telescope which I surprised her with that evening. We awoke at 4 in the morning to the enchanting smell of wet grass, and the full glory of the night sky overhead, something you can never see from the city. You could see the moon, stars, a number of constellations and even Mars with the naked eye. Once we had the telescope all set up, we just couldn’t get enough. The lack of sleep eventually caught up with me, and I went back to bed leaving her to enjoy the night sky with her brand new telescope.

The next morning we woke up fairly late, but made it in time for breakfast. We indulged in a delicious, heavy and filling breakfast, accompanied by some delicious Cava (the local equivalent of champagne). We spent the rest of the morning hanging out around the swimming pool, reading, and enjoying the other facilities the resort had to offer.

As afternoon approached, so did check-out time. And just like that, this little vacation came to an end. We left the hotel with a whole bunch of great memories and a birthday experience that we will never forget.

If anyone is ever in the area, I would strongly recommend paying this great hotel a visit. The facilities were super clean and comfortable and the staff very friendly, ever willing to go over and above to ensure you have a great stay.