Week Two WOD #2: Clusters on Clusters

Today I got a chance to try out my double under skill and see if I could knock off my short term goal. While I wasn’t able to complete the workout with full double unders all the way through I felt like I could see my progress in the motion. During the second set I felt like I jumped over a mental block and something started to click a whole lot more. I started thinking to myself, “Be natural. Let the jumps flow.” This helped me pull away from the little bits of the exercise and focus on smooth easy movements. I toppled my last best by reaching 33 in a row, getting over halfway through the second dub set.

Clean:

Heavy 2: I reached 185lbs today, but I was feeling very sluggish for some reason. My hip explosion through the bar was not as quick as it has been in the past and I was struggling to whip my elbows around fast enough. I went for 205lbs twice and got it high enough to drop under but was unable to do it.

For time: A cluster is a combo lift. It takes the same basic premise of the thruster with the front squat to push press idea but swaps the front squat with a clean. 

10 Clusters (185/133) [135]
50 Double-unders [10-5 double/single] with these I was able to knock down 10 in a row consistently with 5 single skips in-between.
15 Clusters (155/113) [115] Struggled quite a bit at this weight, I had to take several breaks before attacking this again.
50 Double-unders [33-17 double/single] I was able to do 33 in a row and then couldn’t get it back because of how tired my arms were so I finished out with 17 singles.
20 Clusters (115/83) [90] This took me the longest amount of time to complete and really tested my mental toughness in the last 13 reps.

Mobility:

Lumbar Smashing

I was real pumped about my progress with the double unders today. I feel like I’m really getting the hang of it and next time we have a double under workout I think it’ll be time for me to rock it out and do it. Obviously I’ll keep plugging away with warm ups getting the form down! If you read my last post you saw that my roommate Peter is getting involved in Crossfit! I was very happy to hear that he enjoyed his very first workout and is excited to be back pushing himself to the limit. I am so stoked to have him in the regular classes and see how both of us are able to progress moving forward! Hit this post with a comment or a question!

Week Two WOD #1: Go Peter!

In just a few workouts I’ve seen my double under status improving significantly! I doubled my highest total in a row to not have my record be set at 14… not too shabby. This workout had a pretty big class in attendance so we took up almost the entire gym during the regular workout. I’m finding that I’m having quite a bit of trouble getting the weights during the workout to be challenging but not so much that I’m unable to move after we are done. This isn’t a terrible problem to have however because it means that I’m gaining strength and ability pretty quickly so that what I was doing in the week prior might end up being too light for me.

In ten minutes:

Establish 1 RM Push-press- This ended up being too light. I had 155lbs on the bar but I think I could have gone up another 10-20lbs and kept solid form but, because I was intimidated by the push jerk we were doing afterwards, I kept it light. Something I’ve been told before that I’ve been keeping in mind while doing the push press is to really lock out my arms up top. This exercise can put a lot of pressure on certain areas of the upper body if you don’t lock out so doing that is crucial.

EMOM – 5 Minutes:

1 Jerk (100% Push-press loading) Same weight as before. We went every minute and it took until the very last one for me to show some fatigue. What helped me through this was to focus on clenching my core and exploding my hips up so that it took most of the effort off of my arms and shoulders.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Reps for time: 14:54

Power Clean (135/93) 90lbs
Shoulder-to-OH (135/93) 90lbs
TTB

When this was all said and done I think I should have gone for 110lbs but at the same time this made sure that my form all the way until my last rep was staying in check. I’m starting to notice that it’s becoming easier for me to keep pushing through these workouts without having to stop for long periods of time to catch my breath.

Something I loved about this workout was that there were two guys who decided to really hit it hard and go for RX. After a bit of time it was just the two of them wrestling their way through the final dreggs of it and every single person who had already completed watched them and cheered them on. It was such a good feeling to be a part of this group of people because I feel like this is what is missing when you rock your headphones at the gym. Having a team like atmosphere really amps me up and allows me to really get psyched about going to the gym.

On another note, my roomie Peter has his first night of On-Ramp today over in St. Louis Park. I’m pretty excited to have him joining the Crossfit community and hope he enjoys it as much as I do. Put a like on this post if your stoked for Peter, and as always comment if you have any thoughts!

WOD #4: Not for Time

Felt like I got in a really good workout last night after I shoveled my parents driveway for them… the gall-dang snowblower is only operable after my dad tinkers with it for around 20 minutes and of course never works for me EVER. But I still got up early this morning and went over to the gym to get my last workout for this week in.

It was fantastic to be in the gym a bit early today because I got a chance to see the competitive team working out. They were doing some pretty incredible stuff with the rings, kettle bells and 1 legged squats. While I’m not necessarily interested in competing in any kind of Crossfit Games I am so excited to start working more on stuff with the rings. It looked challenging but at the same time incredibly fun to be flying around like that. I can’t do these yet but I found a pretty good instructional video on how to do the most efficient muscle up.

Below is what the workout for the day was, it was different not going for time or working with an AMRAP but this was nice not feeling so crunched to get the reps in. I never rested more than 5 minutes between sets and decided to keep it light for the Hang Power Cleans in order to work on my form. I’m having trouble differentiating the Clean and the Power Clean, with these I kept catching it to far down in the squat position which you can do if you aren’t able to make the full weight but I definitely could do it. This is where my inexperience with these movements comes into play but I’ll keep plugging along.

5 Rounds, not for time:

5 Hang Power Cleans (AHAP) [115lbs]
Max Reps – Strict Pull-ups [Medium Band 12-8-8-7-10]
500 M Row [Best time = 1:56 averaged about 2:01]

Rest as needed between rounds.

Mobility:

Upper Trap Smashing. This felt really good with the lacrosse ball on my shoulders, after all the rowing we did today they definitely needed to to loosen up. This blog ends week 1 of my weekly WOD’s. As weeks keep moving on this is going to polish up, I’ll start taking photos and maybe I’ll be able to convince a trainer to do some quick instructional videos with me. Thanks for reading and be sure to comment below and let me know how this workout went for you or if you have any other thoughts on the blog!

WOD #3: Burpees, the Life-Blood of Crossfit

If you read my post WOD#2: Goals! then you’ll know that my short term goal is to be able to rock a double unders workout without having to resort to those measly single skips. If you’re unsure what I’m talking about not only do I explain it all in that post, but I tossed a neat little instructional video in there as well. Anyway, I felt at though there was a bit of progress made during my warm up for this workout! I was able to nock out several sets of double unders and reached a new personal record of 7 in a row… 7! How sweet is that! I am looking to keep consistency up with this skill and will update you when I see improvements or have any realizations about the technique of it.

Front Squat:

2-2-2-2-2 [110-160-170-175-180] 

For this portion I needed to focus quite a bit on my form because I don’t have the best front rack positioning. What continually seems to pop up is my lack of mobility in a lot of areas and while Coach Alex said that I improved quite a bit after this was pointed out, it is still an area needing improvement. What you want from a good front rack is high elbows with the bar resting on your upper chest collarbone region. What I was doing in order to get my elbow height to increase was bringing my elbows closer together. What I didn’t realize is that you really want your elbows to come straight out ahead of your shoulders giving you the maximum stability for when you really load up the bar.

AMRAP – 5 Minutes:

1-2-3-4-5 … Reps: This round I made it to 6 even. I was feeling very good with a whole lot of energy left. 

Thrusters (95/63) [85lbs]
Bar Facing Burpees

rest three minutes

AMRAP – 5 Minutes:

… 6-7-8-9-10 … Reps: 9+14 So I didn’t quite get through all of my burbees to start the next round. I was breathing rather heavily at this point and knew mental toughness was going to be key in the next AMRAP set.

Thrusters (95/63) [85lbs]
Bar Facing Burpees

rest three minutes

AMRAP – 5 Minutes:

… 11-12-13-14-15 … Reps: 11+13 Was my final number. I wanted to make it to 12 total so I was almost at my daily goal but fell 9 burpees short. 

Thrusters (95/63) [85lbs]
Bar Facing Burpees

Mobility:

Low Back Recovery done with the lacrosse ball or foam roller. Make sure to get those nots out of your muscles or you’ll pay for them later! Be sure to check out my other posts and to look for my other project to make an appearance… Nom Nom Food will hopefully have its first addition by Sunday!

Found this video talking about mobility on MobilityWOD.com that you should check out if you’re also struggling with your front rack positioning.

Enjoy the read? Help me out and tell a friend about my blog! Have suggestions? Comment on this post below!

WOD #2: Goals!

I have some major goals in this post the first of which is to be able to complete a double unders workout with no single skips. To those of you unfamiliar with Crossfit, or if you are familiar, but also happen to be just awful at this movement there is an instructional video below. My plan is to start out every workout I go to working on this motion. I know how to row 400meters but I can’t seem to get more than 3 of these stinking things done in a row.

I was feeling pretty good going into the gym today after yesterdays workout. Little sore in the triceps but overall rested and fully recovered. Just like every day we warm up with stretches, but on top of that used a light band and pvc pipe. Coach Alex went through the Snatch motion highlighting the importance of the position of the bar as it travels up overhead… key word there is up, you want to make sure that the bar is still close to your body.

Snatch: 

2-2-2-2-2

90-115-115-135-135(fail on #2)

One thing that I was struggling with on this movement came with fluidity of my form. Overall my positioning is pretty solid but the Coaches talked to me about the hip thrust and catching in the squat position. Right now I need to work on speed, getting the bar up and dropping down underneath it.

AMRAP – 8 Minutes:

1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4 Reps: 5+12

Deadlift (185/133) (185!!!)
Box Jumps (32/28) (26)

I half RX’d this workout. This brings me to goal #2. I want to become an RX Crossfitter. This means that whatever the prescribed amount of weight per workout is, thats the weight I use. This was a great workout and helped me realize that that was my biggest goal aside from increase in overall fitness. I was able to deadlift the RX amount because I have always liked leg day (I know I’m weird) but you tend to like what your good at and years of track and nordic skiing prepped me well. I need to improve my confidence with the box jumps but that will definitely come with time.

Short term goals: Become a competent Double Underer (?) by March

Long term goals: Become an RX Crossfit Athlete by 2015

Both of these goals will take a bunch of work, loads of practice, and a good Positive Attitude. I think I’ll keep posting a list of goals each time both to remind myself and you about what I’m trying to accomplish. Hold me to it people.

Mobility:

Rotator Cuff Strengthening – on top of this we spent time rolling out our lower backs with a lacrosse ball.

What kind of fitness goals do you have big or small? Let me know in the comments below!

Pushed and Pressed Out

So here’s the deal. I feel sort of weird about posting about my workouts. There are so many different workout no-nos, 1) No photos of yourself in the gym 2) Don’t take videos and post them on the internet 3) No ridiculous grunting. Now, currently I’m not doing any of those things, but blogs are so much more fun with pictures… This will be quite the experiment for me to be sure; as being healthy takes a whole lot of commitment both in and out of the gym. After a weekend chowing down on Dominos, Jimmy Johns, and sucking down about a gallon of delicious apple juice its going to be a challenge to get out of bad habits that I’ve accrued over the years. But golly gee I’m going to give it a shot.

Here was the Workout of the Day!

Pre-WOD Mobility:

Thoracic Extension: This portion consisted of laying on a foam roller at your upper back. While doing this you extend your arms up and over your head attempting to touch the ground above you. This helps with your overhead mobility, specifically relating to our workout today in the push press.

Push Press:

4-3-3-3: This was done where we added weight for each rep. I got a few warm up rounds at lower weights around 65lbs and then pushed myself to match my partner who is a pretty experienced Crossfitter. Respectively we went 135-155-165-170, I felt pretty good through the first three and with the last round I wasn’t keeping my core activated to where I would be able to keep my form. So I failed on the last one.

25-20-15-10-5 Reps for time: This took me 11:19 I understand that this paragraph below is a bit confusing, but as we travel down this path I’ll get significantly better at describing these motions.

Shoulder to OH (115/83) – Basically anyway you can bring the bar up over your head that would be acceptable. You could strict press it, push press which adds a little dip to it, or press with jerk where you do the push press but drop underneath the bar and stand up. For the most part I switched between the push press and push press and jerk.
Pull-ups – These for RX were to be done as kip-ups which is a very fluid pull up motion where you time shifting your legs to “kip” your body up to the bar.

What I’ve learned from this workout is the importance of activating your core muscles for stability and that I am terrible at pull ups. Not only do I need to work on the Kip-ups themselves but I also need work on my endurance with this specific type of workout.

To wrap this post up I’m wondering where you have struggled in your level of fitness? Come back tomorrow for my next post and even though I’ll be breaking gym etiquette I’ll get photos for here eventually!

It’s a Crossfit Life

I have been a member of Crossfit St. Paul/St. Louis Park now for close to 3 months! In that short amount of time I have become hooked on the Crossfit program and have found that it has been the most effective way for me to keep coming back to the gym. On top of this membership I find myself a part of a company called Apex Fun Run (which I’m stoked about) that has me promoting fitness and leadership to Minnesota’s young future leaders. While this isn’t a part of my job I feel obligated to get myself into the kind of shape that is an excellent example for what I am going to be talking about and preaching in my day to day life. I thought what a better way to do that than to publicly display (not for any narcissistic reasoning) what I am doing to stay fit and stay healthy. More than anything I’m hoping to keep myself honest!

In this portion of my blog I’ll be posting my workouts, my goals, and my achievements along with discussing what I see as benefits to Crossfit as I progress farther into it! Crossfit for the time being is my focus, my main source of exercise, but at some point I plan to branch out and find other ways to build on top of that foundation. For those of you reading this I also hope to somehow encourage everyone around me to find the place and the way for them to lead a healthier lifestyle. For me this isn’t really about losing weight… although who doesn’t want rock hard abs? This is about being a healthy happy human being. This is about living the “Yeah I can do that” lifestyle where you aren’t limited by all those reps you’re doing between the couch and the fridge. I’d love to create a conversation so if you have any thoughts or opinions on Crossfit, what helps you stay active, or anything else(related please) comment below!

Days 6-10: Scotland – The Wolves of Eisenhower… & Other Plaid Things

Day 6 -

When we took the step off the train in Scotland we immediately smelled baked goods. This automatically activated an “oh boy” from Mickey who made a beeline for the cookies stand. After this we left the train station and stepped back into the medieval times. We could see the castle over looking the valley below and our feet crossed cobble stone roads. In searching for our hostel we walked through the skinny paths between buildings leading up to the top of the hill. Our hostels location was perfect as it was right next to the castle making it super easy to find our way back to it just in case we got lost. After we’d ditched our things at the hostel we decided to take the climb up Arthur’s seat! Which basically everyone we had talked to about Edinburgh said was something we absolutely had to do and man were they right. Both of us had been looking forward to this part of the trip and we decided to take the hard way up. Well I guess I should say that Mickey convinced me that’s what we should do… It was definitely difficult and technically the trail was closed because of falling rocks but that’s never stopped us before. The day was quite perfect for this hike, there were a few clouds in the sky but plenty of sunlight illuminating the surrounding countryside. The view was absolutely spectacular. There were people running all over Arthur’s seat getting a workout in and man if that was where my runs took me I’d definitely get out more. As we were climbing down(the easy way) there were cliffs on each side of us and looking up Mickey said, “I’m still waiting for the wolves of Eisenhower to track us down..” I of course laugh because Eisenhower is absolutely incorrect but it does give a funny mental image as he was looking for the wolves of Isenguard.

That night we went on another pub crawl through the Sandemans company and had a great time. Scotland’s pub crawl was quite different than London’s as it revolved quite a bit more around conversation as opposed to dancing. We went to a total of seven bars in the area, one called whistle binckies that’s famous for their catacombs in the basement, and our favorite pub in Edinburgh called Pilgrim. Pilgrim was great because of how they involved travel in the interior design. The bar itself was build using old luggage cases with a wooden top, all the seats on the walls were old airport chairs and the tables were made from trunks with glass tops. That night there was a really good guitarist there who tossed out a great vibe for the place. My least favorite was a bar called Frankensteins where at midnight they cut the music and played scenes from Frankenstein while an automated robot “Frankenstein” was lowered into the middle of the bar and was brought to “life.” Like I said it was absolutely my least favorite. We met a solid group if people once again from around the world and ended up making some sweet friends with people going for their masters at the university of Edinburgh. Sandemans should really hire Mickey and I to promote their pub crawl because throguh the trip we have recruited so many people to join up with us.

Day 7 –

Woke up this morning to go on the free tour where our guide Sebastian was giving his first ever tour. It was alright, both of us by this time were feeling quite tired and had a hard time focusing on the very cool stories we were told about the history of Edinburgh. I did enjoy the one about Deacon Brody who was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We ate at the tavern named after him and their story says that by day he was a pious, wealthy, and much respected citizen and in 1781 was elected Deacon Councilor of the city. But at night he was a gambler, a thief, dissipated and licentious. He was hanged in 1788, ironically at the gallows he himself designed. I have more to that story if you like to hear it ask me about it!

We did our touristy stuff at this point in the trip where we bought flags and patches along with other various things. We went on a hunt for Mickey to find a leather bracelet that felt like it took around 5 hours… I’m not real good at this whole keeping track of time thing though so it may have only been 45 minutes or so. But we happened upon a local band playing their hearts out with a bagpipe! They were pretty solid and rather fun so we stayed and watched for a time. At dinner that night Mickey ordered the haggis which I did try and found it to be tough but not gross. Now that we know what it is however… Why is that a meal? Without much else to do at night we thought we would hit the pub crawl again but after the first three pubs neither of us was feeling it so we ditched the crawl and went for kebabs and chips and cheese. That is seriously the best late night food ever… Gonna need to open up a kebab joint or something because its so good. We then went and hung out at the hostel where a crew of backpackers were having a sweet jam session with the guitars left at the hostel and everyone joining in singing along. After awhile of that we tried falling asleep while a thunderstorm of a snorer had a concert in the bed next to us. (Earplugs people… Required if your staying in a hostel)

Day 8 –

I messed up on our hostel booking and didn’t realize we were staying another night in Scotland so we had to check out of our hostel… Thankfully they had a few beds open so we were able to Shnag those for only £13 each. We spent an hour and a half, which is mickeys limit to sitting around, at a cafe Nero where I was content to spend the entire day. Instead of sitting around however we climbed Caltons hill which isn’t as tall at Arthur’s seat but has the attempted Parthenon on top of it otherwise known as the shame of Scotland. On the trek back we grabbed some wicked good ice cream! Then crashed at the hostel for a fabulous nap, after the nap we got dinner and went on the pub crawl again. I didn’t stay all the way through this one because all the late nights were catching up to me finally.

Day 9 –

This was our last day in Edinburgh which was terrible in Mickeys eyes because he loved this city. He thought that it was so great that we didn’t have to take a bus anywhere or hop on a train, that it was just us and our feet making the trek. We both really enjoyed the overall atmosphere of Edinburgh especially the quaint feel of the royal mile. I wasn’t overly sad to see it go however. I’d have enjoyed staying longer absolutely but I enjoy the hustle of London and I like taking public transport all over the city. It makes it so much easier to see so much more in the short amount of time we were traveling. It didn’t help that we didn’t want to spend much money and both of us were already tired of the touristy type of things. So instead of dropping £20 on the castle tour I slept some more in our hostel common room and Mickey climbed Arthur’s seat again. We then had some kebabs with chips and cheese and then grabbed the bus to the airport for our flight to Spain!

Extras. So I’m currently in my hostel at Madrid! We only have two more nights on this fantastic vacation so I’m going to get right on writing the Barcelona portion of my blog so hopefully you will read that tonight as well! If not you’ll know it took me too long and I have gone on a fiesta!

Days 3-6: Catching Up – The Rest of London

Man have I not wanted to write much on this trip… But now that I’m sitting down to actually get my thoughts on this virtual paper I’m realizing how silly it was for me not to keep up. Now I have more work to do and I’ve kept all you incredible people wondering what sort of shenanigans Mickey and I have gotten into. Well sorry! Here it is, the end of our trip to London, with a follow up post of our time in Scotland.

Day 3 –

Where I left you with my second post we had been out on a pub crawl where we figured out the night bus system and were very pleased with ourselves. We happened to come into our hostel very late roughly 3:00 in the morning where both of us crashed into our separate beds and promptly couldn’t fall asleep… Rough! I pulled out my book and got some reading in until I just couldn’t stay awake any longer. Throughout the morning our various roommates got up and went about their lives slamming the door, blow drying their hair, and chatting up a storm. Needless to say Mickey and I have gotten very little uninterrupted sleep this trip but right around 3:00 pm Mickey woke me up because we couldn’t sleep the day light away.

We sure made a go of it but with our remaining few hours, we hopped on the tube and went to see the Portebello Garden market. Unfortunately we keep missing the markets themselves but the street was lined with tons of fascinating shops with general touristy trinkets and other just plain interesting things. We’d had such a good time on the first pub crawl that we figured we might as well hit it again. Let me tell you right now that central London is a completely different place on a Friday as opposed to any other night of the week. It was dang near impossible to get to the bar let alone a order a drink. In the states bartenders rely on tips to make most of their money so they are very quick about getting you your order and moving onto the next one. This is not the case in England (and Scotland) where you don’t have to tip unless the service is incredible. So there is almost zero hustle in their turnover of customers and on a Friday night in central London there are loads of them. Every bar we went to was still a good time but each were filled to the brim.

We happened to meet three people from Minneapolis at bar Soho and two of them are going to be in Barcelona when we are so, we are potentially going to meet up! We befriended the best tour guide in the business named Ed! Who worked 4 days and nights in a row and helped make each of our three pub crawls with him a blast by switching from his red work shirt at the end of his shift and continuing to show us around and get as he put it get “proper drunk.”

Day 4 –

This day we went to really the only place I felt like I had missed on my last time in London and that was the Tower of London. As a history guy I absolutely loved walking around listening to the different architecture bits and which king added which section. We walked through the Crown Jewels which Mickey thought were replicas because they had very little security around them… Until we exited the building and we saw a gigantic steel door! We had messaged our buddies Matt and Mike and found out at they were also going to be at the Tower that day as well but since they didn’t have phones we figured it would be impossible to find them in this massive castle, and of course as we are saying this, Mickey looks up and is like Matt???? So then we all hung out there taking a gander at all the cool swords and armor talking European history which Matt majored in.

After the Tower of London we had made plans with our new found friend Charlotte to see the “underground side of London” so we headed over to the dalston junction and shoreditch areas. Charlotte and her friend Lucy met up with us a brought us to this awesome hidden away street feast. Imagine taking about 60 of the best state fair food trucks and booths, cramming them into an area surrounded by those giant storage containers on huge ships, with some sweet alternative music being played, and bonfires crackling all around you, got that? Ok now make it wicked awesome and inexpensive and that’s what we did. I feel like I’ve gone bonkers because I didn’t take any photos… Sorry! Mickey and I had some jerk chicken that was absolutely delicious and tried out some English beer that Mickey liked and did not hit the spot for me (bitter). We then went to a place called the Passage where Lucy may have had a huge crush on the bartender so she’s known by name there because she’s there almost nightly. While the bartender had a nice head of hair I would go just for the drinks! Mickey ordered a whiskey sour which we both expected to be whiskey mixed with sour… Not the case at all. Instead what was presented to him was this foamy art in a glass that had some sort of cinnamon powder on top and believe me that may have been my favorite drink from the entire trip! This place was about really making something that would leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

Then we moved on to a bar where Lucy’s work friends were meeting up for a going away party. The pub was called the Star of Bethal and it had that thump in the music that just about never changes and it was here that we had some of the most fun on the entire trip. We met a ton of English people and a few Australians where we discussed accents, opinions on Americans as a whole, and our opinions on their city. It was here that after displaying my antics on the dance floor I was challenged to my first dance off abroad. Mickey will back me up but I destroyed it! TJ 1 Australian guy 0. We had gone outside to cool off and a few people in our party grabbed a smoke and when we were done and I stepped back inside it was to a whole different kind of pub… One completely filled with glitter. Next thing I know I’m doused in glitter utterly confused and Mickey and Charlotte dip set back outside. Now I can’t be the only American that got glittered so I scooped up a couple handfuls and got Mickey real good for ditching me! All of the English people loved our accents and were trying to copy them and failing miserably so then they asked us to try and of course since we practice on the regular we sounded freaking incredible which made everyone laugh because we would rattle through English Scottish Australian and Irish in the same sentence.

At this point in the night I just about always am hankering for some food, and so we took off searching our hearts out for a kebab place. Lucky thing we had Charlotte because Mickey and I would be have been eternally lost. We found the kebab place and now my absolute favorite late night food has changed from Mesa pizza to kebabs with a side of chips(fries) and cheese. We then went back to charlottes for a chill session on the sweetest patio ever. We swapped stories until Charlotte finally kicked us out at about 5:30 am… What we didn’t realize was that the night busses shut down right around 6:00… So how we’d bussed back to shepherds bush each night was no longer an option. We ended up wandering around for a good hour finally finding the stop that would take us to our hostel. It was here, covered in glitter, that we watched the sun rise in the Piccadilly Circus.

Day 5 –

As we arrived when some of our roommates were waking up we once again slept the majority of the day away. We’d made plans with Matt and Mike to meet up again at the pub crawl so we went over there for an early dinner/lunch/breakfast where we had one of the better plates of nachos I’ve ever had and once again ordered… You guessed it fish and chips along with sausage and mash. It was absolutely delectable. When we were done we had some more time to kill before the crawl so we walked around the Covent Garden Market looking at all their wares as they closed up shop and then we listened to a street musician/guitarist who was absolutely fantastic. He wrote his own music and had a lovely voice and a decently large crowd sitting and listening to him play. Mickey got a (as Charlotte would say) fab cappuccino at what appears to be a very popular coffee joint in England called Cafè Nero. We then rolled over to Belushis to crawl again. I’m not going to go into this much but I did have a drink called a Wham Jam Thank You Mam made with southern comfort cherry, luxardo amaretto, cranberry juice, and RASBERRY JAM! It was absolutely delicious and if it hadn’t run me £7.50 that would have been all I’d had. But basically it was another fun night out on the town. I did however get pulled into a breakdancing battle by our tour guide Ed who wanted to see me bust a move. I’m not sure I won but loads of people from the club came and asked what a big white guy from the states is doing crushing it on the dance floor.

Day 6 –

Basically today was rather relaxed on the London side of things. Mickey and I woke up early to check out of our hostel and then packed up our belongings to catch our train to Edinburgh, Scotland at 9:30. The train ride was pretty cool and it was a nice way to catch a bit of the London countryside. Five hours later we were stepping out onto the soil of Scotland. In my next post I’ll tell you about our entire time there and what made it Mickey’s absolute favorite place on our trip and why I mildly disagree with him.

London Day 2 – Walk, Walk, Walk, Crawl, Crawl, Crawl

Today we had some pretty cool adventures. Mickey and I spent several hours on a free walking tour where we hit most of the big locations and then we meandered around Piccadilly going into some of the most touristy shops I’ve ever seen in my life. On the tour we heard a ton of really cool stories which I will do my best to capture for you even though I’m pulling them from memory.

I’m going to butcher the names of a couple of these places so be prepared for some silliness. The tour started out at a place called Belushis pub where a bunch of people were gathered up and then herded onto the tube. We came out in a pretty cool park where there were war memorials that surrounded a gigantic triumphal arch. As the tour started they told us all about this giant arch and how the French and English were fighting and during the fights the French started to build an arch of triumph… Then the English won. So because of their victory they were like, “take that France! Now we are gonna build a better arch” but unfortunately they totally failed and theirs was significantly smaller. So then they made a statue that doubled the arches size and it looked hilarious and quite ugly. Since then they’ve made a few changes however and now in my opinion it looks lovely. From there it was a quick jaunt down constitution road to buckingham palace where the changing of the guards was taking place.

We were told of a few different break-ins at buckingham and my favorite one revolves around an Irishman. He made the decision to hop the fence and wander his way over to the palace where he discovered an open window. Climbing in he went down into the basement, and as a notorious drunk, was very pleased to happen upon the wine cellar. He then found a bottle to his liking and went on his merry way. Of course the bottle was quite nice and the guard was unable to discover who had taken it but instead of taking extra precautions they said to themselves that nobody is stupid enough to come back again.

Several months later he had a hankering to see more of the palace and so he hopped the fence again. Instead of going down he made the trek up to the throne room where he hops onto the royal seat and has himself a grand ol’ time. All this while alarms are being set off… and instead of going to look the guard says to himself “no way could anyone get passed the guards and the walls and into the palace, the alarm must be broken I’ll go and turn it off.” The Irishmen decides he’s tired and could use a lay down so he heads to the bedrooms… The queens specifically where she happens to be fast asleep. Upon waking to find a strange man in her room the queen keeps her composure, hits her emergency button (which does nothing as the alarm system is off) and asks how he is doing. They have quite the chat and then when she’s had enough the queen who doesn’t smoke asks if he would like to have a cigarette. She then calls her maid and requests a smoke for the strange man in her bedroom. The maid then raises the guard and he gets wrestled from the building. They wanted to put him in jail for the rest of his life but at the time the palace was public property… So he was unable to be charged with anything.

As this is getting quite long I will omit the other stories and instead list the other cool places we saw. Henry the VIII palace, statue of the Duke of York, Trefalagar square, the Horseguard square (this has a different name but I’ve forgotten) Westminster Abby, Big Ben, and we finished the tour off at a pub called the Old Monk which is rather famous! That evening we went on an adventure of a pub crawl where we met some really awesome people from all over! Bonded with two floridians named Matt and Mike and met people from Australia, New Zealand, and Russia. Mickey and I ruled the dance floors and convince many people that sitting around shouting at each other was way less fun than dancing our hearts out! Included in the pub crawl ticket was a free shot at each bar and happy hour prices on all drinks. So needless to say we were all having a grand time of it. Mickey and I were thoroughly impress with ourselves as we figured out the night bus system which at first glance seems very simple and absolutely is not!

I’ll do my best to update a bit more often but it’s tough to just sit down and write when all this awesomeness is going on. As the bartenders at our hostel say Ta everyone!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 193 other followers