From baguettes in Paris to waffles in Belgium

September is always a frenetic month. Jewish holidays and kids’ birthdays, and this one along with last month haven’t relented, though it’s been filled with celebrations and some travel, and lots of carbs consumed.

Two weeks ago we took a train (around three hours) to Paris for the weekend. We had booked a few months ago and got really affordable train tickets, and found a decent AirBnb in Le Marais (big enough to have swung a cat inside, unlike in some other places I’ve stayed at in Paris).

If there was such a thing as a “soul city”, Paris would be it for me. I adore it and love visiting, and I’ve basically been waiting since we moved to Amsterdam for things to open up so I could head there. And voila – we can now visit. We had to show our vaccine passport to get into restaurants and places of interest, like the Eiffel Tower. I’m hoping to go back there in November or December for a weekend – maybe even solo.

Our time was filled with quite a bit of walking (and shoulder rides for the tired toddler) and some of my favourites – falafel in the Marais, macarons from Laduree, hot chocolate from Angelina, and beauty shopping at Sephora (why oh why is there no Sephora in The Netherlands????)

Last weekend we went to Antwerp for my first marathon since March last year, and my first nighttime 42km. While my training was quite regular, I hadn’t done a lot of longer runs, but there was no time or other pressure to do a great time, and I was confident that I would finish before the race cutoff of six hours.

It was a beautiful night and an extraordinary experience for me and I couldn’t help but compare running this to running a marathon in South Africa. Maybe it was the smaller field or the nighttime running, but there was no engagement among runners, and I literally didn’t say one word to anyone else running, compared with so much banter and camaraderie at SA races. In SA we run with our running club vests which also unifies us and can spark conversations and connections, but it’s not the same here. I always knew that not being on the SA running scene would be tough because it’s a special one and I’m not sure one finds that running “spirit” and heart elsewhere. I’ll see what the situation is next month when/if the Amsterdam Marathon goes ahead.

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