Great vacation, terrible shape!

In a few hours, my family and I will be heading back to Denmark after a wonderful long vacation.

If you have never visited the Basque Country in Spain and France, I highly recommend the region. I am born in Bilbao and have family and friends in the area so naturally I am biased. But thousands of visitors will tell you that they come to enjoy our landscape & nature, our coasts and charming villages, our ancient culture, our gastronomic traditions, etc.

I read that 70.000 tourists visit the Basque Country every year to surf, and this trend is growing. We have world class waves in beaches like Zarautz or Mundaka.

People from all over the world visit the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. I personally find the building itself truly impressive. I appreciate that precisely this building came to represent a new beginning for the heavily polluted and industrialized city that I grew up in.

Today Bilbao’s center is beautiful and clean, and the City has become residential with its restored buildings and facades.

Besides spending time in Bilbao, San SebastiΓ‘n (Donostia) and Pamplona, we visited the cozy coastal towns of San Jean-de-Luz, Hendaye, Plentzia, Mundaka, etc. We walked to see the sights from San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a chapel at sea from the late 19th century.

A small note on our visit to Pamplona. The city’s festivities involve different traditions besides the running of the bulls or the corridas, which I certainly do not support. I oppose violence or abuse against animals. I recently met a German friend who specifically asked what my views were on bullfighting and I wrote a post about it. If you are interested, the full post in Spanish is here

The only downside I can think of in connection with the vacation is that I have indulged in the wonderful local food and wines but have done no exercise at all. This has resulted in an even worse shape. My knee injury still prevents me from running, but a fellow blogger has suggested that I swim and I have decided to put it into my schedule.

Do you take a break from running while on vacation? What’s your record in weigh increase after a lazy vacation period? What have you done to get back to your healthy routines and stick to them afterwards?





  1. Hi Ana πŸ™‚

    Wow! The pictures of the cliffs and the ocean are impressive! I can imagine the smell of the salt air and the crashing of the waves. πŸ™‚ It sounds like an interesting place to visit. I am not sure how much travel I will manage in the years to come. Life has a way of messing up one’s plans but I love looking at the photos and you never know. πŸ™‚

    I think vacations should be a time to relax and enjoy. If you eat a bit too much, that can be dealt with later. πŸ™‚ Unfortunately, my digestive system doesn’t work very well and I can’t eat very much any more. The upside is that I don’t have a problem gaining weight. It is odd that now that I am old I finally know the answer to the riddle of weight gain for my body. I would have loved to have know this when I was young and counting calories and trying one diet after another. πŸ™‚ I still enjoy the smells of freshly cooked food and the colorful arrangements even if I can’t actually eat the food.

    I hope you have success with the swimming. Swimming is good exercise for the heart and lungs and makes the muscles stronger without putting stress on the joints. In my late 20s and early 30s, I used to swim laps at the end of the day. I found it to be very relaxing as well as good exercise and I slept well during those nights.
    Take care.

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for writing πŸ™‚ I guess the answer to the riddle for me would be to actually eat healthy foods in the right measure and be physically active. The problem is that I don’t always do that, there is too much indulging and for the past months not much excercising πŸ™‚ So for me it’s about finding and keeping a good balance. Our local swimming pool has been closed down but is being reopened tomorrow so the plan is to swim a couple of times next week. It’s been a while since the last time I went swimming so I am excited about how I will do. If I manage 20 laps it will be 500 meters and I think that’s quite good for a start πŸ™‚ I hope you have beautiful weather and are enjoying the summer where you are. Take care. Ana

      1. It sounds like you have a plan πŸ™‚ I will be curious to hear how the swimming goes if you decide to write about it. I have found it useful when it comes to the healthy eating to approach it from the positive side of things. Try to add in as many nutrient dense plants which you like as you can manage to fit in. I have found the two main opponents of eating healthy are hunger and emotional stress. Hunger arises from lack of nutrients, lack of calories, or foods that upset your body’s chemical balance and trigger hunger. I hear and read over and over again about the calorie angle, but not very often about the nutrients or the actual food effect. My approach has been to flood my body with nutrients and then I don’t feel hungry out of proportion with what my body needs. I don’t actually tell myself that I can’t eat those things which I like but cause trouble. I have them every once in a while and remember why they don’t work. It is easier to stay on a plan if it has positive re-enforcement in terms of feeling better built in.

        The weather is beautiful here today πŸ™‚ It is windy so I didn’t try to go out and take photos, but I have been out and about doing other things. Sunday is my day off to rest or wander about after I do a few chores so it is usually a good day πŸ™‚ Good luck with your week!

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