When we were in Edinburgh last month, we went to the National Gallery of Scotland. It was one of the things I regretted not visiting during the time I lived there. It is free to the public every day of the year. I lived in Edinburgh for 9 months. Read those last three sentences again. Exactly.
Boyfriend and I saw so much of the country in the 9 days we were there. What the heck was I thinking when I lived there for 9 months? I think when you are studying abroad on scholarship you get caught up in the academics of the experience. I now always tell everyone I meet who is about to study abroad that they should use the time to travel and experience the country (and heck, the world). When I was in Scotland it was shortly after 9/11 and no one was flying. You could fly from London to Paris for $50. No joke. I should have been traveling every other weekend. What was I thinking?! [head to desk] Off my regret soapbox.
|They don't allow photos inside the Galleries so you'll have to enjoy this outside shot.|
|And this lovely piper serenading tourists outside.|
Anyhow, this does have a point. My parents were visiting one month ago and we took advantage of First Free Tuesday to visit the DeYoung Museum. I had been there before but not for many years. We were hoping to also visit the Conservatory of Flowers (CoF) which is also free the first Tuesday of every month but we ran out of time that day.
I had never been to the CoF. I suppose when you run by it almost every single run you just take for granted that the thing is there. Much like the National Gallery of Scotland, which was a reasonable walk from my flat, I always figured I had all the time in the world to get around to seeing it one day.
After my revisit to Scotland I realized that the time to do things that seem so accessible is now and not later.
So I planned to visit the CoF on the next First Tuesday which happened to be today.
The CoF is about two miles from my home, as the drunk crow flies. So this fit in perfect to my "4 mi easy" workout of the day.
I ran over to the CoF and was planning to just take 20 minutes or so to walk through it quickly and admire the foliage. When I got there, they announced there would be a tour group leaving in the next few minutes. I decided to stick with the leader which required some shuffling of the rest of my day but was well worth it.
The lowland tropics:
|This one is over 100 years old.|
|You can't tell from the photo, but those orchids are only about the size of a nickel. I also learned all orchids have 6 petals (though some of the "petals" are actually sepals).|
|So fuzzy, like Mario!|
|Vanilla; I never knew that vanilla came from an orchid! And the flower that turns into the pod if pollinated only blooms for one day!|
|Interesting curly leaves|
|The circle arch is made of the densest wood on earth from Brazil. Since it is so dense it will never rot. Which is important since it is so humid in there.|
|Again, you can't tell the scale, but this orchid is the size of a dessert plate.|
|The special exhibit now is a prehistoric plants/dino thing.|
|What a life.|
|Just your friendly neighborhood dinosaur|
|Pretty flowers outside, too!|
I was told the tour would be 30 minutes, but it lasted 1.5 hours and was well worth the time. A lot of people joined up mid-tour or left mid-tour. I was the only one who was there from the start to the finish. I'm planning to visit the CoF on First Tuesday more often down the road. I left CoF to finish up my run and couldn't help but notice that there are plenty of beautiful plants all around Golden Gate Park to admire.
Another stop I had planned on the way home was the library. I usually request books online and only go in to pick up items when they are ready. I've maxed out my pending holds and the book I'm waiting for looks like it will take more than a few weeks to be ready. So I got nerded-out and excited for something I love to do but for some reason rarely do: I went to the library to do a cold find for a book to read.
I hit up the section of my favorite genre (non-fiction based animal stories) and found a book about an African veterinarian. Then I challenged myself to find a fiction book from the new book section. I generally don't read fiction books unless they are recommended to me but I proved that the cover does count and found a thriller.
The books waited patiently for me by a tree...
while I did my hill sprints to complete my run workout.
|This hill is twice as steep as it looks in the photo.|
It was also the birthday run for a new pair of shoes. I bought these about a year ago (I had three brand new pairs of shoes stashed in the closet -- it was like going shopping at my own personal running store this morning) when they went on super sale. I got 555 miles out of the last pair of this model so I'm hoping these shape up to be the same.
I had a pretty amazing 4 mile run today, right?