A week ago James and I headed to Berlin, Germany. I had a meeting Monday and Tuesday for work, and we decided to take advantage of the weekend before.

We landed in Berlin around 10 a.m. and made it through customs in record time (love German efficiency!). We headed to our first hotel – Movenpick – which was close to the metro system and a fairly central location. Because it was early, we left our bags with the front desk and headed out into the sunshine for some much needed coffee.

First up was Companion Coffee which is located inside of Voo, a super hipster store. Afterwards, we continued on to what I thought was a brunch reservation at Markthalle. Here’s a pro tip: there are more than one Markthalle which I’m going to guess roughly translate to Market. However, Markthalle Neun, the location we ended up in, did not disappoint. We walked around the food stalls until landing on one for huevos rancheros (German style mind you, it came with steak) and french toast.

Fed and caffeinated, we headed over to the East Side Gallery, which boasts an outdoor art exhibit featuring part of the Berlin wall that has been consumed by grafitti, paintings and mixed medium master pieces.

Our poor jet lagged brains though still had one more activity for the day. We had booked a tour of the Reichstag dome. I highly recommend doing this if you find yourself in Berlin. It’s free, and it offers a very cool view of the city, plus helps you orient without having to take a 3+ hour walking tour. You can do so here:

In the dome. Can you spot us?
In the dome. Can you spot us?

For dinner, we were originally supposed to go to VOLT but after realizing how long it would take us to get there, we opted to eat at the hotel restaurant and then fall fast asleep.

The next hotel we stay at was the Melia Berlin, which is in the one part of the city that felt like a city and not a giant Brooklyn. After we checked in (early check in for members!) we headed to Bonanza Coffee House (YES GO!) and walked around the Mauerpark flea market which is super funky and definitely worth the visit (it’s also across the street from coffee). We strolled the lanes, and bought a fig sausage to eat with lunch.

This subway station turns into a bunker that fits about 1300 people in it.
This subway station turns into a bunker that fits about 1300 people in it.

Lunch was a quick picnic of the aforementioned sausage, a soft cheese, bread and fruit. Afterwards we headed to our tour with Underground Berlin to explore the bunkers built during the Cold War. This tour was fantastic and I highly recommend it. We learned a lot in the 90 minutes we toured this network of underground city.

Following, we headed to the Jewish Memorial Museum. Unfortunately the top two levels were under construction, but we spent about two hours taking the rest in. Definitely a somber and emotional experience. I do highly recommend getting the audio tour because a large portion of this museum is in the architecture and something you might miss without the narration. Audio tours were an additional three euros (and you can probably share since they are like speaker phones).

For dinner that evening, we headed to Kantine Kohlmann, a recommendation from a friend. Oh wow, this place was so good. They have a small plates section of their menu that is like German tapas, and then regular portioned entrees. We had patatas bravas, beet tartare and scallops to start. I had salmon for my main and James braved the weiner schnitzel. We strolled back to a nearby train station enjoying the sun set on a succesful two days in Berlin.

The remainder of our time in Berlin we both worked. And while we are definitely tired, it was 100% worth it.

How to Buy a House in 10 “Easy” Steps

Things they don’t teach you in school: How to buy a house

I scoured the Internet for a “how to” guide. This doesn’t really exist. It’s like a mythical rite of passage in which you must gather information from your family, friends who have already made the plunge and hopefully a good realtor. There is no easy “step by step” guide, that tells you what you need to do, what parties are involved and what fees you can expect to pay.

And so I have decided to capture my experience so that I might be able to bestow some knowledge and provide a little guidance for those who were just as lost as we once were.

Step One
Before you do anything, figure out what you want. Go to a few open houses (without intentions of buying). Get a feel for how these work. Remember, the realtor running the open house is working for the seller (not the buyer). While there may not be any conflict of interest, their primary concern is going to be getting their seller the best price.

Take lots of pictures. Knock on the foundation (if it sounds hollow, it’s not good!). Ask how old the roof is, how old the furnace/boiler is, the windows… etc. Don’t shy away from the questions because this is a massive investment and you’re going to hopefully live here for a long while!

Step Two
Get yourself a realtor. Talk to friends who have purchased, and get a recommendation. Work with someone you can trust. At the end of the day, if the realtor isn’t for you, find another one. While not necessary to go in with a crystal clear list of what you want and what you can afford, having some idea is going to help. They will also walk you through the process – and you will feel a little less out of your element.

Step Three
Mortgage prequalification and preapproval! If you live in a competitive market (like me), having these out of the way is going to make a difference. You can definitely go to your bank, but most likely they aren’t going to have the best interest rates (unless you bank with a credit union). Your realtor or again, your trusty friends, can probably make a recommendation.

Pre Qualification is easy. You submit what you make, have a credit score run and voila! But this isn’t guaranteed and is only a ballpark idea of what you can afford. Also, they will ask you what you want to spend. Put in the maximum amount that you are comfortable spending… because you will have to go back and get a new letter if you find something a little more expensive than your “what I would ideally like to spend but probably won’t be able to” price.

Next step is to start the pre-approval process, which means submitting literally your financial life. You’ll need a few years worth of tax returns and W2s, bank statements, retirement fund statements, pay stubs, etc. In some cases we were asked to even provide copies of checks we wrote to our landlord (front and back) for the last year. Be prepared to do a lot of digging and sharing.

Tip: And while you’re applying for a mortgage – don’t buy any big ticket items like appliances, furniture, car, etc. These should wait until after you’ve closed.

Tip: Don’t leave your job in the middle of house hunting. This could hurt your chance of getting a loan. Banks want to ensure that you’re stable. It’s a thing that makes them feel better about giving you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Step Four
Go visit houses with your realtor. More open houses! This can be the most trying part of the whole process. You see something you love, than there is something completely wrong with it (like the bedrooms won’t even fit twin beds). Or it gets swept out from underneath you. Or the 20 other people who are bidding for this property are willing to forgo an inspection. Or something. Bake cookies and bring them along with you. Try to find humor in some of the horrible places you’ll see (like the tiled floor to ceiling rooms in someone’s basement with shower heads and drains… murder rooms if you will).

Step Five
You find something perfect! You’re ready to make an offer. If you are not already with your realtor, get in touch with them. They will be able to review the MLS listing, contact the seller’s agent and find out when offers are due. Your realtor will do a market analysis assessment so you can get a sense of what properties are going for in that area (and see list price vs. sale price). You can then determine your strategy and how much money you’d like to put down on the house. Your realtor will then put the offer in before the deadline. Then you must wait.

Step Five A
But while you’re waiting… make sure your mortgage broker is informed. Ask your realtor to introduce you to a real estate attorney (because you will need to procure one days after your offer is accepted) and look into setting up a home inspection.

Step Five B
Cross all your fingers and toes.

Step Five C
If someone puts in a better offer, or does something like wave the inspection (WTF!! Yes this a tactic and entirely possible it will happen), start again. Bring more cookies. Don’t stress. Be picky. Now is not the time to get desperate.

Step Six
Your offer is accepted! Congratulations! Suddenly all of this information is flung at you… you need a real estate attorney, you need to find insurance, you need to secure a mortgage. Ahh! First off, if your realtor is good, they will provide you with recommendations. Within 24 hours, we were in touch with an attorney who helped us put together the Purchase & Sale. Our mortgage broker jumped into action and all that info you submitted for pre-approval is going to go a long way. Basically you’ll need to add in your most recent pay stubs and statements and you’re application is off for processing.

Step Six A
Your attorney will make suggested changes to the Purchase & Sale (also referred to as PNS or P&S). You can review and agree/disagree and they coordinate with the seller’s attorney to finalize. Once you come to an agreement, everyone signs the documents and you send a check to be put in escrow for half the amount of your down payment. Bye savings!

Step Six B
You are going to need an inspection. Work with your realtor, not the seller’s realtor, because you’re looking for someone who isn’t incentivized to “look the other way.” James and I did this a bit differently. To be competitive, we had the inspection done the day before offers were due so that we could “buy property as is” when we put in the offer. Luckily we picked a property that we could do this with, so there is definitely some risk here, but it’s an option.

Step Six C
To finalize a mortgage package, you’ll need a property appraisal. The mortgage broker should request this – but FYI in case this isn’t mentioned. The hope is that your appraisal comes in at the same price you offered (or more). If it comes in at under, then you’re paying too much. This could happen in today’s market (in Mass.) but we were lucky not to run into this issue.

Step Six D
In addition to the appraisal, you’re going to need insurance. We asked our mortgage broker for recommendations and sought out quotes. The quote is needed to finalize your mortgage application. If you live near the water, consider flood insurance. Depending on how far you are from the water, this is either required or optional. If there’s even a tiny chance of a flood, wouldn’t you prefer to have coverage?

Step Six E
Your mortgage broker will likely have a series of questions about how you’re paying for the remaining balance at closing. We did everything via checking + savings, but if you’re paying through 401k accounts or pensions, there will be further complications and I am definitely not qualified to speak to that!

Step Seven
Your mortgage is approved! You sign more documents. In Massachusetts there is a regulation that your appraisal must come in three days before closing. You have the right to waive that. In most cases, you’ll receive before, but just know it’s an option. If your appraisal comes within three days, it will definitely be in by closing.

Step Eight
Wait… and wait…. For closing day! A few things happen in between. Your insurance company must provide an insurance binder to your mortgage broker (usually the broker reaches out but may need you to) and the title needs to clear. Go to the bank and get a certified bank check for the amount due (your lawyer should be able to provide this information).

Step Nine
Closing Day! Before the house is officially yours, you will do a walk through with your realtor. This provides you with an opportunity to make sure the house wasn’t trashed in the time between the purchase and sale and closing day. We luckily had no issues, and were also given an opportunity to meet the sellers. Bring a list of questions – ask about preference for the vendors they used in the past (chimney sweeper, oil company, plumber, etc). They walked us around and showed us anything we might have questions on.

Step Ten
If all checks out on your walk through, head over to the lawyer’s offices to sign and initial your name about 50 times. (I’m not exaggerating!) In our case, we sadly weren’t able to pick up the keys until the following day, and this is apparently more common than not. That said, hold off on scheduling your movers until keys are in hand and paper is signed!

And that is it! Our house buying process was surprisingly easy and smooth. We had a GREAT realtor, easy to work with sellers and an amazing team of people who answered our questions and guided us through the process. It’s not easy, and can be incredibly stressful, which makes it even more important to have a rock star team on your side.

Questions? Just ask!

Vienna (Day 5 – New Year’s Eve)

The whole reason for our trip was here! New Year’s Eve. We started the day by visiting the Belvedere, an art museum that is made up of multiple palaces in the city. The palaces were built in the 1700s and were the summer residences of Prince Eugene of Savoy (late 17th century, early 18th century). This is also the home of Gustav Klimt’s famous “The Kiss.”

This isn't the original (the have a dedicated selfie room)
This isn’t the original (the have a dedicated selfie room)

We arrived around 10 am and started in the Upper Belvedere. Unlike a lot of museums we have been to, these were a series of bite size exhibits, which made it quite enjoyable to walk through and prevented “museum fatigue.” We made our way through many Klimts, as well as plenty of impressionist pieces and of course your typical medieval art. The palace is breathtaking and we were not disappointed!

These were exercise balls covered in VELVET!
These were exercise balls covered in VELVET!

Following, we headed to the museum cafe in the Upper Belvedere and were pleasantly surprised by how tasty the salmon prosecco risotto was. It was a good thing we did the Upper gallery first because by the time we left two hours later, it was jam packed. We headed over to the Lower Belvedere, which houses temporary exhibits. Currently, Hubert Scheibl’s exhibit “Fly” is up in the Orangery. I’m not alway a huge fan of modern art, but this exhibit was breathtaking. Massive pieces with thoughtful color and techniques used throughout. I highly recommend checking the artist out, and if you have a change to see the exhibit (in Vienna or wherever it goes next), definitely do so!

The final stop of the museum was the Winter Palace, which is about a 15 minute walk from the Upper and Lower Belvedere museums. Here we walked through an exhibit featuring work from the sculptor Johann Pinsel. Pinsel worked in wood and produced pieces during the Baroque period for churches. Up until very recently, art historians did not even know his name and can only guess his approximate birth/death years as limited information exists.

Our final stop before heading back to the AirBnb was SPAR gourmet, a Whole Foods-esque type grocery store, to stock up on chocolates and other goodies you can only find in Austria/Germany. At the AirBnb we packed, made dinner and finally started getting ready for the Silvester Ball.

The Silvester Ball was absolutely magical. The people watching is superb, and the Hofburg Palace is opened up to attendees to roam. Each room held a different activity or musical performance. There was a DJ in the Disco room, a blues band in the Lounge, performances throughout (ballet, singing, dancing) and of course, a ballroom to dance the evening away.

To start, we gathered around the grand staircase and enjoyed glasses of champagne (I did, James simply held my second one for me!). The staircase opens with a ballet/dance performance, and then everyone walks up to where they spend the rest of the evening.

We roamed around for the first 45 minutes or so, taking in performances, listening to music, and watching partners do the Austrian Waltz. The Austrians are so serious about their waltz that you can actually be asked to stop dancing if you can’t do it incorrectly! We luckily avoided that, though we used the massive crowds to help hide our horribleness.

The rest of the evening we spent on the ball room floor, dancing, people watching and counting down to midnight. At the stroke of 12, silver streamers came flowing down from the ceiling and the bell of St. Stephen’s cathedral is broadcasted indoors. It was an incredibly unique and wonderful experience, and I am so glad that we were able to make this happen. I told James it was on my bucket list, but now I might have to convince him we go back a few more times in our lifetime.

Happy New Year!

Italy (Getting There)

Back in January I tore my ACL skiing. When my doctor gave me the clear to have surgery later down the right (vs. that winter/spring), I jumped on the opportunity to buy tickets to Italy. But instead of our usual city dwelling excursions, we opted to do the Amalfi coast and a little bit of Naples.

I booked tickets through Alitalia. We splurged and spent an extra $200 round trip each to upgrade to Premium Economy. Days leading up to the flight though, I started reading horrific reviews of Alitalia, the Premium Economy class and luggage weights. Uh oh. I am hear to dispel the myths that plague travel forums and blogs! And also to share a little bit about my elite packing skills.

Alitalia only allows carry on luggage that weighs less than 8kg (a little over 17 lbs) in addition to a personal item (which I always convince people is a backpack. Americans here afterall!). We bought a luggage scale back when we flew Wow Air and had a 5 kg limit. I knew I could do this – but I was going to Italy for a full week, not a long weekend. And no, checking a bag was not an option. I did not want to deal with picking it up, rechecking it during our layover in Rome to Naples, and that’s just not my MO. If I can get away with not checking a bag, I don’t.

So here’s what I packed:

  • I purchased a light weight Kenneth Cole suitcase before my trip to California with the family. This proved to be a lifesaver. It took up a very minimal amount of my 8 kg.
  • 3 bathing suits +  3 cover ups
  • 5 dresses (3 nice for dinner, 2 day dresses)
  • 2 pairs shorts (1 workout, 1 black)
  • 4 tops
  • 1 Longchamp duffle bag (these fold up to next to nothing and make coming back with all my souvenirs significant easier – I will check my bag on the return trip home)
  • Undergarments + pajamas
  • 2 workout tops
  • 1 hair straightener (purchased in the EU because it’s just not an option to use one from the US with a converter)
  • 1 pair nice sandals

Yes, that’s it. In my suitcase at least. Alitalia does not weigh your personal item. I purchased a Tumi backpack for travel and let me tell you, other than it not having an outside pocket for a water bottle, this thing is amazing. In the Tumi, I managed to fit:

  • All of my toiletries, makeup, liquids, chargers, glasses, sleepmask, etc.
  • 2 pairs of shoes (Birkenstocks and water shoes for the rocky shore!)
  • A turkish towel (also an amazing buy, rolls up super small, and doubles as a blanket on the plane)
  • My camera, an extra lens and charger
  • Kindle
  • Purse with the usual inside
  • Tickets, papers, international drivers licenses
  • Food! Against the Grain pitas, Kind bars, dried chickpeas, almonds
  • Scarf
  • Compression sleeve (sadly, the ACL does bother me on flights)
  • Neck pillow
  • Baseball hat
  • Umbrella
  • Hiking trails of the Amalfi coast

My suitcase weighed 7.8 kg. James made it in (barely!) at 8 kg. A luggage weight was absolutely critical to ensuring this success. I also typically bring iron spray, a tide to go stick and a small packet of tide for any bathroom sink laundry. My backpack probably weighed more than my suitcase.

OK, let’s move along to the airport/flying experience. Because we saved $100 each by not having to check a bag, we treated ourselves to passes to the first class lounge in Logan. Air France lounge is not exactly the best, but it beats the horribly crowded and angry airport. This is not posted anywhere online, but you can purchase a day pass for $35 to the lounge. It’s quiet, there is free wifi, plenty of food (at one point they brought out sushi and roasted veggies, so I had a snack) and if you drink before red eyes, lots and lots of liquor, wine and beer. My rule of thumb is nothing to drink but water and a melatonin. Magic.

The Premium Economy class is absolutely fine. In fact, I was thrilled after reading so many horrible reviews. I would compare it to first class on a domestic flight – thought the flight attendants are not as attentive and the food is sub par – but I never really expect much from airplane food (hence bringing all the aforementioned above!)

The seats recline significantly more than coach, they are wider (for four seats in coach, there was three in premium) and larger screens for their entertainment system. There was even a foot rest! We each got about 5 hours of sleep on the 8 hour flight – not too shabby. Enough to drive to Minori once we land in Naples.

Of course the Italy stamp was faded. I have literally 1090384983 stamps from Iceland though.

“Paris” – Day One

Day one in Paris was not at all in Paris. Our red eye on Icelandair was 90 minutes delayed, which meant we missed our connection (in which we only had 30 minutes to get to if we landed on time) and were stranded with a bunch of other disgruntled New Englanders (including an actual New England Patriot – through some excellent Google stalking skills and some observations that James and I both made, we have confirmed that we sat next to a player).

To make up for this bad connection, Icelandair arranged for us to still arrive in Paris on the same day, but it meant changing planes again in London. And a three hour layover. Great. Except they at least made this leg of the trip first class which meant lounging in amazingly massive chairs with lots of leg room, getting on before anyone else, and enjoying the first class lounge at Heathrow. I was very excited for all the free food and wine until I remember that I don’t like British comfort food. So many carbs and curries. And bad tomatoes. Where are my roasted veggies at?! (But in reality, this was awesome because I really wasn’t planning to eat lunch at the airport – this was supposed to be happening in Paris).

For the last leg of our trip, James and I fell immediately asleep only to be woken by some very nice British flight attendants offering us afternoon tea. Apparently on British flights they serve this tea in a porcelain teacup when you sit in first class. It was so ridiculously cute it almost made being woken up for it worth it.

We finally landed in Paris a little after 5 p.m., five hours later than we planned. By the time we figured out the train system, purchased our weekly passes, and got to the AirBnb, we’d been traveling for 18 hours straight (oomph!). James very begrudgingly went to the grocery store with me. Now that I’ve been to grocery stores in Iceland, London, Spain and France…. I have to say, we’re really lucky in the U.S. I know, I know, I should be going to the farmers markets, but you try finding one that’s open at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night.

Because we landed so late, I had to move our dinner reservation to another day. So our first night in Paris we had an Against the Grain roll from home, smeared with goat cheese, some spinach, and a “Neat” burger (a vegetarian burger mix we buy at Target and let me tell you, this was a life savor!). Tomorrow, I promise we’ll have better food tomorrow!

So, it was a waste of a day, but at least my plans weren’t too substantial and we did make it here on Saturday, which meant that we’ll be hitting up free Louvre day tomorrow as soon as they open.

Adios 😉 (or you know, au revoir – working on it!)

Day 4 – Barcelona

The train ride from Madrid to Barcelona was uneventful – with a few quick scenes of the countryside and near the end, of the ocean. We arrived in Barcelona, hungry and ready to move our legs. From the moment we stepped out of the subway and onto the street, I was in love. We arrived at our AirBnb around 1:00 p.m. and the host graciously met us, shared a few restaurants we should try and pointed us in the direction of the nearest grocery store.

After stocking up on provisions (you know, eggs, cheese, wine…) we set off to enjoy a tapas filled lunch at La Catalana. We ordered patatas bravas, tortilla de espana, California ensalada (clearly this came with avocado), pescado frito, manchego queso and roasted asparagus and mushrooms. When you order cheese in Spain, they deliver cheese – and a lot of it.

I already ate a piece before taking this. So much cheese.

Stuffed to the brim, we continued on our walking tour of the city – taking in Las Ramblas (think of the Mediterranean equivalent of Time Square), a quick run through El Mercado de Boqueria and finally down to the water. On our way back, I suggested we take an alternative route, since one only needs to see Las Ramblas once. We ended up in an area with cute shops and stumbled across a store entitled 2 Pugs. This was fate. We found ourselves in a cute shop filled with geeky scifi and movie reference, pop art and a very excited salesman.


We returned to the apartment, changed and embarked on a journey to Aire de Barcelona – an authentic Turkish bath experience. There we spent 90 minutes lounging in six different types of baths (salt, Jacuzzi, Turkish, warm, hot and cold) until our fingers and toes were pruned. While not as amazing as Blue Lagoon, it was a great entry to the city, and a nice relaxing way to work off the 30+ miles we had walked in Madrid over the course of three days.

Turkish baths.

We slowly made our way back to the apartment, and cooked a very late dinner of gluten free pasta with fresh peppers, Iberian ham and cheese of course.

This all being said – I love Barcelona. I could spent an entire week (or two!) here – walking, taking in the beautiful architecture, eating cheese, drinking wine, lounging, bathing… the list goes on and on. If I could understand Catalan, it would be even better. But for now I’ll remain 50% fluent in Spanish and one day I’ll learn how to say “amb Gel” (which means on ice).

Day 6: London

Today was the reason we came to London for our honeymoon. Today we went to the WB Harry Potter studio tour. The morning started early – we had to be at the Golden Tours Victoria office no later than 7:45 am to board a giant HP branded bus that would take us to the studio which is about 20 miles outside of the city.

This tour literally attracts everyone from around the world – from the U.S. to Japan to Germany to Russia and more.

The tour is… amazing. It opens up to the Great Hall set, and you are transported to a magical world – literally. We only had three hours to walk through all of it, but I could have easily spent more time. Both James and I bought the audio tour and were guided by Tom Felton (Draco) throughout. Since it would be ridiculous and lengthy to highlight each of the sets, I’ll stick with favorites. I loved the potions classroom – while simple in structural design, there were more than 500 bottles (and more than 1,000 when used in the movies) each hand labeled and filled with baked bones, rubber animals transformed into something that doesn’t exist in the Muggle world and more. Dumbledore’s office was amazing and finally we were offered an opportunity to get up close and personal with his instruments on display. All the books you see in there? Phone books! And finally, I loved the creature shop, where we learned how they made the creepy fetus Voldemort, Gringott goblins, dragons, Greyback and more.

Harry’s bedroom under the stairs.
The Great Hall. In the first movie, the director was set on having ONLY real food portrayed. And so it was. In later movies, the props department made lifelike goodies alongside some real dishes.
More Great Hall at the head table, where professors sat.
Count house points anyone?
Makeup! Did you know that the scar was drawn on Daniel Radcliffe more than 6,000 times in the shooting of the eight movies?  It also had to be drawn on his stunt double – that’s when he didn’t person his own stunts.
Boys dorm (and Ron’s bed in the front). This is the oldest set and was used throughout the first six movies. The beds were originally built to fit 10 and 11 year old boys. By the time they were 17 and 18, they no longer fit the 5’9″ bed frame and had to curl up or let their feet hang over for scenes filmed here.
Horcruxes. The woman who designed these spent months researching heirlooms from areas of the world these would have come from. How is that for authentic?
Gryffindor common room. The staircases to the dormitories were marked Girls and Boys above the arch to help the actors go in the correct direction.
Any letter that was close enough for the camera to see had to be handwritten. A few thousand were printed (think to the very first movie when Harry receives all of his letters from Hogwarts). The original letter was also too heavy for their owl actors to carry, so they also created a “letter lite” version for the birds.
On the Knight bus! The bus actually drove through the streets of London and routes had to be planned to accommodate its triple decker length.
Our first butterbeer! Neither James nor I could tell you what this tasted like. I had expected something like cream soda but it’s not. It is creamy though, and at points sweet and salty. It’s bubbly and not quite caramel flavored.
Diagon Alley!
The end of the tour spits you out to a 1:24 model of Hogwarts which was used in every movie but the last (CGI had improved to a point where it was no longer needed). Every time J.K. Rowling revealed a new part of the castle, model makers spent three months updating the structure to accommodate new sections such as the owlery, the astronomy tower and the bridge.

Highlight of the trip? So far! We also got suckered into the gift shop and each purchased ourselves a giant mug of the Maurader’s Map (because the one I bought at the Museum of Science exhibition is finally starting to fall apart), as well as plenty of candy from Honeydukes.

Afterwards, James and I came back to the flat and went for another three mile run (this time in the opposite direction) to explore the neighborhood. We passed the Chelsea soccer stadium, ran by shops and discovered the one ice cream place in all of Fulham (this may be an exaggeration but this has not been an easy thing to find): Scoops!

When we returned from the run, we headed over to Whole Foods to pick up some scallops for dinner. But they closed at five. So we went to another grocery store. It also closed at five. Everything here closes at five on Sunday. I would be screwed in the states as often times we don’t get to the grocery until later afternoon/early evening on Sundays! We returned and beefed up our leftovers from yesterday with the addition of some sautéed vegetables. We spent the rest of the evening watching movies and TV, and hit the hay early.