Lots of Colour in Birmingham, UK

Absolutely ages ago I had heard of an American race called The Color Run. The idea behind it being that at every kilometre you had a different colour paint thrown on you. Until you looked like a sweaty rainbow angel by the end of the race. I found out that The Color Run would be happening in the UK and just about exploded with excitement. I signed up eagerly for the 5km race, with full intentions to train properly for it and really get my fitness level back up to normal, and then promptly forgot about it..

It was happening in a few different places all other the United Kingdom. Being the adventurous soul that I am, I signed up for the Birmingham event as I’d never been there before. Thinking I could make it a nice weekend away and all. Plus the Brighton version wasn’t happening until September which is after the conclusion of my current work contract. Before I knew it, it was time to catch the train northwards. I’d sort of forgotten to any training. But hey only 5km! Should be easy to wing it.

Looking so clean.. and white.. And yes the tutu has made a return

The first checkpoint was pink awesomeness

Next was blue. This chick got so excited she started rolling in it

And fast-forward to the end, made it!

Posing with a shoe, cause that’s just what you do!

Although my legs weren’t really working properly post-race, they were all stiff and sore for some reason, I headed off to have a much needed shower and explore Birmingham.

First I checked out the library. Sounds cheesy I know but it’s actually a really cool library. It reminds me of Harry Potter on the inside and has egg chairs. What’s not to love?

And I walked along the beautiful canals and admired the many canal barges.

The next day there was the local museum and Parliament.

And there was the Jewellery Quarter which had the most jewellery shops I had ever seen. I picked a bad day to wander round this part though as I went on Sunday when most of the shops were closed. I think I would have found it much more interesting had I gone the day before.

Some lovely green spaces amongst the mixture of old industrial buildings and newer modern ones.

I also ate a lot of delicious food. The only one I managed to photograph before ripping into was the world’s best sushi.

All in all Birmingham was a really nice city with a good vibe. I like the mixture of new and groungy old buildings. It has the second largest population in England after London. And the food was seriously amazing. I would highly recommend this other South American restaurant I went to called Bodega. Although you have to make a booking as it’s always very crowded. Cheap delicious food and inventive cocktails, heaven!

Where I stayed: Hatters Backpack Hostel
Price: £16 in a 12 bed dorm
Overall: Really liked this hostel. The dorm itself was divided into groups of 4 beds within little separated rooms so you definitely didn’t feel like you were in with a dozen people. Funky décor and friendly staff. The bathrooms were awesome with dedicated hair/makeup areas. I would happily stay here again.

Switzerland Lakes – Part 2

After Geneva, I was off again via the train this time heading towards the other end of Lake Geneve towards another village popular within my Facebook survey. I could see why on arrival that more than one of my friends felt Montreux was their favourite place in Switzerland.

I could have stayed in Montreux quite happily. There were a few things I wanted to do like the chocolate train and a couple of interesting sounding museums. But I had a friend to meet in Zurich and time was marching on. After a quick wander through the castle (Château de Chillon) and lakeside stroll, I was back on the train and hurtling through the Alps towards the North.

On arriving it was great to meet up with a Swiss friend that I’d originally met in Budapest. But I have to admit I didn’t find Zurich as appealing or beautiful as Geneva and Montreux. It might have been because the weather was terrible with overcast skies and drizzle. But I also felt like there were fewer attractions that appealed to me. The food was delicious though. Sara introduced me to her favourite vegetarian restaurant called Tibits. Which. Was. AMAZING. It was one of those buffet style places where you pay by the weight of your plate. It’s very difficult to avoid over-loading up your plate as everything looks mouth-watering. I’m happy to say that there is a Tibits in London so don’t worry if Zurich isn’t on your to visit list for a while. There is hope!

My camera ate my Zurich photos unfortunately. But a couple survived:

A high swan population in Zurich as you can see

So where’s my food huh??

I thought it was interesting how only swan-related photos survived but hey who knows with my camera. Maybe it’s just really really into swans.

And with that my Switzerland trip was over. I was away for just four beautiful nights. I did time my return flight back to be late in the day so that way I could explore Zurich some more. But I hadn’t banked on bad weather which resulted in me sulking through a museum before hiding back at my hostel in the dry warmth.

Where I stayed: Youthhostel Zurich
Price: €36 in a six bed dorm (Swiss hostels are NOT cheap)
Overall: I liked this hostel more than my Geneva one. It had a warmer and friendlier environment as well as being quite modern. There was a music band playing in the hang out area when I arrived and a bar for hostel guests. The beds were super comfortable. I would almost just stay at this hostel again for the sleep quality alone.