Winter – No Hibernating in London

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One of the benefits of living abroad is that you inevitably pick up little bits and pieces of another culture and begin adopting them as your own. You can pick and choose, ignoring the ones that don’t serve you and fully embrace the ones that do. One thing we learned in Denmark, is that life doesn’t (shouldn’t) stop during the winter months. Despite barren landscapes and frigid temperatures, activity continues to flourish in the Nordic winter. If you hibernate, you’ll miss it. They ride their bikes in snow-plowed bike lanes, go winter bathing in the icy sea and continue to exercise outdoors. Outdoor seating at cafés and bars stay open, providing blankets to wrap up in. I will admit to being captivated by the Scandinavian attitude towards winter and could not be happier that a bit of it rubbed off on us. We’ve been getting out and about over the past few weeks. So much so, that I am completely behind (on this blog and other areas of life).

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Apparently, we aren’t the only ones who have been influenced by Scandinavia’s year-round love for the outdoors. The girls’ school (along with many other UK schools) has adopted the concept of ‘forest school’. In the cold, darkness, equipped with headlamps and hot chocolate, they are in the woods, sharing adventures with their friends. This has ignited a passion for climbing, den building (forts) and exploration, which we have attempted to carry-forth into our weekend activities.

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All of the above pictures were taken at Richmond park, which is walking distance from our home and we have grown increasingly fond of it with each passing season. It is a national nature reserve and the largest of London’s Royal Parks. Created in 1634 as a deer park, hundreds of deer continue to roam freely throughout its grounds. It is a runner’s dream and I am constantly astonished that such a huge piece of wild land can exist in London.

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In contrast, we also love being so close to the city. I receive email updates of weekly events around London and sometimes the list includes over 100 activities! I think there is a famous saying: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” and I have to believe this is true. Sometimes we are craving an urban adventure and we are ‘spoilt for choice’ (as they say here).

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Or perhaps best of all, combining a bit of urban and rural, as we did recently on a walk from Kentish Town to Hampstead. Following a route from a book, we skirted through colorful mews and footpaths we otherwise would not have known existed. The walk was about 3 miles, about half of which was through beautiful Hampstead Heath.

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He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter…. In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity. ~John Burroughs

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