Life after…

Start for something harder than expected...

Start for something harder than expected…

It’s already the middle of July but I haven’t mentioned something here that’s been a little different: I moved into a new flat recently. I had to leave Royal Park Flats as it is being spruced up for the incoming group of freshers. Although I’ve only been in Leeds since September, it seemed like I had been living in Hyde Park forever as I had gotten comfortable living near specific locales. Anyway…

My new space is in the city centre near the bus station and… totally surrounded by a maze of roads and stop lights. There is an art gallery within walking distance, which is currently home to cycling related-memorabilia. And from the kitchen window, I get a view of trains zooming by and of the skyline. Better yet, moving from Hyde Park and away from a lot of my favourite haunts has motivated me to get this….

I have one of these...

I have one of these…

No, I did not buy all of the vehicles pictured above. I am renting a bicycle for a couple of months – so I have another form of transportation in addition to my feet. I have been cycling in the city for roughly ten days and as proven by this blog entry, I have lived to tell about it. Leeds is not York – i.e. a bicycle-friendly city – and cycling on the Headrow during the morning/afternoon is not pleasant as cyclists have the share the street with cars and buses. Actually, cycling in this country is a bit different from the U.S. and Japan as generally cyclists can’t cycle on sidewalks here. But talking about cycling is a subject for another day…

After running a mile...

After running a mile…

While I won my third straight ParkRun, that wasn’t the most enjoyable running event of my week. On Wednesday, the Hyde Park Harriers held its annual summer mile – folks paid either £5 or £7 (in my case, the latter) to run a mile in Hyde Park. On the registration page, participants submitted a target time and according to that time, they were places in groups. There were ten groups (the final group was the fastest) and I was placed in group #9.

I won my group with a time of 5:12. The race was harder than expected because I hadn’t drunk any water prior to the race and thus, my throat felt dry afterwards. But winning wasn’t the most enjoyable aspect of the evening. It was the food. After the Summer Mile, most of the participants gathered in the Pack Horse – a nearby pub and a self-proclaimed “football-free zone” – for a post-race meal that the £5 or £7 went towards. The vegetarian chili was so delicious and life is always better with awesome chocolate cupcakes. Although life would be better if those cupcakes were served with milk.

Conspicuous on Headrow

Conspicuous on the Headrow

As there is life after Hyde Park, there is also life after the Faversham. Watching Brazil matches there was so much fun and I couldn’t help but imagine what kind of atmosphere a final with Brazil would have brought out. But unfortunately, due to the absence of any semblance of Brazilian defending against Germany, I had to find somewhere else to watch the final.

Someone recommended the Bierkeller – a German pub in town. Actually, it’s a chain in the U.K. and seemingly, it would have a great atmosphere for the final. But upon arrival, the Bierkeller – which is located in a basement – resembled a restaurant more than a bar (Unfortunately, there were few TVs and little space to stand up) so it didn’t seem like it would be the most enjoyable place for someone arriving solo to watch the match. But stairs emanating from the Bierkeller took me to a whole new world, which was…

Awesome!

Awesome!

A sports bar! I didn’t think there were any American-style sports bars in Leeds but only a stairway up from the Bierkeller, a large number of fans had gathered in a bar named Shooters to watch the match in front of several TVs as well as take advantage of a diverse selection of drinks. Beers from each of the 32 qualifying nations were available but even better: drinks from countries who happened to be playing on the day were discounted 🙂

An Argetine beer...

An Argentine beer…

While I wanted to see Germany win, I chose to try the Argentine beer pictured above due to it being the cheapest option. The final drew a diverse group of fans to Shooters – such as a lot of university students and a decent number of folks in both Argentina and Germany shirts (I actually took up a spot next to someone wearing a Chicago Fire shirt. I rarely see someone in England wearing MLS garb so that was a pleasant surprise). Both teams attracted their share of loud cheers and at one point, a “Messi” chant broke out.

Celebrating the German goal...

Celebrating the German goal…

I was happy with the result – but not so much with the cheesy music played in Shooters. I missed the sound of samba – the samba-like drumming that filled the Faversham during the host country’s matches conveyed a perfect vibe for this World Cup. Then again, the countries playing last night aren’t associated with samba.

But I’m happy that there was life after the Faversham.

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