iPads, Coffee and Cake – presentation day in Paphos, Cyprus

20th March

Here is today’s IDEAfit photo a day image for the theme ‘Bold’ – it’s the brave female triathletes who I went on holiday with in November. Note that the lads weren’t brave enough to get into the pool!!!

An ice bath for the ladies
An ice bath for the ladies

I woke before my alarm went off at 6:30am, having had a disturbed night. I think I’m not used to the warmth of the room and lack of fresh air, but I thought it might be unsafe to sleep with the window open… if Stuart were here, I might have risked that!

After wasting a few minutes faffing around with gadgets, I got dressed and then answered a few emails before heading down to meet Fiona and Mary.

Morning sun
Morning sun

As the running had gone so well yesterday, we decided to up the effort level with 2 minutes of running followed by a minute of walking. This time Mary decided to come with us, so we headed out along the boardwalk to a point near the lighthouse, before heading back and passing the fort before going to the end of the pier. We then headed back having covered 4km. It might not sound like a lot for me, but it was a great effort by my colleagues. I’m hoping that once everything settles down at work, I’ll be able to go out with my group of beginners and get them all to feel comfortable and confident enough to do a 5k run.

Not sure it's meant to be at that angle!
Not sure it’s meant to be at that angle!

After running, we ate another luxurious breakfast before heading to the conference. I wasn’t nervous, but was acutely aware that we would have to give our presentation in the afternoon. The bar was raised by the Australian presenters who have some really amazing projects going on. Fortunately, there were some lovely treats to take our mind off things!

Cakes in Paphos
Cakes in Paphos

In the afternoon, Fiona and I gave our presentation. My presentation didn’t include as many academic references as some of the others, but I think it showed our enthusiasm for what we are doing and hopefully, people will read the accompanying paper to see the pedagogy behind it.

We were the final presentation of the day, so when we finished, it was time to go for a swim. There was quite a large group in the infinity pool when my colleagues arrived there and there also seemed to be a breeze, so we headed straight for the indoor pool by the spa. It may have been because I was not feeling invigorated by swimming outside, but it didn’t feel as warm as it had the previous day.

I alternated swimming a few lengths with chatting to my colleagues. We tried to estimate the length of the pool and think it was about 12m. It felt very strange to be able to swim the whole thing in 8-9 strokes… but it was probably good for me as I only needed to breathe at the end of each length.

As I didn’t feel that I’d really done enough hard training, I also made myself do a couple of tumble turns. I would have done more, but I forgot to bring my swimming cap and was afraid that I might force water into my ears, which would be very uncomfortable on the flight home!

After swimming, I headed up to my room for a shower (and a quick look at social media), before heading to the bar area to meet the other conference delegates. We were taken in a coach to a local tavern, which was a source of some anxiety for me. I am aware that there are some lovely Greek foods that are vegetarian (Greek salad with its feta and olives; hummus; pitta bread), but I wasn’t sure whether any of those would be available.

On arrival, my anxiety was heightened by seeing skewers of meat being cooked outside whilst the ‘chefs’ sat around smoking. We were also told about kleftiko lamb, and some of my colleagues chose to stay outside and watch the clay cooking pot being smashed open.

Fortunately, the tavern had been forewarned that there were a number of vegetarians in the party, so we were well catered for: Greek salad, olives, hummus, bread, vegetarian moussaka, carrots, kohl rabi, vegetable patties, cauliflower, mushrooms… the food just kept coming. Each time we thought we could eat no more, another platter arrived. There were also various dishes of lamb and chicken and some potatoes were also served.

When we had nearly finished eating, the entertainment started in the form of a group of four dancers (two male and two female) accompanied by a bouzouki player and a keyboardist. Sadly, our view was obscured by a large pillar, but we saw enough to appreciate what they were doing.

Bazouki player
Bouzouki player
Greek dancers
Greek dancers

Eventually, dessert was served – a platter of fresh fruit, followed by some pastries filled with sweet cheese and cinnamon… and a terrifying spirit called zivania.

By that stage, we were ready to go home, but we were told that the coach would not come until 11pm. It was such a relief when we got back to the hotel and I was able to get to bed!

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